An Australian court has reportedly awarded $8 million to the family of a girl who allegedly ate a Salmonella-contaminated chicken product from a KFC restaurant and became critically ill with organ system failures, septic shock, severe brain injury, and spastic quadriplegia. Samaan v. Kentucky Fried Chicken Pty Ltd, No. 2006/20457 (NSW Sup. Ct., decided April 4, 2012). The court exhaustively explores inconsistencies in the testimony and evidence concerning the source of the chicken that allegedly caused the injury, but concludes that the KFC “Twister” product “was the only common meal to the affected family members (and no others) and it was consumed within the incubation period for Salmonella poisoning.”
According to the court, many of the inconsistencies could be attributed to language and translation issues given that the parents and one child were born in Sudan and were native Arabic speakers. Other inconsistencies could be attributed to concerns over the child’s illness, so severe that she was administered last rites in the hospital, and that the mother had given birth to a sibling a few days before the older girl was stricken. The court also found sufficient breakdowns in the restaurant’s procedures to conclude that the Salmonella contamination of one of its products was not impossible. A company spokesperson has indicated that KFC will appeal the decision, contending, “We believe the evidence showed KFC did not cause this tragedy.” See Law360, April 27, 2012.