“Fried rice syndrome sounds like a joke, but it is very serious,” said Kathryn Knotts.
Knotts is the attorney representing 62-year-old Germaine Mobley, a Texas woman who is suing Chinese restaurant Asian King Buffet for allegedly having served her food which put her in the ICU for more than a week.
In 2006, Mobley went for lunch with a friend to Asian King Buffet, a Chinese favorite she frequented. Everything seemed to taste fine when she was eating, but something seemed to trigger a strange physical reaction in her.
“Everything tasted fine,” she said. “After we ate, I started not feeling well on the drive home.”
By the next morning, something was seriously wrong with Mobley, who suffers from pre-existing health conditions. She began vomiting and started having trouble even breathing, which is when her husband decided that she had to be taken to the hospital. Once there, doctors revealed to her husband that Mobley’s condition had probably been triggered by a bacteria called Bacillus cereus, also known as “fried rice syndrome.”
Strange as it sounds, the bacteria is usually found in foods stored at room temperature and can lead to vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Those symptoms typically die out within a period of one to two days, but Mobley and her lawyer argue that given the woman’s pre-existing condition, the “fried rice syndrome” initiated a deterioration in her health that only grew worse with time.
After having narrowly escaped death at the hospital, where she was put on a ventilator for two days, the 62-year-old had to go to a rehabilitation center for three months in order to fully recover. Estimates point out that she would have incurred a cost of more than $100,000 as a result.
Contending that Asian King Buffet is responsible for her ill-health, Mobley is suing the Chinese restaurant and seeking $1 million in damages. Her lawyer Kathryn Knotts, while acknowledging the strangeness of the lawsuit, nonetheless agrees with her client. According to her, the restaurant did not store the food at a proper temperature, leading to the trigger which would eventually make Mobley very sick.
“I remember going, ‘I’ve never even heard of this,'” her lawyer Kathryn Knotts told Dallas News about the moment when Germaine Mobley first came to her seeking help.
“[Mobley] wasn’t sure what could even really be done, she just wanted this to not continue to happen to other people.”
“They (Asian King) didn’t maintain the food at the proper temperature or kept it out for a long period of time.”
Meanwhile, Asian King Buffet’s representatives, when asked about the lawsuit alleging negligence, said that Mobley’s assertion lacked evidence and therefore her ill-health could not be tied to the food she ate at their restaurant.