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Jury rejects death by shrimp claim

UPI News Service, 02/10/2006 

A New York jury has ruled for the Benihana restaurant chain, rejecting a claim that a Long Island man died as a result of a shrimp thrown at him by a chef.

Jerry Colaitis, a furrier who lived in Old Brookville, died at the age of 47 after being admitted to a hospital with a high fever months after the shrimp incident. In the lawsuit, his widow claimed that he sustained a neck injury while dodging the shrimp that required surgery, followed by another operation because of complications that eventually caused the infection and death, the New York Law Journal reported.

A lawyer for the restaurant presented evidence that Colaitis had suffered from high fevers of unknown origin for several years.

Benihana's trademark is tableside Japanese-style cooking done in a theatrical style. At the time the Colaitis family went to the Benihana in Munsey Park for a birthday celebration, chefs had taken to tossing shrimp at patrons in imitation of a Jackie Chan movie. The shrimp tossing is no longer allowed, although executives say there have been no cases of proved injury from it.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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