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A Wyoming Restaurant Seeks to Set Aside $11.3 Million Default Judgment in Salmonella Poisoning Case

A Wyoming federal court recently awarded over $11 million to a Nebraska plaintiff who sustained injuries after contracting salmonella poisoning at a Wyoming-based restaurant location. Although the plaintiff has recovered from many of the initial symptoms and illnesses of the salmonella poisoning, he continues to suffer devastating and long-lasting side effects, including vomiting, balance and coordination issues, and a number of cognitive and psychological harms.

One of the most unique aspects of this case is that the plaintiff obtained the judgment through a default judgment. A default judgment occurs when one party fails to take action, such as when a defendant ignores a summons to appear before court or respond to a pleading against it.

The plaintiffs, the man who contracted the disease and his wife, filed the lawsuit during October 2014. The case proceeded to a judgment without the defendant restaurant asserting any defense. Now, the restaurant’s lawyers have filed a motion to void the Wyoming court’s jurisdiction over the matter, claiming that the plaintiff’s claim was discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. The defendant is asking the court to set aside the default judgment. It also made an attempt to explain the series of confusions and miscommunications that resulted in the defendant not responding to any documents filed in the initial litigation.

One of the defendant’s central arguments claims that the plaintiffs named the wrong defendants in their initial lawsuit. According to the restaurant, which has since closed, its business was located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, from 2005 to 2012 and owned and operated by OCB Restaurant Co., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Buffets, Inc. According to the defendant, the plaintiffs erred by not directly naming OCB Restaurant Co. in the complaint. It also contends that Buffets, Inc. does not have sufficient contacts with Wyoming to provide the federal district court with jurisdiction over Buffets, Inc.

Despite the defendant’s potentially untimely arguments, public health officials verified the salmonella outbreak and linked the plaintiff’s disease to the defendant restaurant in 2010. At the time the plaintiff contracted the illness, OCB Restaurant Co. held a $25 million limited liability policy and a $500,000 per incident cap.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as the result of food contamination, you may be entitled to compensation. Each year, over 75,000 people in the United States suffer severe and painful conditions as the result of unsafe food handling practices, with some 325,000 people requiring hospitalization. Roughly 5,000 people unfortunately lose their lives as the result of deadly food contamination. Listeria, e. Coli, and salmonella are among the most dangerous and aggressive bacteria that can find their way into your food if it is not handled properly.

At Moll Law Group, we have helped many food contamination victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries and medical expenses. We fight for our clients along each step of the way and ensure that you receive the personal attention and compassion that you deserve. Our team proudly serves clients throughout the United States, including in California, New York, Chicago, and Texas. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your free, no-obligation consultation now.

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