KFC in Australia gets sued.

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KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Vashon » 2012-04-28 11:44pm

http://m.yahoo.com/w/news_america/kfc-o ... lang=en-us


Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken has been ordered to pay Aus$8 million (US$8.3 million) to an Australian girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralysed after eating a Twister wrap.

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".

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby KhorneFlakes » 2012-04-29 01:27am

This brain damage part I find to sound too much like bullshit, but I'm remaining skeptical of both parties until more information comes out. We do have viruses and bacteria that can cause mental illnesses, but individuals with vulnerability to them are rare.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Ford Prefect » 2012-04-29 01:31am

KhorneFlakes wrote:I'm remaining skeptical of both parties until more information comes out.


Well, good for you, I guess? Rothman J was convinced, and if KFC wants to dispute it, they can appeal.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby mr friendly guy » 2012-04-29 01:46am

KhorneFlakes wrote:This brain damage part I find to sound too much like bullshit, but I'm remaining skeptical of both parties until more information comes out. We do have viruses and bacteria that can cause mental illnesses, but individuals with vulnerability to them are rare.


Just for interest, which brain damage part do you find bullshit?

The part that she had salmonella. The part that salmonella caused brain damage. Or the part that the salmonella was acquired from KFC? Or some other thing.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby KhorneFlakes » 2012-04-29 02:05am

Ah, didn't think of Salmonella. Virtually all the sources I've read about this don't mention it for some reason. They only mention brain damage.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Ryan Thunder » 2012-04-29 02:09am

Uh dude its like the second line in the posted article.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby KhorneFlakes » 2012-04-29 02:13am

Yes, I know it's mentioned in the second line, dummkopf. I was talking about other news sources I've read about this.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby loomer » 2012-04-29 11:04am

So why the fuck didn't you read this article?
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Temjin » 2012-04-29 12:15pm

I'm actually a bit surprised KFC it's self has to pay. I don't know Austrailian law, but I would have assumed that the people who were ultimately disobeying KFC's food preparation rules would be the one at fault or at least the owner of that particular franchise. Suing KFC it's self, when it's mandatory rules weren't being obeyed by the employees, doesn't really make sense to me.

Food poisoning is just too fucking easy. One employee, having an off day during the lunch rush, doing one stupid thing, can result in a case like this. It's impossible for KFC, who's main business is selling franchises, to completely eliminate the possibility. It probably does everything it can to do so, if only to reduce cases like this, but it's impossible to completely eliminate. Which is why I think the responsiblity should be either with the employees responsible (probably impossible to determine) or with the franchise owner.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Grumman » 2012-04-29 12:22pm

@Temjin: I agree that the franchise owner seems like a more reasonable target, but either way I think the idea is that the victims sue the company, and then the company sues the employee for the harm done by their failure to follow orders. It means that it's up to the company and not the victim to know and prove exactly which employee is at fault.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-04-29 01:34pm

Yeah. Otherwise, the victim has to be able to figure out who did it so they have a specific target- because by the same argument Temjin is using, the franchise owner could devolve responsibility onto whichever food service worker was handling the wraps that day.

So it does make sense to aim the primary lawsuit at the entity with deep pockets, the one who owns the overall operation, instead of trying to go after some minimum-wage time-server who has no money to pay your medical bills with. It'd be one thing if the employee did it with malice aforethought, but nearly all accidents (food poisoning, workplace injuries) can be attributed to someone screwing up on the job. It'd be impossible to use a lawsuit-based system to handle the consequences of that if every time an employee had a serious accident, they personally were fully liable for the millions of dollars of damages that resulted. And if the company was immune to paying for those damages.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Dartzap » 2012-04-29 02:17pm

It may be the case that part of the franchise agreement is some sort of legal protection.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby HMS Conqueror » 2012-04-29 05:43pm

While the outcome is rather extreme in this case, there's absolutely nothing unusual about the story. Slips in hygiene result in food poisoning all the time, and this obviously falls well short of the reasonable expectation of product quality.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Ford Prefect » 2012-04-29 06:46pm

Temjin wrote:I'm actually a bit surprised KFC it's self has to pay. I don't know Austrailian law, but I would have assumed that the people who were ultimately disobeying KFC's food preparation rules would be the one at fault or at least the owner of that particular franchise. Suing KFC it's self, when it's mandatory rules weren't being obeyed by the employees, doesn't really make sense to me.


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The corporation can't just throw up its hands and say 'hey, it doesn't have anything to do with us even though you got food poisoning in one of our stores plastered in our branding and guaranteed by us'. Corporations already try to get away with all sorts of dodgy shit, but if they could just dump litigation on people who really can't handle it - I mean you just mentioned suing the individual employee - they'd be positively gleeful.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Batman » 2012-04-29 07:20pm

Unless KFC Australia has posters in every outlet saying 'our personell don't know beans about hygiene or proper food preparation so eat here at your own risk' or have their customers sign waivers with every order, the company absolutely is responsible. The moment they paste their name on the restaurant, as long as they don't have those ridiculous 'not safe to eat here' signs up seeing to it that the rules and regulations that are there to make sure their food is safe is their responsibility. If and when there was a clear violation of those the company can and should take it out on the violator, but they're still responsible for allowing that violation to happen in the first place.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby PeZook » 2012-04-30 06:17am

Has any of you guys speculating about it actually seen a KFC franchising agreement?

I'm just asking, because a lot of these franchise-selling companies have agreements which include legal protections for the franchise buyer - or, barring that, they precisely spell out questions of legal responsibility for infractions, etc.

Plus of course Australian consumer law might simply state that the responsible party is the one whose identifying marks are visible on the building ; I know Polish law does, so as to cut out any pretense of shoving blame around by not identifying your business properly.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby PeZook » 2012-04-30 06:25am

Batman wrote:Unless KFC Australia has posters in every outlet saying 'our personell don't know beans about hygiene or proper food preparation so eat here at your own risk' or have their customers sign waivers with every order, the company absolutely is responsible. The moment they paste their name on the restaurant, as long as they don't have those ridiculous 'not safe to eat here' signs up seeing to it that the rules and regulations that are there to make sure their food is safe is their responsibility. If and when there was a clear violation of those the company can and should take it out on the violator, but they're still responsible for allowing that violation to happen in the first place.


I'm pretty sure such a sign is not actually a "get out of health and sanitation regs free" card, either.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Gunhead » 2012-04-30 07:02am

I'm no expert, but as I understand it, here no amount of waivers will get the company of the hook. Food and health regulations are law and you cannot bypass law by signing a waiver. Same goes for warning signs. The franchiser is first responsible for proper handling of food and hygiene and can take disciplinary actions against an employee if they can pinpoint the responsible party, but it makes sense for a person to sue the company itself as it is also responsible. If you get food poisoning you cannot pinpoint exactly who was the one making the food, so you sue the company since you can show it was not following health and safety regulations by not training the staff or by not checking if they follow their training. I don't know how exactly the responsibilities are shared by the parent company and the franchisee. I do know that employees at McDonald's are required to sign a document where they agree to follow the hygiene guidelines set down by McDonald's and neglecting to do so is grounds for ending the franchising agreement, which is why the shift bosses are usually pretty stringent about hygiene. At least in the McDonald's that was in the same building I worked in at one time.

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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Batman » 2012-05-01 08:46pm

PeZook wrote:
Batman wrote:Unless KFC Australia has posters in every outlet saying 'our personell don't know beans about hygiene or proper food preparation so eat here at your own risk' or have their customers sign waivers with every order, the company absolutely is responsible. The moment they paste their name on the restaurant, as long as they don't have those ridiculous 'not safe to eat here' signs up seeing to it that the rules and regulations that are there to make sure their food is safe is their responsibility. If and when there was a clear violation of those the company can and should take it out on the violator, but they're still responsible for allowing that violation to happen in the first place.

I'm pretty sure such a sign is not actually a "get out of health and sanitation regs free" card, either.

That was sort of my point you know.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-05 07:11am

Temjin wrote:I'm actually a bit surprised KFC it's self has to pay. I don't know Austrailian law, but I would have assumed that the people who were ultimately disobeying KFC's food preparation rules would be the one at fault or at least the owner of that particular franchise. Suing KFC it's self, when it's mandatory rules weren't being obeyed by the employees, doesn't really make sense to me.


Because suing 'Hello My Name is: Hygiene What the Fuck is that?', won't net a metric crapload of money (not that they aren't justified in suing afterall), but you won't get much money from the wage-slave, as opposed to getting craploads from the corporation itself.
Sure you might make a bajillion dollars over a thousand years, from the Wageslave....or you can get a bajalliion dollars (minus lawyer fees) right off the bat.

It also makes a noblesse obligation sort of sense. 'If your subordinates screw up it is your fault', which is unfair of course. Because they can't control if their employees are grubby little shits (I mean you kind of expect parents to beat this sort of basic crap into their kids), but it will encourage them to crack the whip harder on future employees so they *don't* cause this sort of scenario to happen again.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby Korto » 2012-05-05 06:05pm

My understanding of it is, the guy works for you, you're responsible for what he does. You absolutely responsible for what he does in the pursuit of his job, and at least a great deal responsible for what he does while he's on company time even if it's not work-related.
Basically, you hired him, you trained him, you supervised him, it's your fault. (Whining "but we weren't supervising him at the time!" would be unlikely to help :lol: )
I would imagine the same principle would be applied to the franchising company.
If the guy did something that was positively against training (or just plain illegal), the company can then take action against their own employee, but that doesn't extinguish the company's responsibillity to the original injured party.
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Re: KFC in Australia gets sued.

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-09 10:56am

Korto wrote:My understanding of it is, the guy works for you, you're responsible for what he does. You absolutely responsible for what he does in the pursuit of his job, and at least a great deal responsible for what he does while he's on company time even if it's not work-related.
Basically, you hired him, you trained him, you supervised him, it's your fault. (Whining "but we weren't supervising him at the time!" would be unlikely to help :lol: )
I would imagine the same principle would be applied to the franchising company.
If the guy did something that was positively against training (or just plain illegal), the company can then take action against their own employee, but that doesn't extinguish the company's responsibillity to the original injured party.


I'm not denying they have an overall responsibility, and it does help for court cases like this. Certainly the company is better able to give a more (if you'll pardon the pun) meaty pay-off than Employee #1138.
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