According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, thousands of children here in the U.S. have been diagnosed with some sort of food allergy, with the most common allergen being peanut, followed closely by milk and shellfish.
Furthermore, the AAAAI found that as many as 38.7 percent of children with these food allergies have a history of severe medical reactions when exposed to their trigger allergens.
In light of this reality, parents of children who fall into this category must be especially careful about monitoring what their little ones eat, reading the labels and asking the necessary questions. However, what happens when even these safeguards fail?
Tragically, this is exactly what happened in a wrongful death case recently filed in a federal court here in Tennessee.
What exactly happened?
According to the lawsuit, the family of an 11-year-old boy who had a severe allergy to tree nuts was visiting family in Clarksville, and shopped at a local grocery store owned and operated by a large Florida-based corporation.
Here, the boy's mother purchased a cookie for her son at the store's bakery counter after 1) noticing no signs warning of cross-contamination with food allergens or allergens in general, and 2) being informed by the store clerk that it contained no tree nut allergens.
Similarly, the cookie's packaging did not outline ingredients or indicate the presence of any food allergens.
Did the cookie actually contain nuts?
Yes, it was later found that the cookie contained walnuts.
Specifically, the mother took a bite before her son to double-check and was unable to detect any nuts. However, the son went into anaphylactic shock after taking just three bites, his condition worsening despite an injection of epinephrine and a dose of Benadryl.
He was ultimately taken to an area hospital and fell unconscious en route. Tragically, doctors were unable to resuscitate him.
What does the family hope to accomplish with the lawsuit against the grocery store?
The family's wrongful death lawsuit is understandably seeking not only punitive damages, but compensation for emotional distress.
The family's attorney, however, has indicated that the family is interested in more than just securing compensation for the unbelievable harm they've endured. Indeed, they also want to raise awareness about the danger of children's food allergies and ensure the grocery store in question complies with federal food labeling requirements going forward.
Please stay tuned for updates on this very important case ...
If the negligent practices of a retailer have caused you serious personal injuries or even the loss of a loved one, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to understand more about your rights and your options for securing justice.