Mallorca restaurant ordered to refund wedding banquet after 52 guests get food poisoning

The bride and groom also wanted the establishment to pay for their honeymoon cruise, but this was rejected by the court

The headquarters of the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid.
The headquarters of the Spanish Supreme Court in Madrid.

The wedding of Eufrasia and Obdulio began with an “I do” and ended in Spain’s Supreme Court. And not because of any rift between the couple. The cause of the legal battle was their wedding banquet at a restaurant named Es Molí des Comte in Mallorca, in Spain’s Balearic Islands, which left 52 guests with food poisoning. Five years after the couple became husband and wife, Spain’s top court has finally brought the matter to a close: two weeks ago it rejected the appeals brought by the restaurant, which is owned by the company Palcadar S.L.

This means the ruling made by the Provincial Court of Palma de Mallorca will be left unchanged. In 2019, this tribunal backed a sentence from a lower court, which ordered the establishment to give back the €8,500 the couple had paid in advance for the banquet, and not claim the €3,083.99 that was outstanding. What’s more, the lower court ordered the restaurant to pay the bride and groom €1,000 each in compensation for ruining their hopes of an ideal wedding and tarnishing their special day. The tribunal described the banquet as a “source of unease, but equally of sorrow for the harm caused to many of their dearest loved ones,” and pointed out that these events would affect how the couple would remember their wedding.

According to the Provincial Court’s decision, the battle goes back to September 17, 2016, when 138 people attended a dinner to celebrate the wedding of Eufrasia and Obdulio. Hours later, the first guests began to feel ill. According to the medical documentation provided to the court, between September 19 and 22, 52 guests needed medical attention for intestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

At this time, the newlyweds were on their honeymoon on a cruise in the Mediterranean. Once they returned, they filed a lawsuit against the restaurant. In their claim, the couple alleged that the news of the mass food poisoning negatively affected their honeymoon, which they began “without the proper spirit,” and demanded that the restaurant also cover the cost of the cruise. The Provincial Court rejected this claim on the grounds that the couple did not find out about the food poisoning until the second half of their trip, meaning the news could not have diminished their enthusiasm for beginning the honeymoon.

Judge Gibert Ferragut, however, sided with the couple with respect to the payment of the banquet. He ruled that it was “irrelevant” that the bride and groom did not themselves come down with food poisoning, and refused to downgrade the seriousness of what happened on the basis that only 37.59% of the guests were affected or that none of them had serious cases nor required hospitalization.

It is unacceptable for more than a third of the diners to get sick and require medical attention
Judge Gibert Ferragut

“It is unacceptable for more than a third of the diners to get sick and require medical attention, or for what was meant to be a memorable day to be recalled by friends and family as a bitter memory of food poisoning,” the judge said in the ruling. “With respect to allegations that the cases were mild, one has to say the following: a mild case of food poisoning is a serious breach, given that those who go to a restaurant should not have to suffer any food poisoning at all, not even mild or very mild.”

The judge recognized that the couple did not provide any food samples from the restaurant, but excused this fact given that they were on their honeymoon when they found out about what happened. The restaurant tried to defend itself by presenting food samples without any trace of contamination, but this had no effect. The court said that these were taken four days after the banquet and were not exhaustive. “It seems they were taken randomly if not capriciously: they did not correspond to all of the food served at the banquet, and instead there were foods that were not on the wedding menu,” the judge found, adding that the samples did not include ingredients most likely to cause food poisoning such as raw fish, eggs and milk products.

In the days following the wedding banquet, two alleged guests went on the ratings website TripAdvisor to criticize the restaurant. The title of one review was: “The worst place I have ever gone to by far.” Another said: “We were at a wedding on Saturday 17, the food was terrible, and what’s more all of us got food poisoning. I will never go back.”

More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS