HOUSTON – A ‘dubious-tasting kolache’ is legally insufficient evidence to support a $400,000 jury verdict levied against Murphy’s Deli, according to the First Court of Appeals.
Less than an hour after eating a kolache from Murphy’s Deli, Keziah Jordan experienced severe gastric distress and collapsed onto a hard countertop in her doctor’s office.
A physician estimated the cause was viral gastroenteritis and noted in his records that Jordan told him that she “ate a dubious-tasting kolache,” court records show.
Jordan filed suit against the deli in 2015, claiming that the kolache, which according to her testimony “tasted a little off,” caused her injury.
At trial, jurors were asked to determine if Murphy’s Deli breached the implied warranty of fitness in selling the kolache to Jordan.
The jury awarded Jordan $200,000 for her physical pain, $50,000 for mental anguish, $50,000 for impairment and $100,000 for disfigurement.
Court records show the trial court entered judgment on the jury verdict. After the deli’s motion for a new trial was overruled, the eatery appealed.
On appeal, Murphy’s Deli argued Jordan did not present sufficient expert medical testimony that her illness was caused by consuming the kolache, and that she did not present evidence that she had notified Murphy’s Deli that a breach of warranty had occurred.
On Nov. 18, the First Court found that the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain the verdict, reversing the trial court and remanding the case for a new trial.
Justice Gordon Goodman dissented, opining that “the majority misunderstands what the law requires in terms of proof.”
Jordan is represented in part by Houston attorney John Daspit.
The Houston law firm of Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito represents Murphy’s Deli.
Appeals case No. 01-19-00568-CV
Written by Staff reports