Fast-food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on Friday has been told by court to pay US $8.3 million to an Australian girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralyzed after eating a chicken Twister.
Monika Samaan, then aged 7, became severely ill with salmonella poisoning after eating at the Villawood KFC in 2005. She suffered salmonella encephalopathy, a brain injury which left her with a blood infection was in a coma for six months. She was also left with spastic quadriplegia with severe brain damage after falling ill.
Monika's family won the bid against KFC in the New South Wales Supreme Court. Justice Stephen Rothman ordered the company to pay an equivalent of US $8.3 million plus legal costs.
"Monika's severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family," said George Vlahakis, the family's lawyer.
KFC has denied it was responsible for the poisoning and said it will appeal for the decision. In a statement, the restaurant said the case was tragic but was "deeply disappointed and surprised" by Judge Rothman's decision.
"We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy and, after reviewing the judgment and seeking further advice from our lawyers, we have decided to appeal Justice Rothman's decision," said KFC Australia's chief corporate affairs officer.
On the trial, Justice Rothman said the chicken became contaminated of salmonella "because of the failure of one or more employees of KFC" to follow proper preparation rules, which he described as "negligent".