Couple suing restaurant, server in hot sauce case
by LINDA STARCHER, Banner Staff Writer
Oct 20, 2010 | 9283 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Cleveland couple is suing the local Steak ’n Shake restaurant, its parent company and an employee for allegedly serving their son a hot sauce so hot that he had to be hospitalized.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 30, in Bradley County Circuit Court by Bilbo Law Offices which is representing Tim and Mary Katherine Gann.

Steak ’n Shake restaurant is located at 220 Paul Huff Parkway.

According to the complaint filed, the incident reportedly occurred Oct. 9, 2009. Tim and Mary Gann took their minor son to Steak ’n Shake for dinner where the son ordered chili. The Steak ’n Shake employee, who is only listed in the complaint as “John Doe,” asked the boy if he wanted hot sauce for the chili. When the Ganns’ son accepted the offer, the employee allegedly brought the minor the product “Blair’s Mega Death Sauce,” an item which is not customarily served at the restaurant chain.

According to reports, the server is no longer employed at the restaurant.

The complaint indicates the employee not only failed to warn the Ganns and their son of the product’s contents, but that the employee also encouraged the minor to consume the product.

According to www.sweatnspice.com, “Blair’s Mega Death Hot Sauce” is 500 times hotter than a jalapeno and is not recommended for use without dilution.

After ingesting the chili mixed with the hot sauce, the child began suffering a severe physical reaction and was rushed to SkyRidge Medical Center for treatment. The minor reportedly broke out in hives and had difficulty breathing and suffered severe pain and inflammation of his digestive system, including his mouth and throat.

After the hospitalization, Tim Gann contacted the manager at Steak ’n Shake to report the injuries his son suffered.

The complaint filed alleges the defendant, Biglari Holdings (parent company to Steak ’n Shake) breached its duty to implement the appropriate controls and/or operating procedures and to ensure that the appropriate controls were in place at the Steak ’n Shake restaurant. As a result of this breach, the complaint states the Ganns’ son has suffered significant and permanent damages which now reportedly “interfere with his capacity and ability to perform work and (his ability) to enjoy the everyday pleasures and associations of life have been permanently damaged, restricted and impaired.”

As a result of the lawsuit, the Ganns are seeking $10,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages.

A hearing date has not yet been set.