Michigan resident Lindsey Bresnahan is suing Jimmy John’s after allegedly suffering a serious allergic reaction to a sandwich containing Dijon mustard. Bresnahan filed suit in federal court in Grand Rapids last month.
The complaint alleges that Bresnahan has been unable to speak above a whisper since the incident occurred. The offending sandwich was delivered to her job at a financial loan office from a Comstock Park franchise this summer. She ordered a “Bill Club unwich,” which uses lettuce in lieu of bread and contains roast beef, provolone cheese, smoked ham, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Bresnaham claims she specifically asked Jimmy John’s to omit the mayonnaise and Dijon. (Bresnahan discovered her Dijon allergy roughly a year before the incident.) Soon after biting into her sandwich, she quickly realized that both condiments had erroneously been included. Bresnahan immediately began experiencing symptoms, such as coughing, watering eyes, and her throat starting to close.
Bresnahan left for a memorial service in New York on the day after the incident and “continued to cough violently and also vomited frequently,” according to the lawsuit. “By the time she returned to Michigan on Sunday, she was barely able to speak.”
Bresnahan’s attorney indicated that his client has suffered months of negative consequences from the Dijon with no visible improvement. She had to move out of her apartment (for reasons not provided) and has been unable to work because she can hardly speak. Bresnahan’s former job at a financial loan office on Alpine Avenue NW involved a great deal of telephone contact with prospective customers. She is currently on disability. Her attorney indicated that it is at this point undetermined whether the physical damage to Bresnahan is permanent.
Her attorney further stressed that Jimmy John’s is liable for its negligence, explaining that it was reasonable to expect the sandwich shop to account for the specifics of Bresnahan’s order. The complaint accuses the sandwich shop of failing to accurately take Bresnahan’s order and relay the information to employees. The lawsuit further alleges that the Illinois-based company failed to adequately train employees regarding the dangers of food allergies.
As damages, Bresnahan lists significant emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, and an “inability to conduct normal activities of daily living.’’
The incident comes amid a wave of recent lawsuits suing restaurants for serving food that triggered allergic reactions in customers. This summer, a Massachusetts family sued Panera Bread after a child customer with a life-threatening peanut allergy was served a grilled cheese sandwich containing peanut butter. Around the same time, the owner of a restaurant in England was sentenced to six years in prison for putting nuts in a dish that requested “no nuts,” causing the customer’s death.
According to the FDA, allergic reactions to food send an estimated 30,000 Americans to the emergency room each year, and roughly 150 to 200 people die annually from food allergies.
The product liability attorneys at the Neumann Law Group represent injured people throughout Michigan from offices in Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Call us at (231) 463-0122 or at (616) 717-5666 for a free consultation.
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