A plate of fried rice is at the center of a lawsuit filed in the 40th Judicial District Court on May 11.
Corsican resident Germaine Mobley claims she was hospitalized with "Fried Rice Syndrome" after a meal at Asian King Buffet. The illness arises after the ingestion of Bacillus Cereus bacteria, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states produces toxins that cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Mobley told the Daily Light she fell violently ill after returning home and started vomiting shortly after ingesting the food. Her husband called an ambulance, which took her to the hospital.
“I was in ICU for several days and was on a ventilator. When they released me, I could hardly walk. I don’t know honestly how my husband got me into the house,” Mobley said. “I was so weak for being down for so long, and that is the sickest time I have been in my life.”
Court documents state Mobley seeks more than $1 million in damages for personal injuries that resulted from consuming the alleged tainted fried rice on June 30, 2016.
Mobley’s attorney, Kathryn Knotts, stated a problematic element in these types of cases is that people don't seek medical attention. She noted also noted the monetary amount could be more if the case goes through a trial or if additional information comes to light.
"What is tough in most food poisoning cases people think that they have a stomach virus or it will just pass. They will never get any testing done," Knotts said. "Doctors did perform the appropriate tests it was determined to be not just a stomach virus, but a bacteria that formed in her body because of the tainted food."
Knotts stated Mobley required home healthcare services after her stay at the hospital. She noted Mobley has recovered substantially from the injuries, but has not fully regained all of her strength and is more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.
Knotts explained her client also sustained the loss of freedom because of the illness.
"One of the elements in the damages that we seek is the loss of independence. As an adult, we are supposed to be able to take care of ourselves," Knotts said. "It was not a loss of independence because someone is getting old. That sense of independence was taken from her."
Huanan Ye, the owner of Asian King, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Court documents list Darlene Mitchell as Asian King’s attorney. In response to the original petition, Mitchell denies the claims alleged by Knotts in her answer filed with the court on June 1.
John Barr, the managing partner with Burt Barr and Associates, confirmed the firm is representing Asian King. He stated Mitchell is out of town on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment as of press time.
Dr. Joseph Kim, medical director for Methodist Urgent Care, stated food poisoning symptoms could develop quickly from foods that have been left out for long periods of time at room temperature.
“Food poisoning comes from the toxins that are produced from the bacteria outside the body,” Kim said. “When people ingest these foods that contain these toxins produced from bacteria there can be severe reactions.”
Kim stated people with an existing medical condition might have additional complications from symptoms. Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. He advises people to seek medical attention immediately if they are experiencing symptoms.