ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man whose esophagus and stomach were severely burned after drinking a beer tainted by a caustic chemical at an Atlantic City casino restaurant has been awarded $750,000.
Paul D'Amato, the lawyer for Richard Washart, told The Associated Press the jury awarded the plaintiff $650,000 Friday for pain and suffering, and $100,000 for emotional distress.
The Seaville, New Jersey, man sued the McCormick & Schmick's restaurant, which is located at the Harrah's casino, claiming he was served beer tainted by a caustic agent used to clean beer tap lines. Harrah's was not a defendant in the suit.
The restaurant blamed a company it uses to clean its beer lines, Kramer Beverage Co., of Hammonton, New Jersey, which denied being at the restaurant when the Nov. 6, 2012, incident took place.
The defendants each must pay half the award.
Washart, a former Ocean City police lieutenant, said he took a gulp of the beer he had been served, and immediately felt burning pain.
He ran to the bathroom, where he experienced the first of six rounds of projectile vomiting. He tried to drink water from the faucet, but was unable to, due to the pain in his mouth and throat.
A short time later, he began vomiting blood and went to a hospital; a doctor said he had never seen a patient survive with such severe burns to the esophagus and stomach.
D'Amato faulted Kramer Beverage, noting that it doesn't follow industry recommendations to use pH testing strips that cost 15 cents apiece to check beer after lines have been cleaned. But he also said the restaurant violated New Jersey's Adulterated Food Act by serving Washart a tainted brew.
Washart was hospitalized for six days.
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