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Suit: Waiter Poured Liquid Nitrogen in Woman's Drink

Stacey Wagers says after friend admired 'cool smoke' from nearby table, her water got tainted
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2019 10:15 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Jonathan Izumi)

(Newser) – A Florida woman who celebrated her birthday at an upscale hotel restaurant is now suing after she says a waiter poured liquid nitrogen into her drink, severely and permanently injuring her. WFTS has posted the lawsuit, which alleges that during the Nov. 11, 2018, celebratory dinner Stacey Wagers was enjoying with a friend at the Maritana Grille in St. Pete Beach's Don CeSar hotel, the women noticed their waiter pouring something onto a dessert at a nearby table that made the dish "smoke." When Wagers' friend commented on how "cool" that looked, the waiter is said to have poured the substance—what Wagers now says was liquid nitrogen—into their water glasses, which both women drank from. "Of course I didn't think it was dangerous at all," Wagers tells NBC News. "He had just poured it on a dessert."

What happened next, the 45-year-old says: "There was an explosion in my chest. ... I felt like I was dying." Wagers was taken by ambulance to the ICU, where she underwent surgery to take out her gallbladder and parts of her stomach burned by the extremely cold chemical. She has lost around 25 pounds since the incident and resulting surgery, her attorney, Adam Brum, says; he adds her friend wasn't hurt. The FDA warns that both liquid nitrogen and dry ice "can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested." The suit notes Wagers seeks more than $15,000 in damages, per the Tampa Bay Times. "The Don CeSar is a world-famous hotel, where guests expect to have a safe and enjoyable experience, but Stacey Wagers' birthday dinner there turned into a nightmare," Brum says. The hotel put out a statement saying it can't comment on pending litigation. (Read more lawsuit stories.)

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