Restaurant Patrons Sue Over Food Poisoning
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Two patrons of Kaldi’s restaurant have filed lawsuits over a form of seafood poisoning they say they suffered after dining on barracuda at the eatery.
Katherine P. Bonny filed suit Friday. Carolyn T. Krestul filed on Oct. 6.
″Kaldi’s breached its implied warranty of merchantability in that the barracuda was not fit for human consumption,″ said the lawsuit filed by Ms. Bonny’s attorney.
Eight to 10 customers of the restaurant became sick in March after eating barracuda. At the time, Kaldi’s was a full-service restaurant. It now only sells specialized cooking utensils, prepared gourmet foods and luncheon takeouts.
The restaurant has never denied serving barracuda that produced ciguatera poisoning and has offered to pay the medical bills of customers who sought help after eating there. The restaurant said there is was no way to detect the poison in the fish.
Ciguatera poisoning stems from microscopic organisms found on tropical reefs and passed up the food chain as larger fish eat smaller ones.
Symptoms of the sometimes fatal poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, muscle aches and increased sensitivity in the extremities.
Mary Stewart-Slade, president and part-owner of Kaldi’s, said she had not received notice of either lawsuit.
The restaurant never served barracuda before, nor since, the poisoning, she said. It was offered as a one-time special.
″We were just in the right place at the wrong time,″ said Ms. Slade. ″Barracuda is a very popular fish, and we made the mistake of serving something that was popular. I would never take the chance again.″
Ms. Slade said the fish was purchased from a distributor in Miami.
Ronald Oberdier, representing Ms. Bonny, said the poisoning left his client suffering from reverse sensitivity. He said she burned her fingers on a curling iron because it felt cold and that when she washes her hands in cold water it feels hot.
He said Ms. Bonny also suffered from itching and cramping and had trouble concentrating and articulating her thoughts.
″The suit goes under the theory that a restaurant has a duty to serve food that is fit for human consumption,″ he said. ″You have the right to rely on a restaurant when you buy food from them to think that it will not poison you.″
Attorney Harry L. Shorstein said Mrs. Krestul suffered common symptoms of the poisoning.