CNY bride suing wedding reception caterer after dozens of guests became violently ill

Unusual Stories

A Central New York couple who is suing their wedding reception caterer after several guests became violently ill is speaking out to Good Morning America.

Melissa Conarton and Jesse Abbott hired Doug’s Holy Smoke BBQ for their July 2015 wedding reception at the Arrowhead Lodge in Oneida Shores Park. 

The suit alleges that around 100 guests became violently ill, vomiting and having diarrhea after eating food provided by the caterer.

People were fainting in the parking lot and many people couldn’t get to the bathroom in time.

“It was this beautiful day that just turned into this event that you would see in a horror movie. People were walking around not themselves– they couldn’t talk, they were incoherent. Some people saying things like ‘I just wanna die,'” Conarton told Good Morning America. 

Several ambulances were called and 22 people were hospitalized. 

They believe the culprit that caused the food poisoning was the mac and cheese.

In the suit alleges that the company knowingly or should have known it “failed to properly prepare, maintain and serve food.” 

Holy Smoke BBQ denies that they are to blame.

In their own suit, Holy Smoke BBQ alleges that “some or all of the damages were caused by third parties who brought food, beverages, ice and other items to the wedding.” 

“There was one source of food that was brought there, and people got sick. So they had to have gotten sick from something,” said Tom Cerio, the couple’s attorney.

Conarton estimates that her guests paid nearly $12,000 in medical bills and is hoping the suit will help with expenses.

She tells GMA that she doesn’t want her guests to go in debt from attending her wedding. 

The New York State Department of Health tested samples from ill individuals and the results were positive for staph, but there was insufficient information with which to identify the food that was the source of the illness, GMA says. 

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