Va. Court Reinstates Jury Award for Food Poisoning

November 10, 2005

A Roanoke judge should not have thrown out an award of more than $110,000 to a woman who suffered food poisoning from a restaurant meal of beef tips and rice, the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled.

The high court reinstated Susie Bussey’s verdict against a Golden Corral in Roanoke. Last year, a jury found the restaurant negligent and awarded Bussey $111,765.25.

Evidence showed that Bussey became ill after eating lunch at the restaurant in March 2002. Bussey noticed at the time that the beef she was served smelled bad, the Supreme Court noted, and the manager confirmed that it was “no good.”

Although Bussey stopped eating, she spent four days in the hospital with what her doctor testified was food poisoning. The ailment aggravated Bussey’s pre-existing blood disorder and caused health problems that eventually forced her to quit her job as a hospital housekeeper, the jury was told.

But Circuit Judge Charlie Dorsey later threw out the verdict, ruling that testimony from the doctor and other witnesses was insufficient. In reversing that decision, the Supreme Court found the evidence to be “neither speculative nor scant.”

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