ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., May 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Retired Police Lt. Richard Washart, who on November 6, 2013, was nearly killed after drinking draft beer containing caustic chemicals, is scheduled to testify at the jury trial against Kramer Beverage, Inc., which supplied the beer and cleaned the draft beer system at McCormick & Schmick's restaurant in Harrah's Casino Hotel.The restaurant is also a defendant in the case – jury selection is set to begin Monday, May 8th.
The 25-year veteran of the Ocean City Police Department will be among the witnesses that his attorney, Paul R. D'Amato, intends to call in what is believed to be the first trial of its kind in New Jersey. Neither defendant accepts responsibility for Mr. Washart's serious permanent injuries suffered as a result of drinking a small amount of Samuel Adams Winter Lager seasonal draft beer that was contaminated due to negligence by Kramer, the beer line-cleaning contractor. Kramer's technician was responsible for properly cleaning the line, or hose, before connecting the keg to the bar's faucet. While the technician used Micro Matic brand caustic cleaning solution, he failed to conduct a required pH test for the presence of potentially harmful chemical residue. Beer lines that have been cleaned with caustic solution are typically deemed safe only after a quick and simple pH strip test is performed. This test is required by Micro Matic, the cleanser manufacturer (http://www.micromatic.com/liquid-beer-line-cleaner/ph-testing-paper-ph-paper), the prestigious Brewers Association (of which Kramer is a member), and leading brewers, including Anheuser Busch, Coors-Miller, and Boston Beer Co., maker of Samuel Adams brand beers.
Mr. D'Amato said the jury in the case (Superior Court of New Jersey – Atlantic County / ATL-L-5789-13) will hear from beer expert Drew D. Larson, of Leaders Beverage Consulting, Inc., of Chicago. He will demonstrate how the Kramer technician failed to properly clean, rinse and test the restaurant's draft-system line, the critical connection between the beer keg and bar's faucet.
He will testify that if Kramer's employee had properly performed the post-rinsing pH paper strip test, it would have clearly indicated an abnormally high, unsafe pH level. This would have required additional line rinsing with water, followed by repeat testing, until the pH was suitable for line use and beer consumption.
"Richard Washart is looking forward to the opportunity to share his story with a jury of his peers," said Mr. D'Amato. "He is deeply concerned that what happened to him can reoccur unless businesses commit themselves to diligently following accepted industry safety and health practices for properly maintaining - including the use of pH strip tests after rinsing – their draft-beer systems. This case is about protecting the health and safety of consumers." The attorney also noted that Mr. Washart continues to receive regular treatment for his injuries that includes the erosion of about 25% of his stomach lining, according to his doctors. Gastroenterologists who treated and continue to treat Mr. Washart will testify that ingesting the caustic cleaner used by Kramer resulted in Mr. Washart's injuries.
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SOURCE D'Amato Law Firm