A jury in Las Vegas has awarded USD$8-million to a middle school special education teacher who sued after being permanently injured when he was served cleaning solvents instead of tap beer at a casino bar.
Lon Enwright, 38, used to also work as a wine steward at Las Vegas Strip restaurants but lost his sense of taste due to the December 2018 injury at a Barley’s Casino & Brewing Co. in Henderson, his lawyer, Andre Lagomarsino, said Friday.
Enwright, a Ph.D., continues to teach and coach basketball, but has stomach and esophageal ulcers and is at increased risk of cancer, Lagomarsino said. His lawyer characterized the jury award as compensation for “the loss of enjoyment of life.”
A spokesman for Station Casinos, corporate parent of Barley’s, did not immediately respond to messages about the verdict that was reached March 18 in Clark County District Court.
Enwright’s lawyers, including Rahul Ravipudi, said Barley’s admitted liability and offered $300,000 in damages before trial.
Enwright’s negligence lawsuit said he was sickened and experienced convulsions after he asked for a sample of Honey Blonde ale on tap and was served caustic chemicals commonly used to clean beer taps and lines.
His lawyers said bar employees knew the beer lines were out of service for cleaning.
In a news release from the law firm partnered with the victim’s lawyers, Enwright’s representation claims after tasting the beverage, he “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.”
Poison Control told first responders aiding Enwright that the only thing to do was dilute the chemicals in the victim’s system by drinking gallons of water.
This is not the first time a restaurant has paid damages to a customer accidentally served cleaning fluids.
A Cracker Barrel restaurant in Tennessee was ordered to pay a man USD$9.4-million after his water glass was filled with cleaning solution. The victim experienced long-term, severe health problems including cramping, bloating, diarrhea and reflux.
— With files from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto