September 04. 2018 8:45PM

Customer claiming coral sting cost him sensation in thumb sues Salem fish supply store

Union Leader Correspondent

BRENTWOOD — A Chester man who claims he was hospitalized after suffering a coral sting when he stuck his hand in a tank to pick up a live rock is now suing a Salem fish supply store.

Arthur Reynolds Jr. filed the suit last week against Jason Ryan and his business, Jay’s Aquatics.

According to the suit in Rockingham County Superior Court, Reynolds visited the store at 10 Lawrence Road on June 6 to buy some items for a new reef aquarium.

Reynolds was starting a new tank after his seahorse tank became infested and the fish were killed off, the suit said.

During his June 6 visit, the suit said Reynolds discussed the issue of the infestations and pests and starting a new reef tank with Ryan, the suit said.

Reynolds claims Ryan told him live rock would be his best option and that the pest-free rock was $11 per pound.

“Defendant then told plaintiff to pick the rock out of the tank and put them by the scale, then defendant would weigh the rock as defendant was busy … doing something else in the store,” the suit said.

Reynolds claimed he put his hand in the tank and picked out a few pieces of rock without a problem.

“While attempting to retrieve another piece, plaintiff immediately felt a sting on his hand. Plaintiff pulled his hand out of the tank immediately and went to the defendant and informed him he got stung. Defendant insisted plaintiff did not get stung, but rather he surmised that he must have cut his hand on a sharp piece of rock,” the suit said.

Reynolds claims he then showed Ryan the rock and was told that it must have come from someone else’s aquarium and that it didn’t belong in the tank.

According to the suit, Reynolds experienced pain, swelling and redness in his hand that became worse and prompted him to see his doctor the next day. He was diagnosed with an infection from a coral sting that worsened and was hospitalized on June 10, the suit said.

“As a result of the infection, plaintiff lost all feeling in his dominant thumb,” the suit said.

Ryan said he couldn’t comment on the case.

Among other things, the suit alleges Ryan failed to place warnings on the tanks to keep customers from putting their hands in them.

“Defendant knew or should have known touching live rock could cause injuries,” the suit said.

Reynolds is seeking a jury trial