Case Caption: Charles v. Arcos Dorados USVI Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s RestaurantCase Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2016-0049Date: 09/27/2019Author: Swan, Ive Arlington Citation: 2019 VI 29Summary: Considering the Superior Court’s August 19, 2016 memorandum opinion and order entering summary judgment in favor of the defendant restaurant on the basis that plaintiff failed to identify potentially admissible evidence to support a jury finding that the fish fillet sandwich that the restaurant sold to her and which she partially consumed proximately caused her to become ill, the Superior Court’s judgment is affirmed. Proof of causation in a food poisoning case may be established by either medical expert evidence alone or by a combination of admissible lay evidence and medical evidence, based on reasonable inferences. While a layperson such as the plaintiff in this case is permitted to testify about her personal symptoms and experience after consuming food, proof of proximate cause as an element of liability is required for a breach of implied warranty of merchantability cause of action brought pursuant to 11A V.I.C. § 2-314 with respect to food that has been prepared and sold by a restaurant to a customer for consumption. Here, viewing the evidence presented in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the record indicates that her only proof was her lay opinion that the sandwich was the proximate cause of her illness.  Determining whether the sandwich that plaintiff partially consumed proximately caused her illness requires medical evidence, and, because only a qualified expert may testify to his or her opinion on the issue of proximate cause in this context in accordance with Virgin Islands Rules of Evidence 702, plaintiff’s lay opinion, standing alone, is insufficient. In addition, the Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it included exhibits from plaintiff’s medical record in deciding the motion for summary judgment, since they could be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence at trial as required by Rule 56(c)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and they suggested that some of plaintiff’s symptoms preceded her consumption of the sandwich, making them relevant within the intendment of Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Attachment: Open Document or Opinion