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Wedding Reception Food Poisoning Becomes Class Action Lawsuit

Freshly cooked lobsters served whole for dinner
By George Khoury, Esq. on April 29, 2019 3:00 PM

When someone tells you that the food at a wedding was bad, it’s not usually that much of a surprise. But when you find out that over forty guests got food poisoning, allegedly from some bad mac and cheese, that’s a whole different story.

Sadly, that’s also a true story, at least according to a recent class action lawsuit against one wedding caterer in the state of New York. Allegedly, over forty guests, including the father of the bride, got sick due to the mac and cheese served. Before the reception ended, paramedics were called to treat several guests due to their vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms

Always Blame the Caterer

The lawsuit blames the caterer, Holy Smoke BBQ and Catering, for serving bad mac and cheese, causing guests to become violently ill. The caterer claims that it was not their food that caused the widespread food poisoning, and that several other food items could have been to blame. Nevertheless, the judge presiding over the case certified the class, meaning that he agreed to hear the matter as a class action. Generally, when a class action lawsuit gets filed, the party filing the case must prove to the court that the case deserves to be treated as a class action by meeting various requirements.

Wedding Vendor Contract Terms

Unfortunately for individuals planning a wedding, vendor contracts can often be heavily one-sided in favor of the vendors, while still charging you an excessive premium because it is your big day. Along with those premium prices, often, individuals will be stuck with very strong and very broad liability waivers and indemnification clauses, not to mention painfully pricey cancellation policies (if any at all). 

And while you may want to engage an attorney to negotiate these contracts, most wedding vendors won’t negotiate much except price and what services will be provided, and even that is usually limited. As a practical matter, you may want to look over any contracts before spending too much time with a potential vendor, and you should definitely compare contracts from different vendors, in order to get an idea for what is standard and non-standard. If the terms of any contract are too confusing, even after doing some research here on FindLaw, you might want to contact an attorney to give you a crash course in what some of the common contract terms mean for your wedding.

And steer clear of the mac and cheese.  

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