2nd April 2019
Mr E, brought a Personal Injury claim on behalf of his late wife, Mrs E, (aged 68), from Ashford who died on 7 th December 2013 as a result of food poisoning (campylobacter).
On 23 rd August 2013 the couple were out celebrating Mrs E having been given the ‘all clear’ following treatment for cancer. She, her husband and daughter went to a local Chinese restaurant in Wye for a celebratory meal.
The following day, Mrs E started to suffer with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea . Her symptoms worsened resulting in her being admitted to William Harvey Hospital, Ashford on 30th August 2013.
Local newspaper press reports from that period of time record that Ashford Borough Council had received 13 notifications of people falling ill after eating at the Chinese restaurant on 23rd August 2013, including Mrs E. The Restaurant subsequently ceased to trade.
Unfortunately, whilst in hospital, Mrs E’s condition deteriorated and she sadly died on 7 th December 2013.
A Letter of Claim was sent to the restaurant, and their insurers instructed a Liverpool based firm of solicitors to represent them.
The Defendant’s solicitors were extremely slow to respond and denied that the restaurant was negligent or that the food poisoning had contributed to and/or caused Mrs E’s death.
Furthermore, they suggested that a payment of £500 which was made to Mr E during Mrs E’s lifetime had settled the Personal Injury claim in full.
The arguments put forward by the Defendant’s solicitors were not accepted by Fairweathers Solicitors LLP and proceedings were therefore issued.
Expert evidence was obtained as to causation, from a Consultant Intensivist expert and life expectation evidence from a Consultant Oncologist and from a Consultant Diabetologist.
The Defendant eventually conceded negligence and causation but maintained that the £500 ex gratia payment settled the claim in full.
The matter was listed for trial on 1 st and 2 nd April 2019 at Brighton County Court.
The Defendant put forward a Part 36 offer of £50,000 in settlement. This was rejected. They then increased the offer to £75,000, which again was rejected. The matter was then settled 3 days before the trial date for £87,500.
Kate Kennell who had conduct of the claim said:
“ This was a tragic case in which matters were unnecessarily drawn out.
I am however delighted with the end result and that we managed to achieve such a fantastic amount for the family. I hope that this will in some way go towards bringing the matter to a close and making the Defendant accountable. “