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California family sues Starbucks after drinking barista’s blood

Manager offers family free drinks for a week

SAN BERNARDINO, CA, - One year after a San Bernardino, CA family was exposed to a Starbucks Coffee Company barista’s blood in their drinks, the family is suing the company.

On February 6, 2016, a woman, her husband, her mother-in-law and their young daughter ordered several drinks from the Starbucks located at 601 W. 2nd St. in San Bernardino, California and had begun to enjoy them at home when they noticed a red smear on the side of the white cup, along with a strong metallic smell. They then noticed the same kind of red stain on another cup which two family members, one of which was their young daughter, had already been drinking. After confirming that no one in the family was bleeding, they called the Starbucks location to report the incident and confirmed that there was in fact an employee who was bleeding but had since been removed from the sales floor.

The family was extremely concerned after consuming the beverages contaminated with an employee's blood, particularly as a two-year-old child had drank from one of the drinks. To compensate the family, the manager offered free drinks for a week, but the family felt it critical that the employee get a blood test to determine if he or she was HIV positive or had some other communicable disease. While the manager agreed, the employee was not in fact forced to get the blood test. The family was then left to schedule their own blood tests, causing extreme distress for the parents as they had to watch their daughter be poked with a needle and agonizingly wait for the results.

Although there was temporary relief with the initial negative results, the family had to be retested six months later because it may take that much time for a person's immune system to produce HIV antibodies. This caused the family stress, nervousness, fright, anguish, grief, anxiety, worry, and shock for several months while awaiting the second round of test results.

Starbucks offered $1,000 to each family member for their troubles.

“This does not begin to compensate the family for suffered injuries and damages for which Starbucks is liable,” explained the family’s attorney Stan Pekler of Frish Law Group. “Immediately upon learning they had consumed beverages that contained human blood, the family experienced suffering, as well as feelings of anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and shame. They endured additional distress because Starbucks seemed to not care about their wellbeing and refused to direct the employee to undergo a blood test to ensure the family's safety.”

The lawsuit against Starbucks Coffee Company is seeking damages based on a failure to warn, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, negligent hiring, and negligent training and supervision.

Attorney Pekler added, “The family suffered emotional injuries because a beverage sold by Starbucks contained human blood, which is clearly a manufacturing defect. In addition, there was no warning directing consumers to examine their beverages for human blood prior to consumption. Therefore, Starbucks is strictly liable for their injuries.”

About the Frish Law Group

Frish Law Group is a Los Angeles based firm representing clients in matters related to business law, litigation, real estate law, personal injury law, landlord-tenant law and insurance claims.

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