Hepatitis victim settles Chi-Chi's suit


PITTSBURGH - A lawsuit filed by a man who needed a liver transplant after he got hepatitis A from a Chi-Chi's restaurant has been settled for $6.25 million.

A federal judge approved a $4.1 million trust to pay for the ongoing care of Richard Miller, 58. The rest of the money will go to Miller's wife, Linda, and their three children, to his attorneys, or to pay for medical expenses Miller already incurred.

The settlement was reached six weeks ago, but became public at a court hearing on Thursday at which U.S. District Judge Terry McVerry approved the trust, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday.

Miller was one of 660 people sickened by green onions he ate at the restaurant in the Beaver Valley Mall in the fall of 2003; four people died in the outbreak. Miller ate at the restaurant Oct. 12, 2003 and had a liver transplant on November 8, 2003.

"The Millers are happy to have the litigation behind them," said attorney William Marler. "No amount of money ever makes losing your liver worth it, certainly."

"Richard cannot hope for noticeable improvement in his health," the trust agreement says, adding that Miller may suffer future problems and may even need another transplant.

Chi-Chi's attorneys have said the bankrupt chain has paid more than $40 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the outbreak.