Monday, April 30, 2012

KFC to pay $8m to Australian girl's brain damage

KFC ordered to pay $8m to Australian girl left brain-damaged by a chicken twister in 2005


PUBLISHED: 11:38 GMT, 27 April 2012 | UPDATED: 12:34 GMT, 27 April 2012

The family of a young girl who was left severely brain damaged from salmonella poisoning after eating a KFC chicken twister in Australia has been awarded A$8 million (£5.1m) in damages plus costs by the Supreme Court. 

But she will not see a cent for now - because KFC have made it clear they will appeal the ruling.

Seven-year-old Monika Samaan became seriously ill after eating the chicken wrap at a KFC in the Sydney suburb of Villawood in 2005, suffering brain damage that has left her confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak.

KFC denied it was responsible, challenging the family's claim during a four-week trial.

Justice Stephen Rothman found in favour of the Samaan family, and on Friday ordered the fast-food giant to pay them eight million Australian dollars in compensation, plus costs.
In a statement to the media, the family's lawyer George Vlahakis said Monika's severe brain damage and disability had already 'exhausted the very limited resources of the family.' 

'Monika is now a big girl and they are finding it increasingly difficult to lift her and to look after her basic needs as well as look after Monika's younger siblings,' Mr Vlahakis said.

'The compensation ordered is very much needed. KFC have - to date - been determined that Monika does not receive a cent.'

Monika Samaan pictured before the incident with her brother Abanoub Severe disabilities: Now aged 14, Monika is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak as a result of her brain damage

Tragic: (Left) Monika before the incident, and (right) after the salmonella poisoning which left her severely brain damaged

KFC has indicated that it intends to appeal against the decision of Justice Rothman.

A company manager said: 'We feel deeply for Monika and the Samaan family. However, we also have a responsibility to defend KFC's reputation as a provider of safe, high-quality food.'

The court heard that Monika spent six months in a coma after she, her brother and her parents fell ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after sharing the chicken wrap.

While the rest of the family recovered, Monika, now 14, suffered complications that led to her present condition.

Mr Vlahakis told the court that at busy times, the KFC restaurant they ate at would reuse chicken that had been dropped on the floor.

Where it happened: The KFC restaurant in Villawood near Sydney

Where it happened: The KFC restaurant in Villawood near Sydney


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