Starbucks sued over alleged food-poisoning incident

By Jon Campisi | May 23, 2012

An older Montgomery County woman who claims she had to spend several days in the hospital after contracting food poisoning from a piece of cake purchased at a local Starbucks shop has filed a personal injury claim against the coffee giant in state court.

Conshohocken, Pa. lawyer Richard M. Wiener filed the civil action May 16 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Abington, Pa. resident Christine M. Stankowski.

Named as the defendant is Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation.

According to the complaint, Stankowski, who is 72 years old, became violently ill after consuming a slice of lemon cake that she purchased on May 16, 2010 at the Starbucks store at 746 Old York Road in Jenkintown, Pa.

After falling ill shortly after eating the confectionary, Stankowksi had to be taken by ambulance to Abington Memorial Hospital, where she spent the next several days recuperating from what was determined to be food poisoning, the lawsuit claims.

Specifically, Stankowski experienced nausea, vomiting, violent bowel movements, dehydration and weight loss, as well as other ills that left her sick, sore, lame, prostrate and disordered, the lawsuit claims.

The complaint also says Stankowski experienced pain and suffering, a loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures, embarrassment and humiliation.

The incident resulted in Stankowski having to spend various sums of money on medical attention to treat her injuries.

The lawsuit accuses Starbucks of negligence for serving a slice of lemon cake contaminated with harmful bacteria and/or other harmful substances; failing to reasonably ensure that the food it was serving was free from harmful substances; failing to adequately protect consumers from harmful bacteria; violating the Food Act; failing to give the plaintiff proper and adequate protection to which she was entitled; and failing to implement and/or have in place appropriate procedures regarding the operation, management, supervision and/or maintenance of its store with regard to food products served to its customers.

The lawsuit contains an additional count of strict liability.

Stankowski seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages, together with interest and litigation costs.

Arbitration in the matter has been scheduled for Jan. 24, 2013.


The case ID number is 120501541. 

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