PSBR partner Rahul Ravipudi and firm attorneys Ian Samson, and Adam Ellis of Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP obtained an $8,000,000 jury verdict in Clark County District Court for a Nevada man who suffered significant internal injuries after he was served and ingested what he believed was a Honey Blonde Ale but was actually a chemical cleaning compound left in the tap lines. Plaintiff was also represented in the matter by co-counsel, Andre M. Lagomarsino of Lagomarsino Law.
On December 18, 2018, Plaintiff Lon Enwright, a 38-year-old special education teacher in Clark County, visited Barley’s Casino & Brewing Company in Henderson, Nevada to watch a football game. Barley’s is operated by Town Center Amusements, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Station Casinos. A Barley’s bartender offered him a sample of Honey Blonde Ale, but, unbeknownst to Dr. Enwright, the sample contained a dangerous chemical cleaning solution. Although Barley’s staff knew the lines were out of service for cleaning, the bartender offered Dr. Enwright the sample.
After drinking the sample, Dr. Enwright experienced a sudden and intense burning in his mouth, on his tongue, and down his esophagus into his stomach. He soon began convulsing, hyperventilating, and violently vomiting before Henderson Fire Department arrived to the scene. After consulting with Poison Control, first responders told Dr. Enwright the only thing to do was to dilute the chemicals by drinking gallons of water. Doctors later told Dr. Enwright that he suffered permanent nerve and tissue damage to his mouth, tongue, and gastrointestinal system.
The liquid poured by Barley’s bartender contained a dangerous amount of potassium hydroxide and nonylphenol polyethylene glycol ether. These ingredients are poisonous and are used in beverage cleaning systems, such as beer taps, tanks and lines. These ingredients are commonly known to cause injuries and burns to the respiratory tract, skin, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, and eyes, among other parts of the body. Potassium hydroxide is a powerful alkaline meant to liquefy organic material, while the nonylphenol polyethylene glycol ether acts as a surfactant to adhere the chemical to organic material. That same process occurred within Dr. Enwright’s body, with the chemical adhering to and liquefying tissue, including the extremely sensitive, internal issues of his gastrointestinal system.
As a result of defendant’s negligence, Dr. Enwright has and will continue to suffer and seek treatment for lifelong internal damage, a lifelong burning sensation in his tongue, loss of taste, ulcers in the esophagus, and permanent damage to bodily tissue.
Defendant denied liability for Dr. Enwright’s injuries until March 10, 2022, four days before the trial began. The only issue for the jury to determine at trial was the amount of past and future noneconomic damages suffered by Plaintiff.
At trial, Plaintiff’s counsel presented the testimony of Dr. Enwright and Dr. Frank Nemec, a preeminent gastroenterologist in Las Vegas who explained the nature and extent of Dr. Enwright’s damages to the jury. Defendant did not call any witnesses, but instead argued the evidence showed Plaintiff should be awarded $100,000 for past noneconomic damages and $200,000 for future noneconomic damages.
The jury took two hours of deliberation to render their verdict in favor of Plaintiff, awarding $3,000,000 in past non-economic damages and $5,000,000 in future non-economic damages for a total of $8,000,000.
Defendant was represented at trial by Troy E. Peyton of Pyatt Silverstri.