Court Roundup

New Jersey
Man burned by caustic beer gets $750K

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man whose esophagus and stomach were severely burned after drinking a beer tainted by a caustic chemical at an Atlantic City casino restaurant has been awarded $750,000.

Paul D'Amato, the lawyer for Richard Washart, told The Associated Press the jury awarded the plaintiff $650,000 Friday for pain and suffering, and $100,000 for emotional distress.

The Seaville, New Jersey, man, sued the McCormick & Schmick's restaurant, which is located at the Harrah's casino, claiming he was served beer tainted by a caustic agent used to clean beer tap lines. Harrah's was not a defendant in the suit.

The restaurant blamed a company it uses to clean its beer lines, Kramer Beverage Co., of Hammonton, New Jersey, which denied being at the restaurant when the Nov. 6, 2012, incident took place.

The defendants each must pay half the award.

Washart said took a gulp of the beer he had been served, and immediately felt burning pain.

He ran to the bathroom, where he experienced the first of six rounds of projectile vomiting. He tried to drink water from the faucet, but was unable to, due to the pain in his mouth and throat.

A short time later, he began vomiting blood and went to a hospital; a doctor said he had never seen a patient survive with such severe burns to the esophagus and stomach.

D'Amato faulted Kramer Beverage, noting that it doesn't follow industry recommendations to use pH testing strips that cost 15 cents apiece to check beer after lines have been cleaned. But he also said the restaurant violated New Jersey's Adulterated Food Act by serving Washart a tainted brew.

Washart was hospitalized for six days.

Judge sets date for Cosby retrial on sexual assault charges

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A judge has scheduled a new date for Bill Cosby's retrial on charges he drugged and molested a woman more than a decade ago.

Judge Steven O'Neill on Friday ordered the retrial to begin on April 2. He says jury selection can get underway before then.

The retrial was initially set for November, but last month O'Neill granted a request by Cosby's new lawyers to delay it so they could get up to speed on the case.

The 80-year-old comedian's first trial in June ended in a hung jury.

"The Cosby Show" star is charged with knocking out accuser Andrea Constand with pills and sexually assaulting her at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

He has said the sexual encounter with the former Temple University worker was consensual.

Man to trial on charges he sent Hannibal Lecter pic to judge

MONESSEN, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man has been ordered to stand trial on charges he threatened a judge by sending her a letter including a picture of movie cannibal Hannibal Lecter.

The Tribune-Review says 38-year-old Gregg Tchirkow claimed at Thursday's hearing that picture was a "cry for help" and a way to tell the court he needed psychiatric help when transitioning from prison to freedom. Lecter is the criminally insane psychiatrist in the film "The Silence of the Lambs."

Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-Defazio sent Tchirkow to prison in 2015 for growing marijuana in his home. Prosecutors contend the letter was sent in retaliation and to terrorize the judge.

Tchirkow promised to fight the charges at trial, saying he knew he was "doomed from the beginning" because a judge is the alleged victim.

Professor files discrimination suit against Christian school

WENHAM, Mass. (AP) - A professor at a Christian college in Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit alleging she was denied a promotion for speaking out against the school's LGBTQ policies.

The Salem News reports that Gordon College associate professor Margaret DeWeese-Boyd filed a discrimination complaint in Essex Superior Court on Wednesday. DeWeese-Boyd is seeking damages and an injunction ordering the college to end discrimination and retaliation.

She alleges college President Michael Lindsay and Provost Janel Curry discriminated against her because she opposed the school's policy against "homosexual practice." DeWeese-Boyd also says she has faced harsher penalties compared to male colleagues who have vocally opposed the school.

A Gordon spokesman said DeWeese-Boyd's accusations are "baseless".

Another Gordon professor agreed to settle with the college and resigned after filing a civil rights suit last year.

Published: Mon, Sep 18, 2017