Originally published on: VerdictSearch.com
Venue: Orange County
Court: Orange County Circuit Court, 9th
other-scar and/or disfigurement
Case Type: Hotel/Restaurant – Hot Beverage
Case Name: Ellie Gwen, guardian Nathan Quach v. Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc., No. 13-CA-7752A
Date: May 21, 2015
Ellie Gwen (Female),
Nathan Quach (Male, 6 Years)
Kimberly E. Lorenz; Fisher Rushmer PA; Orlando, FL, for Ellie Gwen, Nathan Quach
John Edwin Fisher; Fisher Rushmer PA; Orlando, FL, for Ellie Gwen, Nathan Quach
John Abraham ; Ph.D. ; Heat Transfer; St. Paul, MN called by: Kimberly E. Lorenz, John Edwin Fisher
Richard Kagan ; M.D. ; Burn Medicine; Cincinnati, OH called by: Kimberly E. Lorenz, John Edwin Fisher
Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc.
Todd Randall Ehrenreich; Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial; Miami, FL, for Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc.
Seth Alhadeff; Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial; Miami, FL, for Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc.
Dean Johnston; Plastic Surgery/Reconstructive Surgery; Lake Mary, FL called by: Todd Randall Ehrenreich,Seth Alhadeff
On Feb. 10, 2012, plaintiff Nathan Quach, 6, was eating lunch with his family at Lam’s Garden Restaurant in Orlando. Family members present at the lunch claimed a waitress brought out a teapot and placed it on a table with a lazy Susan rotating tray on top. At some point, spilled tea burned Nathan’s chest, hands, groin area and legs. Ellie Gwen, mother and guardian of Nathan Quach sued Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc. for negligence. Nathan’s mother alleged the pot of tea fell off the lazy Suzan, burning her child. Gwen’s heat transference opined that the tea was in excess of 180 degrees. He further opined that at that temperature the tea was unreasonably hot and or unsafe, creating a dangerous condition for restaurant patrons in the event the tea was spilled. He also opined that the water at such a temperature would cause immediate second and third degree burns. Gwen further alleged that that lazy Suzan upon which the teapot was placed was unstable and slippery, and that there were other incidents of patrons being burned with hot tea at the Chinese restaurant in the past. The defense argued comparative negligence on the part of the child’s grandmother and aunt, who were present during the incident, for failing to supervise the child. Defense counsel claimed that both the child’s grandmother and aunt admitted they had no idea how the pot of tea fell.
Nathan Quach was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room. The child sustained second and third degree burns to his chest, hands, groin area and upper legs. The child underwent treatment for his wounds. Quach was transferred to Shriner’s Hospital burn center in Cincinnati, where he underwent surgery that included skin grafting from his back to the areas of his wounds.
Quach’s treating surgeon opined that Nathan suffered severe burns and pain, especially in the groin area because the hot tea caused his clothing to cling to his skin for a prolonged period. He opined that Quach suffered significant scarring in area of his groin and thighs. He opined that Quach required significant skin grafting from his back to the areas of his chest, hands, groin, and thighs. He furtehr opined that Quach will require additional, future surgery – including scar revision as he gets older.
Quach’s mother sought to recover damages for the child’s past and future medicals; and past and future pain and suffering. The plaintiffs’ counsel suggested the jury award $5 million.
Defense counsel suggested the jury only award $700,000. The defense pointed out that six months after the incident, Quach’s mother left Florida to travel to China. Defense counsel argued that if Quach was undergoing such a horrible ordeal as a result of the incident, according to his mother, it was questionable as to why Nathan’s mother would leave him in such a state. The defense argued that Quach’s mother must have felt that the child was doing fine in order for her to leave him for three weeks to travel out of the country. The defense’s expert plastic surgeon opined that Quach had a good result from his surgeries and would only require minor scar revisions in the future.
The jury found the defendant Lam’s Garden Restaurant, Inc. 100 percent negligent. The jury determined the plaintiff’s damages totaled $1 million.
$300,000 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost
$300,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost
$200,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering
$198,500 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering
Judge: John Marshall Kest
Trial Length: 7 days
Jury Composition: 3 male/ 3 female
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs’ and defense counsel.
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