Fourteen-Year-old left brain damaged after eating KFC returns to court0
Monika Samaan a 14-year-old girl from Sydney, Australia, was left brain-damaged, cannot speak and is now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, because she ate a salmonella-tainted KFC chicken twister seven years ago.
In April, an Australian dispute resolution Sydney court ordered KFC to pay her and her family 8 million Australian dollars, in damages, the Daily Mail reported, but now the young girl is in danger of losing her award after the food giant’s lawyers appealed the ruling last week.
Samaan’s parents said the money would be a great help for her ongoing care – but lawyers for the fast food giant said it had filed papers contesting the court’s finding and the award.
KFC’s recent decision to appeal places Miss Samaan in danger of losing all or part of the money – and could also result in her family having to pay additional legal costs.
KFC denied it was responsible for Miss Samaan’s brain damage but during the court hearing a number of poor hygiene practices were revealed at the store in the suburb of Villawood where the family purchased their chicken meals.
Lawyers for the company told the New South Wales Surpreme Court that they have formal lodged appeal submissions, based on three factors. They said there had been a ‘failure to consider evidence’ during the initial hearing, an ‘error in the judge’s factual findings’ and an error in the weight given to certain evidence.
Through their own lawyers, the Samaan family immediately hit back at KFC’s appeal submissions, saying they were ‘an amorphous restatement’ of what had been said during the trial.
It is understood that with the appeal pending the Samaan family, who live in a modest home in Sydney, have not received any of the award money. The Samaan family is hoping to reach some kind of out of court settlement through mediation or arbitration Sydney to help avoid the legal costs of an ongoing legal battle with the giant food corporation.
When the judge announced the award in April, family lawyer George Vlahakis said the compensation was ‘very much needed.’
He added: ‘Monika’s severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family.’
During the initial hearing the court heard that after dining at KFC Miss Samaan and her brother both ended up in hospital, but she was left significantly the worse of the two.
Referring to Miss Samaan’s parents, Mr Vlahakis said: ‘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.’