PITTSBURGH – An Outback Steakhouse patron and actress/model who suffered abdominal and intestinal injuries after allegedly ingesting a black metal wire in her take-out order has initiated legal action against the restaurant.

Alexis Eichelsbacher of Pittsburgh filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on July 19 versus Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. (doing business as “Outback Steakhouse”), of Tampa, Fla. In her lawsuit, she details allegations that she consumed a bristle from a grill brush, which required surgery to remove.

The effect of that surgery on her career is a scar on her stomach.

“Lost wages from her model work are projected based on past income and expectations for future work, including increases. The major scar is over her umbilicus and caused a noticeable cosmetic deformity,” Eichelsbacher's attorney, Jon R. Perry, told the Pennsylvania Record.

The plaintiff added she is not able to participate in various forms of exercise and can no longer work in her chosen career of modeling, where she has been showcased in a number of magazines and advertisement campaigns.

Eichelsbacher's Internet Movie Database profile states she worked as a stand-in and photo double on the television show "Supah Ninjas" and the feature film "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower," in addition to television movies "Locke & Key" and "Lovestruck: The Musical."

The lawsuit says Eichelsbacher contacted an Outback Steakhouse in Pittsburgh twice, on April 13 and 15, 2016, and placed a takeout order consisting of a grilled steak, a baked potato and grilled asparagus each time. On both occasions, the plaintiff then picked up the order from the restaurant and returned to her home to eat it.

In the following days, Eichelsbacher says she experienced intermittent pain and bloating in her abdominal region, in addition to nausea. After consulting both her gynecologist and undergoing a pelvic ultrasound at Magee Women’s Hospital, she says the intermittent abdominal pain persisted.

The plaintiff ultimately went to the emergency room at St. Clair Memorial Hospital on June 6, 2016 and had a radiograph and sonogram performed, which detected the presence of a “foreign body” in her right hernia/abdomen, the lawsuit says. She was told the object would pass naturally, but to return if pain persisted, it adds.

Ten days later, Eichelsbacher returned to St. Clair Memorial Hospital’s emergency room complaining of such pain and this time, was admitted to the hospital for medical testing, including an abdominal and pelvic CT scan, the suit says.

During a subsequent mini-exploratory laparotomy, the foreign body was located in the bowel and removed. Upon removal, it was described as appearing to be a “bristle from a wire brush from a grill.” 

On further examination, it was determined to be a black metal wire measuring 2.7 centimeters in length, by less than 0.1 centimeters in diameter. Because the object had perforated the plaintiff’s bowel, repair of the bowel was also completed during the aforementioned laparotomy procedure, the suit says.

Eichelsbacher believes the wire was present in the food orders she received from Outback and that the sole and proximate cause of her bodily injuries was the negligence, recklessness and carelessness of the defendant.

This negligence came from a foreign body being present in the plaintiff’s food, failing to properly train its personnel, failing to have proper quality control procedures in place, among numerous other charges.

Eichelsbacher says she suffered a perforated bowel, severe abdominal pain, cramping, bloating of the stomach, hot flashes, a loss of appetite, severe fatigue and diminished bowel function, in addition to increased risk for future hernias. 

For counts of negligence, product liability, breach of implied warranty and breach of express warranty, the plaintiff is seeking damages in a sum in excess of the arbitration limits of the Court, plus interest, costs and such other relief as the Court may deem just and proper, and further demands a trial by jury.

The plaintiff is represented by Perry of Rosen Louik & Perry, in Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-17-10070

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County
437 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA - 15219

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