Barback claims exploding Corona bottle left him partially blind, lawsuit says

A barback at a trendy Manhattan watering hole was left permanently blind in one eye when a beer bottle exploded as he placed it in an ice bucket for customers, he claims in a new lawsuit.

Gonzalo Luis-Morales, 31, was working at the Frying Pan on Pier 66 in July 2017 when “the bottle of Corona Extra spontaneously exploded, projecting a piece of glass into Luis-Morales’ left eye, causing serious injury, loss of vision, pain, suffering, and other damages,” according to court papers.

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Luis-Morales — whose job was to keep the bar’s ice buckets stocked with beer — is now blind in that eye and has been out of work since the incident, his suit says.

Luis-Morales told The Post, “I was making the buckets, and I put the first four beers in,’’ and then the next one exploded.

“That’s all I remember. I was in shock. I couldn’t move,’’ he said. “I was screaming at the bartender, asking her to move me out. There was so much pain.”

He said that at the hospital, he was given several morphine shots, “but somehow, my eye still hurt.”

July 11, 2018 - New York, New York, United States: Gonzalo Luis-Morales while in the hospital. The former bar back at the Frying Pan bar/restaurant, lost the use of his left eye after a Corona bottle exploded in his face while at work as he placed it in an ice bucket for customers, permanently rendering the eye useless. Luis-Morales is suing Corona brewer Constellation Brands Inc., bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. and distributor Manhattan Beer for negligence. (Matthew McDermott/Polaris) ///

Luis-Morales says his depth perception has suffered as a result of the exploding beer bottle, and claims be "can't even fill up a cup."  (Matthew McDermott/Polaris)

Luis-Morales, from Elmhurst, Queens, said he has lost his depth perception because of the damage to his eye.

“I can’t even fill up a cup,” he said, adding that he has a hard time leaving home by himself because he frequently falls, especially at night.

“It’s horrible. I cannot go out by myself. I need someone to walk on my bad side,” he said.

“I get headaches almost every night. I get dizzy in the sun. I cannot look into bright light.”

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Luis-Morales said he received nine stitches and underwent two eye surgeries to deal with the trauma. He said he still needs to get one more operation to replace his eye lens, in hopes of restoring vision in the eye to 20 or 30 percent.

He added that he was so severely emotionally traumatized by the incident that, even now, “glass bottles make me nervous.

“I feel at any time it will explode. I just stay away from them,” Luis-Morales said.

According to his lawyer, John Danzi, “Corona skimps on the production process, and it lacks quality controls.

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“When something goes wrong with the brewing or bottling process, you can end up with a grenade that’s waiting to explode,” the lawyer said.

At least two other employees at the bar had sustained minor injuries from exploding Corona bottles before the incident involving Luis-Morales, Danzi said.

Shortly after Luis-Morales was hurt, the Frying Pan stopped carrying the Mexican beer altogether and switched to Heineken.

Luis-Morales is suing Corona brewer Constellation Brands Inc., bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois Inc. and distributor Manhattan Beer for negligence.

The three companies did not return requests for comment.

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A 2-year-old Long Island boy was partially blinded after a Corona bottle exploded during a Fourth of July party, and his family sued for $46 million in 2008.

The outcome of that case was unclear.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.