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Bar patrons are looking for a good beer. And good bars are trying their best to give it to them. That's what McCormick and Schmick's, an Atlantic City bar, was trying to do by keeping its tap lines clean.
Good bars also try their best not to poison their guests. But that's also what McCormick and Schmick's did by failing to properly rinse the tap lines, leaving a corrosive and potentially deadly cleaner in there, and then serving it to a bar patron with a Sam Adams Winter Lager.
Oh, and that bar patron was a retired Ocean City police officer. It was not a good day for McCormick and Schmick's.
Richard Washart is now suing the bar after just one swig from the tainted beer caused him "unimaginable" pain. "It forced me to run to the bathroom and I immediately began to projectile vomit blood," he told Philly.com, "I will never forget, not just the incredible burning sensation from my mouth to my stomach, but also being told how I could have died from drinking that beer."
Washart was hospitalized for a week, and doctors believe he ingested a corrosive cleaning substance used to decontaminate beer dispensing equipment. The ex-cop claims the caustic liquid burned away almost a quarter of his stomach lining and that he remains in constant pain nearly two years later.
Washart filed an injury lawsuit against McCormick and Schmick's as well as Kramer Beverage, the beer distributor that bar managers told health inspectors visited the bar that day to clean the tap lines. Kramer's CEO denies any responsibility, saying, "He certainly suffered significant injuries. But I'm certainly not a doctor, I sell beer for a living. What I do know for sure is we weren't there that day."
McCormick and Schmick's issued a vehement denial of their own:
"McCormick & Schmick denies the baseless allegations made by Mr. D'Amato's law firm in an attempt to posture and gain media attention on a case that was filed on his client's behalf more than two years ago. During the entire course of this litigation, Mr. Washart and his attorneys have been unable to provide a shred of evidence proving that McCormick & Schmick did anything wrong. Moreover, no other person who drank tap beer on that day experienced any issues. We will not allow the Plaintiff's attorney to tarnish our good name over a frivolous lawsuit such as this, and remain very confident that we will prevail on the merits of this case."
Those merits will be put to a jury in the spring of 2016.
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