For an Australian family that a simple snack at the fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken turned out to change the course of the their entire life.
Monika Samaan was seven when she suffered salmonella encephalopathy — a brain injury linked to food poisoning that also left her with a blood infection and septic shock — in October 2005.
Several other family members also fell ill and they claimed Samaan’s injuries, which include severe cognitive, motor and speech impairment and spastic quadriplegia, were caused by a chicken Twister wrap from a Sydney KFC outlet.
The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled in the family’s favour a week ago and on Friday ordered KFC to pay the girl Aus$8 million in damages plus legal costs.
In a statement, the family’s lawyer George Vlahakis said they were relieved the battle was over.
“Monika’s severe brain damage and severe disability has already exhausted the very limited resources of the family,” he 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.
“The compensation ordered is very much needed. KFC have to date been determined that Monika does not receive a cent.”
Last week KFC indicated it will appeal the decision but is yet to do so.
During the trial, Justice Stephen Rothman said the chicken became contaminated “because of the failure of one or more employees of KFC” to follow proper preparation rules, which he described as “negligent”.