Death Blamed on Bush's Chicken Strips

AUSTIN (CN) - Campylobacter bacteria in chicken strips from a Bush's Chicken outlet in Killeen, Texas killed a man after weeks of pain, his widow claims in court.
     Angela Scurry sued 38th Street Chicken LLC dba Bush's Chicken and the franchisor, Hammock Partners LLC, in Travis County Court.
     Scurry and her late husband Morris bought chicken strips at Bush's driver-through window on Nov. 27, 2012, she says in the lawsuit. Morris ate some immediately and the rest later that night.
     At 3 a.m. on Nov. 28, he awakened her with the sound of his vomiting and diarrhea, which continued for three hours.
     Later that day, Morris "collapsed inside the home," and she found him "on the floor writhing in pain."
     He was hospitalized in intense pain and "diagnosed with an infection caused by the Campylobacter bacteria," his widow says. "During his hospital stay, decedent suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the infection and was on the verge of dying, but was resuscitated."
     Morris was released from the hospital on Dec. 7, then readmitted twice, on Dec. 11 and 18, and treated for the same symptoms and same diagnosis, and released.
     "On December 12, 2012, decedent collapsed again at home from the pain of the infection and was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital," the widow says. "Decedent's Campylobacterosis illness and subsequent death was a result of the infection in his body of the Campylobacterosis bacteria."
     Angela Scurry claims that Bell County Health District inspection records show the defendant Bush's outlet has a record of improper cooking temperatures, cross-contamination and other violations that could cause bacteria growth.
     "An infection by the Campylobacter bacteria is caused by eating raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by raw or undercooked poultry meat," the complaint states.
     The defendants did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
     Founded in Waco in 1996, the fried chicken chain has a cultlike following in Texas, particularly among alumni of Baylor University.
     Bush's has more than 50 outlets in central, south and west Texas, according to its website.
     Angela Scurry seeks actual and punitive damages for wrongful death, negligence, breach of implied warranty and strict liability. She is represented by Brett Nelson with Christman Kelley in Highland Village.