Family receives damages after Wedding and Honeymoon from Hell

Holiday food poisoning


A Plymouth bride whose dream wedding and honeymoon in the Dominican Republic were wrecked by a severe food poisoning outbreak has won a court case for a five figure sum for damages against First Choice Holidays.

Sheena Hallgarth from Plymouth had booked an all-inclusive holiday for herself, her fiancé and 13 other members of her family staying at the Club Viva Dominicus Palace Resort in the Dominican Republic in May 2002.

One by one, members of her wedding party began to fall ill with gastric symptoms and even Sheena fell ill before her wedding day.

After four years the case went to trial at Birmingham County Court and lasted for three days the family were then finally awarded damages for the illness they suffered and the ruined holiday of a lifetime. Birmingham County Court took into account not only the fact that Mrs Hallgarth's wedding and honeymoon had been ruined, but also that she is likely to suffer permanent side effects as a result of contracting the illness four years ago.

Sheena Hallgarth commented: "My family and I had spent months planning and preparing everything, but what was supposed to be a dream wedding and holiday of a lifetime turned into the most horrible nightmare."

Illness abroad

"On the day of my wedding myself and my family felt ill and could not enjoy the day and all we wanted to do was get back to our hotel room.

"In addition to everybody being ill, the ceremony took place on an area of the beach which had not been cornered off and tourists were hovering around watching the wedding and even using the seats which were placed for my family to watch me getting married."

Sheena added, "All I think about when I look back at our wedding is that it was a complete disaster from beginning to end. I have no happy memories of my wedding and I only wish that I had chosen to get married somewhere else and my family and myself would not have suffered the illness."

Illness abroad specialists

Suki Chhokar, a Partner from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who specialises in legal cases involving overseas accidents and illness, said: "The majority of the family were taken ill complained of vomiting, diarrhoea and severe stomach cramps and although many victims are now fully recovered, a number of our clients, were so badly affected that they are still continuing to suffer from symptoms. It is appalling to think that what should have been such a memorable day was ruined by the hotels negligence to ensure that sufficient hygiene standards were in place."

Do you have a claim? If you or someone you know has been affected by holiday illness, our solicitors may be able to help. Visit our accidents and illness abroad section.