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Baseball spectators settle suit over oven cleaner in fries

July 17, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Two men who claim they suffered permanent injury after eating french fries saturated in oven cleaner at a Hagerstown Suns game settled out of court with Big Game Maryland LLC Monday morning after a jury had been impaneled to hear their case.

The terms of the settlement were confidential.

Stephen Parrotte and his wife, Regina Parrotte, filed a lawsuit in March 2006 in Washington County Circuit Court.

The couple claimed Stephen Parrotte suffered "serious, painful and permanent injuries to his mouth, throat and digestive tract" after he ate oven-cleaner-topped fries during a home game in 2003.

The suit asked for a judgment of $950,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 for the damage the incident caused their marriage.

Brian L. Marquiss also filed a lawsuit in March 2006. Marquiss claimed he became violently ill after eating fries that had been drenched in caustic lye oven cleaner. He suffered permanent injury to his digestive tract and vocal chords, and has an increased risk of cancer, Marquiss claimed.

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Marquiss asked for $1.5 million in economic damages and $767,000 in noneconomic damages.

The suits were filed separately but were eventually merged.

According to the suits, Parrotte and Marquiss both ordered fries with vinegar from a concession stand during an April 24, 2003, game.

The lawsuit claims that the concession stand did not stock vinegar and that an employee poured oven cleaner, which was in an unlabeled plastic jug in the food preparation area, over the food Parrotte and his friend ordered.

The two suits were consolidated into one trial because they arose out of the same event and one trial would be more efficient, Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III said Monday.

Attorneys representing the Parrottes and Big Game Maryland LLC announced Monday morning after a brief recess that both sides reached a settlement, but its terms were confidential.

According to a court document filed July 11, Parrotte agreed to a $20,000 deal, but the settlement appeared to fall apart because Marquiss had not agreed to it. Parrotte's attorney, Dennis F. O'Brien, filed a motion asking the court to enforce the settlement.

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