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L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

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L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by annemarie on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 17:13

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4730022/LA-man-sues-George-Clooney-Rande-Gerber-tequila-co.html

[size=34]EXCLUSIVE: Financial analyst, 35, sues George Clooney, Rande Gerber, their former tequila company and the Beverly Hilton claiming a bartender at the swanky hotel gave him a liquid nitrogen-laced shot that made him 'collapse in agony'[/size]

  • Jeremy Cox, 35, spoke of his ordeal at the Beverly Hilton in 2015 after he downed a shot of liquid nitrogen-laced Casamigos Tequila

  • Cox and his wife Jessica were at the hotel's 60th-anniversary party when they asked the bartender, a Casamigos 'executive,'  for the smoking concoction

  • Speaking to DailyMail.com Cox said the drink 'instantaneously felt like frozen fire' and led him to collapse 

  • The father of two hit his head on the concrete floor of the hotel patio before he passed out unconscious

  • He is now suing George Clooney, Rande Gerber, their former tequila brand, the Beverly Hilton and others for damages of up to $20 million.

  • Jessica Cox was not injured because she hesitated and only took a small sip 

  • Two years later, Cox says he is still in pain and needs 


By RYAN PARRY WEST COAST CORRESPONDENT FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and NEIL BLINCOW FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 11:44 EDT, 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03 EDT, 26 July 2017

    

A Los Angeles man claims his life turned into a 'living hell' after he ordered a trendy liquid nitrogen-laced tequila at a high-end Beverly Hills hotel from a brand then owned by Hollywood star George Clooney and his best friend Rande Gerber.
And now 35-year-old Jeremy Cox, who collapsed in agony at the luxury four-star Beverly Hilton Hotel after downing the smoking cocktail that his attorney calls 'poison', is suing Clooney, Gerber, Hilton hotels,  Casamigos Tequila, events supplier Southern Wines and Spirits and others for up to $20 million for negligence and battery.
'I could have died,' Cox told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.. 'The pain was excruciating… and my insides felt like they were exploding.'
According to the lawsuit, 'When Casamigos introduced a lethal substance [liquid nitrogen] into a tequila drink and failed to warn the consumer who then injected the substance and immediately suffered grievous bodily harm, it acquired liability for intentional tort/failure to warn.'
'It is George Clooney and Rande Gerber whose signatures appear on the label of each bottle,' the documents state.' 
DailyMail.com has reached out to Clooney, Gerber, Casamigos, the Beverly Hilton and Southern Wines and Spirits for comment but have yet to receive any response.


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Fateful night: Jeremy Cox, 35, told DailyMail.com about the ordeal he and his wife Jessica, 42, see experienced after they claim they were served potentially lethal drinks at the Beverly Hilton in 2015


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Cox, who collapsed in agony at the luxury four-star Beverly Hilton Hotel after downing the smoking cocktail that his attorney calls 'poison', is suing George Clooney and Rande Gerber as well as their former tequila company and the Beverly Hilton
Cox relived what happened on August 21, 2015 when what should have been a romantic night out with his wife of six years, Jessica, 42, turned into a terrifying nightmare.
The couple - who live in Los Angeles with their two sons, Kingston, five, and Zen, three - were thrilled when their friend, DJ Michelle Pesce, invited them to a glittering party to mark the 60th anniversary of the Beverly Hilton, where the Golden Globes Awards are held every year.
'Because Zen was still very young and we hadn't really been out together since he was born, this was a big deal for us. We were both very excited,' said Jeremy, who wore a smart suit while Jessica wore an elegant blue dress for the special occasion.
They wandered around the party - set on the concrete patio around the Beverly Hilton's famed swimming pool - sampling the lavish, 60-foot-long spread of food and sipping cocktails, until Jessica spotted a woman at one of the bars, with smoke coming from her mouth after she drank a cocktail.


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Killer cocktail? The couple were enticed by a smoking drink they saw a guest drinking at the party (Stock photo)
'When I saw her blow out this puff of smoke I thought: 'That looks cool.' I've seen it on reality shows on TV,' said Jessica. 
The couple went to the bar and asked the bartender to try one of the drink samples on the bar.
'She said to me, 'Don't take one of those, I'll make you a special drink. Do you like tequila?''

'Of course we said yes,' added Jeremy, who's a financial analyst with a Los Angeles medical group.
'We were impressed. We thought we were getting the VIP treatment - we had no idea that what she was going to make for us would turn out to be dangerous.'
Jessica watched the bartender make each of their 'special' cocktails using Casamigos tequila from the company founded in 2013 by Clooney and Hollywood nightclub and restaurant mogul, Gerber, who is married to supermodel Cindy Crawford.
'She took what looked like an ice chip - which the bartender said was frozen tequila - and put it into a copper shot glass,' remembered Jessica who was blissfully unaware of the damage the concoction being mixed for her and her husband could do.
'Then she took a bottle of tequila and poured some into each glass. And, after that, she took a pitcher of another liquid which was smoking and poured some into each shot glass.
'We didn't know what it was it at the time but that was liquid nitrogen,' said Jeremy.


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Speaking out: Cox said the drink felt like 'frozen fire' that sent an excruciating burning sensation down his throat to his stomach. He says his injuries required surgery, two endoscopies, a colonoscopy, and other invasive medical procedures and tests


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Party-turned-nightmare: Cox said he saw the bartender mix frozen tequila and a pitcher of the smoking liquid before serving them -  The couple were celebrating the Beverly Hilton's 60th anniversary at a party on hotel patio in August 2015 (pictured)
'All she said to us as she handed us the drinks was, 'You have to drink these right away.' She said that two or three times. 
'Hey, we were at the Beverly Hilton. We weren't about to question the integrity of a bartender there.'
While Jessica hesitated before taking a small sip of her smoking drink, Jeremy downed his in one gulp.
He recalled: 'Instantaneously I had this sensation of terrible pain from the back of my throat all the way down to my stomach. It felt like frozen fire.
'It was agonizing. I felt cold like I've never felt before inside my body - the cold was so intense that it felt like burning. And there was this massive pressure building up in my chest. The pain was excruciating - my insides felt like they were going to explode.'
Jessica still shudders when she remembers the look of agonized terror she says she saw on Jeremy's face.


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Clooney, with his wife Amal Alamuddin, Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford host the official launch of Casamigos Tequila in Ibiza in  2015 in Ibiza, Spain


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Clooney founded Casamigos with Hollywood nightclub and restaurant mogul, Rande Gerber but sold the company earlier this year. Their signatures are the bottles


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Clooney and Gerber have been sued along with Hilton hotels, Casamigos Tequila and other defendents
'He looked at me and I knew immediately that there was something terribly wrong,' Jessica told DailyMail.com. 'He looked very pale and he was gasping.
'I turned away to look for an exit where we could get him to a bathroom where he could throw up, but when I looked around again just a second later, he was collapsing.'
Jeremy recalled: 'The combination of the awful pain, the cold and the pressure I felt inside knocked me out. I couldn't stand up any more. I was unconscious on my feet.'
Then, Jessica said, he fell straight over backwards: 'I remember the horrible, dull thud as the back of his head hit the concrete floor.

'It was the loudest, most terrible sound I have ever heard.

LIQUID NITROGEN: GROWING ALARM ABOUT THIS 'LETHAL COCKTAIL'


There is growing concern about the increasing use of liquid nitrogen in cocktails and the ignorance of the public about just how dangerous the practice can be.
Drinking liquid nitrogen, which is as cold as -320.44°F to -346°F, can cause severe internal cold burns and obliterate the stomach.
Basically, consuming too much of the substance can cause an internal frostbite that destroys stomach lining.
Liquid nitrogen is commonly used to freeze warts so they fall out, meaning it is used to kill tissue. The same is possible if ingested because the human body is not designed to cope with that degree of cold.
This happened to 18-year-old Gaby Scanlon in Lancaster in 2012. She drank two 'Nitro Jagermeisters' and was rushed to the hospital after telling her friends she was in excruciating pain.
She told Daily Mail: 'I'd been warned by the barman the drink might make me a bit gassy, so I didn't think too much of it, but then my stomach started to expand and I felt sick.
'Soon I was doubled up with pain. People were asking me if I was all right, but I couldn't say anything because my stomach hurt so much.'

Stock photo of a smoking cocktail with liquid nitrogen
Because the low temperature burned a hole in her stomach and destroyed her stomach lining, she had to have it completely removed.
Surgeons connected Scanlon's esophagus, the tube which takes food from the mouth to stomach, directly to her small bowel.
A 2014 article in the British Medical Journal headlined 'A lethal cocktail - co-written by James Scott Pollard of the Royal Lancaster Infirmary's department of surgery in U.K. - laments the lack oversight of the potentially hazardous concoctions.
'Recipes are available on the internet and such drinks are increasingly sold in some incensed premises,' he wrote. 'Use in this way requires no training and sales are unregulated.
'We report this case to raise awareness among the public and medical services of the potential dangers of using liquid nitrogen this way.
'We believe regulators must take action to end use of liquid nitrogen in this way and look at restricting its sale to only those properly trained in its use in order to prevent future incidents…'

'I thought he was dead. He was lying on the ground and I kneeled down next to him, tapping him, pleading with him, saying, 'Jeremy please don't die.''
'I tried to find a pulse but I couldn't.
'His eyes were open but they were frozen, not moving, just staring. He looked dead - not one part of his body was moving.
'There was no sign of life at all. I was panic-stricken. I have never been so scared in my life.'
After what 'felt like a lifetime,' said Jessica, 'His eyes started to flicker and he came around. He looked up at me and I could see from the expression on his face that he was in a lot of pain.'
Jeremy said the pain was unbearable: 'My whole body was seized up with pain. My chest was on fire. My head was killing me. My neck was killing me. My elbow was killing me.'
He remembers being dragged out of a back exit by security guards to a loading dock where on-call paramedics were waiting.
'They sneaked him out of the party because they didn't want anyone to see him in that condition,' claims Jeremy's lawyer, Aaron Filler.
'Hilton's attitude was that they didn't want anything to spoil their fancy party so let's get him out of here, pronto.' 
After Jeremy's collapse - which happened at around 9 p.m. - he was taken to a nearby emergency room where, he said, he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues and serious head trauma before being released at 4.30 a.m..
'Then I had to go through two endoscopy procedures which diagnosed that I had stomach trauma and ulcers, plus a bruised esophagus,' he added.
It was through legal discovery documents provided as by the defendants, said his lawyer, Aaron Filler, that Jeremy found out that Kristin Clark, the bartender who served him the fateful cocktail was a Los Angeles-based marketing executive with Casamigos Tequila.
'These Casamigos marketing executives are usually pretty women who are employed to promote the drink and are used to pouring Casamigos Tequila at lots of events,' claims Filler. 'The trouble was on this occasion, the bartender involved had no previous experience using liquid nitrogen.
'Casamigos had agreed to provide their own bartenders that night and it was their responsibility to employ bartenders who knew what they were doing when it came to using liquid nitrogen and to warn people of the dangers involved.'
Jeremy claims he couldn't work for weeks after his ordeal almost two years ago. 'I couldn't get out of bed - it was a nightmare,' he said. 'I was in constant pain in my chest, stomach and neck every minute of every day. The bruise I had on the back of my head was the size of a baseball. I had diarrhea for a year after that night.
'I couldn't eat any solid food because it was too painful.
'I was hungry all the time. After a couple of weeks I tried some mashed potatoes that Jessica made for me. I took one bite and it felt like I'd eaten broken glass. I could feel it burning the whole way down my esophagus into my stomach.
'So I had to go back to liquid like soup and yogurt. And even with those I had to take a special medication to help sooth my digestive system as I drank them.'
'I'm still in pain all the time. I've been in and out of doctors' offices. I've had surgery, two endoscopies, a colonoscopy, lots of invasive medical procedures and tests. Lots of medications - one of them made my hair fall out.
'And it's still ongoing. I'm still on medication. 'I'm dealing with peripheral nerve damage from the fall. Just yesterday I had to have an MRI and this is nearly two years after the event.'
Jeremy explains that before that night he was happy, healthy and active.
'Jessica and I loved traveling and outdoor activities,' he said. 'I was always playing with the kids.
'Now I can't do any of that because of the pain I am in every day. I can't lift up the boys or climb or play with them like I used to.
'They want to keep on playing with me like that but I can't do it because I'm not the man I was. It's heartbreaking because my family means everything in the world to me.
'Now I'm a broken, diminished man.'.


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Two years later: Cox (pictured with wife Jessica and sons Kingston, five, and Zen, three) says he is still in pain since the incident and is in and out of doctors' offices for treatment 
Jeremy and Jessica's original lawsuit called for damages for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring, supervision and retention, against the Beverly Hilton. 
After discovery, he later added Casamigos Tequila - which Clooney and Gerber sold last month to British beverage giant Deagio for up to $1billion - and the event's alcohol supplier, Southern Wines and Spirits.
Now Clooney and Gerber have been added to the amended lawsuit. 
'There's a lot of blame to go around,' Jeremy said. 'I blame the Hilton. I blame Casamigos. I blame Southern Wines. They should pay for what they did to me. Knowing what I know now, decisions were made by employees of several big companies and those decisions resulted in this happening.
'I went to the Hilton, to a party celebrating their 60th anniversary... I didn't expect my world to be turned upside down and my life to be turned into a nightmare.'
Jeremy's lawyer, Aaron Filler - who is also a neurosurgeon - maintains that expertise is required to serve drinks that contain liquid nitrogen.
'The bartender who served Jeremy his drink that night was an employee of Casamigos, who had never poured drinks with liquid nitrogen before, so she didn't know the danger involved,' Filler told DailyMail.com

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'Casamigos could have flown in a couple of expert bartenders who knew what they were doing, but instead they chose to save a few bucks and employ local Los Angeles bartenders with no experience of using liquid nitrogen.'
Filler claims emails sent between Casamigos, the Beverly Hilton and Southern Wines and Spirits before the party show that they all knew about the hazards of liquid nitrogen.
He said: 'Nobody warned Jeremy that if you drink liquid nitrogen, instead of waiting for it to evaporate in the smoky way that makes it so popular, it can cause severe burning and trauma to the gastrointestinal system.
'And then, on top of that, there is the brain and nerve injury he suffered as a result of falling and hitting his head on the concrete floor.'
While Cox's original lawsuit against Hilton demands $1 million in actual damages, Filler told DailyMail.com that he is in the process of filing a modified lawsuit against the partiesfor punitive damages of up to $10 million.
He said: 'I have no doubt we will prevail. After all, would George Clooney or one of his partners drink liquid nitrogen in front of a jury - or is that only for certain customers who don't know better?'

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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by Donnamarie on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 17:49

What an awful thing to happen. If the bartender making the drink had not been a Casamigos employee I guess this wouldn't be an issue for the company, even if the drink was made with their tequila. But it does seems that Casamigos is liable on some level along with the Hotel.

I was at a Mexican restaurant recently and I saw a diner exhaling smoke after sipping a drink through a straw and wondered what the heck she was drinking. It was a specialty cocktail that I guess was made with liquid nitrogen. It's a gimmick and IMO a really stupid one.
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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by LizzyNY on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 18:17

At first I was wondering why George was being dragged into this. The bartender could have used any brand of tequila - or any other kind of liquor, for that matter. Not George's fault.

Then I read that the bartender was supplied by Casamigos. Case closed. Having employees serve potentially physically damaging , possibly lethal, drinks is incredibly irresponsible. The possibility to cause harm should be enough of a reason not to do this - no matter how "cool" it is or how many stupid people want to try it. They should know better. I guess now they will.
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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by Doug Ross on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 20:10

I haven't read all the article, so I'm not so sure of what I'm saying, but if the client ordered a liquid nitrogen-laced tequila, knowing that it was made with liquid nitrogen, and then felt sick, isn't a little bit his fault, too?

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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by Donnamarie on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 20:29

I thought about that too Doug Ross. I would guess that using liquid nitrogen in cocktails is allowed but it must be used in a responsible way. I would also think the bartender is responsible for ensuring appropriate use in their drinks. If bars and restaurants are going to use potentially harmful ingredients in their drinks/food then I think the onus is on them to ensure customer safety. I wonder if there are government regulations out there pertaining to the consumption of liquid nitrogen in public establishments. Isn't liquid nitrogen available for sale in the general marketplace? Honestly I'm really not sure what the legal ramifications are. I've never heard of something like this happening.
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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by LizzyNY on Wed 26 Jul 2017, 22:15

According to the article the customer wasn't given instructions or warned in any way to be careful. The bartender should have at least told him to sip slowly, but she didn't - at least according to the man and his wife. IMO there's no reason for anyone to be serving drinks like this. The risks are way too great.
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Re: L.A man sues George, Rande and Tequila company

Post by Katiedot on Thu 27 Jul 2017, 04:39

Quick chemistry lesson (because, shockingly, the Daily Fail forgot to mention this): there's nothing wrong with nitrogen. It's an inert gas that humans don't react to (it makes up close to 80% of the air we breathe). The problem here is that nitrogen in its liquid state is incredibly cold, around -200c or -300f. Touching it, or swallowing it causes an instant and very deep freezing of human skin and tissues, as you'd expect.

We've often used liquid nitrogen with food and cocktails - but only as a decoration (the 'smoke' is really pretty).  All of our waiters know that you don't put your fingers anywhere near the 'ice' chip that's causing the smoke! If you work in the food industry, you know that this stuff is far too cold to ingest (it's the same stuff they use in some restaurants to make 'instant icecream' because it chills to such low temperatures).

We do serve smoking cocktails here, but we're using actual smoke, not liquid nitrogen!

As for the Casamigos responsibility, hmmmm.  I guess this is their fault for going for grandiose job titles, so Marketing Executive instead of Cocktail Waitress.  And for not ensuring people serving drinks were trained mixologists.
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