label of the defendant Hunt-Wesson, and distributed by the defendant A & P.
The more significant question however, is whether the plaintiff's condition of portal cirrhosis of the liver was causally related to the food poisoning. This problem presented the usual conflict of expert medical testimony.
Briefly, the plaintiff's treating physician concluded that the cirrhosis existed prior to the food poisoning attack, but was in a dormant, or latent state. He further asserted that it is a "proven autopsy fact" that such a condition could remain dormant or latent for the rest of a man's lifetime. However, he added that an infection, trauma or "insult" to the body could manifest or precipitate a cirrhotic condition. The ingestion of the deleterious tomato juice, concluded Doctor Ferri, acted as a triggering insult to the plaintiff's liver, resulting in the manifestation of the cirrhotic condition.
The position of the defendant's principal medical witness was, of course, to the contrary. Doctor W. J. Snape examined the plaintiff eleven months after the incident at issue. Doctor Snape was also afforded the benefit of Doctor Ferri's reports, as well as the records of the Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Essentially, Doctor Snape concluded that the cirrhotic condition was attributable to alcoholism. This was corroborated in part by the plaintiff's own statement given pursuant to the preparation of a medical history when he was admitted to the hospital (N.T. pp. 515-525). In addition, Doctor Snape's opinion was that the type of cirrhosis from which the plaintiff was suffering was clearly of a chronic rather than an acute nature.
As trier of fact, I accept Doctor Snape's conclusion; accordingly, I hold that there was no causal relation between the plaintiff's cirrhosis of the liver and his ingestion of contaminated tomato juice.
Since the plaintiff is nonetheless entitled to compensation for his injuries and losses sustained from the acute episode of food poisoning, essentially for medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering, it is hereby ordered that judgment be entered in favor of the plaintiff, and that damages be awarded the plaintiff against the named defendants, in the aggregate of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000).
In accordance with Rule 52(a), we enter the following:
FINDINGS OF FACT.
Plaintiff Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31.
REFUSED AS STATED:
Plaintiff Nos. 4, 17, 18, 27, 28, 34, 35.
Defendant No. 4.
Plaintiff Nos. 8, 9, 26, 32, 33.
Defendant Nos. 1, 2, 3.
Plaintiff's No. 4 is affirmed, as a conclusion of law.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW.
Plaintiff Nos. 1, 4, 7, 8 deleting the word "filth"; 9.
Plaintiff Nos. 6, 10, 11.
Defendant Nos. 1, 2, 3.
Plaintiff's Nos. 2, 3 and 5 are affirmed as Findings of Fact.
In any instance where there may be a lack of clarity in the approved requests, the language of the Opinion will govern.
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