A lawsuit filed by a Beaver man who needed a liver transplant in 2003 after he fell ill in the hepatitis A outbreak at a former Beaver Valley Mall restaurant has been settled for $6.25 million.
A federal judge approved a $4.1 million trust to pay for the ongoing care of Richard Miller, 58. The rest of the money will go to Miller’s wife, Linda, and their three children, to his attorneys, or to pay for medical expenses Miller already incurred.
Miller received a liver transplant on Nov. 8, 2003, after he and his wife fell ill from eating at the now-closed Chi-Chi’s Mexican restaurant in the Center Township mall. Linda Miller recovered from her illness
The settlement was reached six weeks ago, but became public at a court hearing on Thursday at which U.S. District Judge Terry McVerry approved the trust, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday.
Miller was one of 660 people sickened by green onions he ate at the restaurant; five deaths have been attributed to the outbreak.
“The Millers are happy to put this chapter of their lives behind them,” said attorney William Marler of Seattle. “Although no amount of money will ever compensate Mr. Miller for the loss of his liver, the money in trust will be there to help the Millers move on with their lives.”
“Richard cannot hope for noticeable improvement in his health,” the trust agreement says, adding that Miller may suffer future problems and may even need another transplant.
Chi-Chi’s attorneys have said the bankrupt chain has paid more than $40 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the outbreak. Only a handful of suits remain unsettled; they are pending in Beaver County Court.