McCarley v. West Quality Food Service

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtHOLDER; ANDERSON
Citation960 S.W.2d 585
PartiesProd.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 15,139 Marvin McCARLEY and Ellyse McCarley, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. WEST QUALITY FOOD SERVICE d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Defendant/Appellee.
Decision Date05 January 1998

Page 585

960 S.W.2d 585
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 15,139
Marvin McCARLEY and Ellyse McCarley, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
WEST QUALITY FOOD SERVICE d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken,
Defendant/Appellee.
Supreme Court of Tennessee,
at Jackson.
Jan. 5, 1998.

Clinton V. Butler, Jr., Dale Conder, Jr., Rainey, Kizer, Butler, Reviere & Bell, Jackson, for Defendant/Appellee.

T. Verner Smith, Jackson, for Plaintiffs/Appellants.

OPINION

HOLDER, Justice.

The plaintiffs, Marvin and Ellyse McCarley, appeal the summary dismissal of their complaint alleging that Mr. McCarley received food poisoning after ingesting food improperly prepared by the defendant, Kentucky Fried Chicken. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed and held that the plaintiffs' proof was insufficient to establish the element of causation. We granted appeal to address: (1) the Court of Appeals' analysis in summary judgment dispositions; and (2) the quantum and type of proof plaintiffs must proffer to survive summary dismissal in negligent food poisoning cases. Upon review, we reverse and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. 1

Page 587

BACKGROUND

The McCarleys filed a complaint against West Quality Food Service, Inc. d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken ("KFC"). The complaint alleged that Mr. McCarley had contracted food poisoning after consuming fried chicken purchased at KFC. Mrs. McCarley included a claim for loss of consortium.

KFC filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of summary judgment, KFC alleged that: (1) Mr. McCarley had consumed bacon prior to his consumption of the Kentucky Fried Chicken; (2) Mr. McCarley's food poisoning was consistent with having consumed improperly prepared meat or poultry; and (3) neither the bacon nor the chicken had been tested for the presence of the bacteria precipitating Mr. McCarley's maladies. KFC argued that absent a test of both food sources, Mr. McCarley "cannot carry his burden of proof to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the chicken caused the food poisoning."

The record consists of the deposition testimony of Mr. McCarley, Mrs. McCarley, and Dr. Mark Young. Dr. Young was Mr. McCarley's treating physician.

Mrs. McCarley purchased a family pack from a KFC restaurant located in Boliver, Tennessee, on August 3. The family pack was served as the McCarley family dinner that evening. Mrs. McCarley stated that she took a leg from the family pack. She, however, felt that the leg "didn't look too hot." She then opted for a wing. As she consumed the wing, she noticed that the chicken "smelled kind of funny" and "didn't taste right."

Mr. McCarley stated that on the morning of August 3, his breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs, and rice. He did not have lunch that day. For dinner, he consumed approximately three pieces of chicken from the KFC family pack. He stated that around six o'clock the following morning he awoke with severe abdominal pains. He also had profuse diarrhea. He attempted to treat his diarrhea with an over-the-counter medication throughout the day on August 4. His symptoms continued and he was subsequently hospitalized on August 5.

Dr. Young's testimony indicated that the appellant presented the following symptoms: abdominal pain, a fever of 103 degrees, chills, generalized aches, and profuse diarrhea. Dr. Young performed blood cultures which tested positive for campylobacter. 2 He then stated that Mr. McCarley's symptoms were consistent with having ingested improperly cooked poultry or other meat products contaminated by campylobacter. Dr. Young further stated that chicken was at the top of the list.

The trial court granted KFC's motion for summary judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal and held that the McCarleys could not establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the chicken caused Mr. McCarley's illness. For the reasons stated below, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

ANALYSIS

The McCarleys assign error in the trial court's summary dismissal of their complaint. They allege that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the chicken caused Mr. McCarley's food poisoning. They argue that the appellate court's decision creates an insurmountable burden on victims of food poisoning and that victims cannot prevail in food poisoning cases unless they retain: (1) a specimen of the suspect food; and (2) specimens of all other foods consumed within close proximity to the manifestation of symptoms.

Initially, we find that the proper standard and burden shifting analysis applicable to summary judgment dispositions has not been applied. The...

To continue reading

Request your trial
526 practice notes
  • Blackmon v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., No. W2013-01605-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 16 d5 Maio d5 2014
    ...of specific facts establishing that genuine issues of material fact exist. Id. at 84 (citing McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998); Byrd, 847 S.W.2d at 215). The resolution of a motion for summary judgment is a matter of law, which we review de novo with no p......
  • Rye v. Women's Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 26 d1 Outubro d1 2015
    ...(Cottrell, J., concurring); Gossiping about Summary Judgment, 69 Tenn. L.Rev. at 220 (stating that McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998)"made real what was only incipient in Byrd : Tennessee's break with federal summary judgment jurisprudence"); Bye, Bye Byrd......
  • Pendleton v Mills, 00-03097
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 18 d2 Setembro d2 2001
    ...an affidavit in accordance with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.07 requesting additional time for discovery. McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998); Byrd v. Hall, 847 S.W.2d at 215 n. 6. A non-moving party who fails to carry its burden faces summary dismissal of the chall......
  • Doe 1 v. Roman Catholic Diocese, No. M2001-01780-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 18 d2 Janeiro d2 2005
    ...element of the nonmoving party's claim or by conclusively establishing an affirmative defense. See McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn.1998); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 331, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (Brennan, J., dissenting). A m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
526 cases
  • Blackmon v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., No. W2013-01605-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 16 d5 Maio d5 2014
    ...of specific facts establishing that genuine issues of material fact exist. Id. at 84 (citing McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998); Byrd, 847 S.W.2d at 215). The resolution of a motion for summary judgment is a matter of law, which we review de novo with no p......
  • Rye v. Women's Care Ctr. of Memphis, MPLLC
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 26 d1 Outubro d1 2015
    ...(Cottrell, J., concurring); Gossiping about Summary Judgment, 69 Tenn. L.Rev. at 220 (stating that McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998)"made real what was only incipient in Byrd : Tennessee's break with federal summary judgment jurisprudence"); Bye, Bye Byrd......
  • Pendleton v Mills, 00-03097
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 18 d2 Setembro d2 2001
    ...an affidavit in accordance with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.07 requesting additional time for discovery. McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn. 1998); Byrd v. Hall, 847 S.W.2d at 215 n. 6. A non-moving party who fails to carry its burden faces summary dismissal of the chall......
  • Doe 1 v. Roman Catholic Diocese, No. M2001-01780-SC-R11-CV.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 18 d2 Janeiro d2 2005
    ...element of the nonmoving party's claim or by conclusively establishing an affirmative defense. See McCarley v. West Quality Food Serv., 960 S.W.2d 585, 588 (Tenn.1998); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 331, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (Brennan, J., dissenting). A m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT