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Man Gets $1.1 Million for Sense of Smell

March 14, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ An amateur chef who lost his sense of smell in a traffic accident was awarded nearly $1.1 million by a jury.

Howard Schaeffer, 46, was riding his bicycle on a Manhattan street in 1985 when he was rear-ended by a motorist.

Schaeffer suffered a fractured skull, some memory loss and severed his olfactory nerve, according to his lawyer, Peter Janoff.

After 16 days in the hospital, Schaeffer said he discovered his sense of taste - closely linked to smell - also was greatly diminished.

″Nothing seemed to taste like anything,″ he said.

A trial-level state Supreme Court jury awarded him $1.066 million after a one-week trial.

Schaeffer of nearby Hartsdale said he can distinguish sweet from sour and other basic tastes. ″I seek out the spiciest and hottest foods,″ he said.

Despite his handicap, Schaeffer says he still weighs more than 200 pounds. He says he’s found different pleasures in food.

″It’s amazing how quickly you can get into texture,″ he said.

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