HUNTINGTON -- A Lawrence County, Ohio, woman has filed suit against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, alleging her infant daughter choked on a piece of plastic found inside the restaurant's soup.
Rachel Lafon, her husband, Sherman, and their daughter, Alexis, visited Cracker Barrel on Oct. 17, 2007, for dinner when the incident occurred, according to the complaint filed Dec. 30 in Cabell Circuit Court.
The family ordered soup as an appetizer, the suit states.
But soon after feeding Alexis a spoonful of the soup, Alexis became distressed, Rachel claims.
"Not knowing what was wrong with their daughter, the Lafons quickly paid their bill and exited the store," the suit states.
They went home, where Alexis began to vomit blood, according to the complaint.
Rachel claims she brought Alexis to the emergency room at Cabell Huntington Hospital as Alexis was drooling profusely.
Doctors could not diagnose the problem, according to the complaint.
"After three agonizing days in the hospital, exploratory surgery was performed during which a piece of plastic was removed from Alexis' throat," the suit states.
The plastic came from the soup Alexis was fed at Cracker Barrel, Rachel alleges.
Because of the piece of plastic in her throat, Alexis was forced to undergo an operation of direct laryngoscopy, espphagoscopy and foreign body removal, according to the complaint.
She still continues to receive follow-up treatment, the suit states.
Because of the incident, Rachel claims she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and other injuries.
Cracker Barrel breached its duty of care to prepare and serve its food in a reasonable manner by failing to serve food that did not contain a foreign body and by failing to serve food fit for human consumption, according to the complaint.
Cracker Barrel also knew that serving food unfit for human consumption could cause emotional distress and is liable to Rachel for inflicting emotional distress because her emotional distress was reasonably foreseeable, Cracker Barrel's conduct caused Alexis to suffer a critical injury requiring surgery and because Rachel suffered serious emotional distress as a direct result of witnessing Alexis's critical injury, the suit states.
"Cracker Barrel has had similar incidents in the past, has done nothing to correct the problem, and therefore conducts its operations in a manner so wanton and/or reckless as to manifest a willful disregard of the rights of others," the suit states.
Rachel is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.
Rachel is represented by Richard W. Weston of Weston Law Office in Huntington.
Cabell Circuit Court case number: 08-C-1084