British Airways pays out £15,000 after marketing boss’s five-star romantic Caribbean break turned into five days of vomiting and diarrhoea after she ate undercooked chicken
- Jessica Librati, 30, from London, ate the ‘red in the middle’ meat at a buffet
- She contracted violent gastroenteritis and was sick throughout her holiday
- It should have been a romantic five-star holiday in the Dominican Republic
- She sued BA and they denied responsibility but have now paid £4,000 in damages and £11,000 in costs
Jessica Librati’s five-star all-inclusive Caribbean break in the Dominican Republic was ruined
Jessica Librati’s five-star all-inclusive Caribbean package break in the Dominican Republic was ruined when she was poisoned by eating undercooked chicken in a top hotel.
On the third day of her 2017 trip, she was laid out by violent gastroenteritis after eating buffet chicken which she noticed was ‘very red’ in the middle when she had already eaten half of it.
She had to be ferried in a hotel car to see a local doctor and was left sick in her hotel room for the rest of her holiday.
Ms Librati, 30, sued British Airways Plc, through which she had booked her stay at the island’s five-star Occidental Punta Cana Hotel, but the company denied liability.
But BA have now agreed to pay out over £4,000 in damages and £11,000 in legal costs after being found to be responsible by Judge Alexander Hill-Smith at Central London County Court.
The court heard that Ms Librati, a digital marketing head for pharmaceutical giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, flew to the Dominican Republic for a week of romance, sea and sunshine with her fiance in August 2017.
But she became ‘seriously ill’ on August 29 – three days into her stay at the luxury hotel, which has three swimming pools and adjoins an idyllic stretch of beach.
She insisted that she ate all her food at the hotel, so there was no chance of her having consumed contaminated food elsewhere.
Jessica Librati on holiday with her partner. the pair were hoping for a romantic getaway
Picture shows the five-star Occidental Punta Cana Hotel in the Dominican Republic
Ms Librati’s barrister, Sam Stevens, told the judge: ‘She felt that food was prepared which was under-cooked or not served hot.
‘On her first full day she had eaten a significant amount of chicken only to realise it was very red and difficult to cut into when she got to the middle.
‘There are other issues raised about under-cooked crepes and pasta.’
Ms Librati told the court from the witness box: ‘It was Dominican five-star so you don’t have the same expectation as if you were going to the Ritz in London, but it was still a five-star holiday, so it was disappointing.
‘The chicken appeared pink and undercooked. I’m not the sort of person to make a big fuss, I just got something else. I wasn’t there to inspect the hotel.’
BA lawyers were ‘adamant that food standards were high’ throughout the 11 restaurants at the hotel, the court heard, and claimed no other guests complained of belly trouble.
But after a short court hearing, Judge Hill-Smith ruled in favour of Miss Librati, holding BA liable for her illness.
Hthe judge found Miss Librati a ‘credible witness’ and accepted expert evidence about food from the Occidental, pictured, being the likely source of her sickness
He found Miss Librati a ‘credible witness’ and accepted expert evidence about food from the Occidental being the likely source of her sickness.
‘She had diarrhoea and vomiting and her illness continued for the remainder of the holiday,’ he said.
‘The holiday was provided by [British Airways] and there’s no dispute that it was a term of the contract that the food had to be of satisfactory quality.
‘I find on the balance of probabilities that it was infected food which caused the illness, and therefore find for Miss Librati,’ the judge ruled, although adding that nobody would ever know for sure the precise cause of her sickness.
Having been found liable, BA agreed to pay £4,250 in damages to Ms Librati and were ordered to pay £11, 000 legal costs on top by the judge.