Seriously, has anyone sued successfully?

I am traumatised.. I went to La Favorita in Edinburgh, they boast about their range of gluten free pasta and pizza..I took my partner for his birthday lunch..

On the way home he had to stop the car fro me to be sick..I was sick for 4 hours along with the other very unpleasant and distressing symptom of being glutened.. I was so ill. I was seriously considering going to hospital to have intravenous anti - emetics and fluids

I was peripherally shut down and felt soo weak.. I am only just beginning to take in fluids to replace those I lost..I have never been so ill since being diagnosed.. This was the worst yet.. I really don't want them to get away with this..

Anyone know a good lawyer.. ??

14 Replies

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  • Oh Weee that is so awful for you - I am really sorry that your birthday celebrations for your partner were spoilt by this. I am afraid that I have no legal experience but I think that these things are often so hard to prove. Maybe someone else can advise on this. I agree that the company should take some responsibility (along with those others who are not diligent in their food preparation). Perhaps a campaign to highlight the effects of negligence would be effective too? I am relatively new to this and don't know what campaigns have been carried out in the past, or if people think there is a need for one, or even want one. Since I have been diagnosed - 13 months ago - I have not seen any television programmes about cooking for coeliac or NCGS. Yet there are tons of cooking/baking programmes. I might have missed them of course. I am sure someone will tell me if I have. There is a lot of ignorance about the effects of eating gluten. Only the other day someone tried to persuade me that a few breadcrumbs in meatballs would not hurt me. I hope you feel better soon.

  • so sorry, do you belong to Coeliac UK , their latest on line letter is addressing eating out , it is very helpful and one can also contact them and tell them of your experience and they can investigate and remove place from list if it is even on it of places to eat

  • Yes I do

    What exactly did you say to your waiting staff, can you remember your precise words?

  • I said I'll have the 10' Gluten free pizza. In fact the waiter asked my partner if he required gluten free too and he made a joke that no he wanted my share of gluten.. I even asked him to check with the chef about the fish soup and he went away and came back saying chef said it was gluten free..

  • Ok so don't waste your time and money seeing a solicitor. To prove liability in negligence the starting point is establishing a duty of care. There is no duty of care to you in terms of catering to specific dietary or medical needs unless you tell them enough to create a duty. Just ordering a GF pizza isn't sufficient.

    Even if you could establish duty of care you still have the challenge of proving causation. And even after that, you have to quantify your loss by putting a monetary figure on your physical injury.

    In short, all any of us can do in these situations is to complain, explain, and decide whether you want to risk it again.

  • I would suggest putting it down to experience because you need evidence. Looking at the contents of your post I can relate to some of it: Being extremely sick after four hours, hot flushes leading to extreme cold, racing heart, inability to move, very high blood pressure then very tired sleeping for several hours if this is familiar then look up Anaphylaxis.........you recover before an A+E doctor arrives and is diagnosed by observation. Being sick or having diarrhoea is best treated with increased fluid intake.

  • Well, this lady did indeed have some success in court with a similar experience telegraph.co.uk/health/heal...

    Maybe calling the Environmental Health officers would be a good idea?

  • "Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant chain was fined £8,000 after a woman who told staff three times she was allergic to gluten was served wheat pasta."

    This is the first line of the article, Coeliac Disease is not an allergy or is a Coeliac allergic to gluten there is a difference. When I order food it has to be wheat/gluten free as well as Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose/E464 free. The restaurant has also to admit liability for progress to be made, which is not taught in this sueing society.

  • Hi Wee, firstly poor you and I hope that you feel better soon. As for La Favorita, in the first instance you ought to contact them to see what their reaction is, I imagine that they have an opt out clause so if someone is glutened by accident, the diner is eating at their own risk. But it strikes me that this is far more than cross contamination and that you probably were served a normal pizza base, or there was gluten in the topping.

    But whatever the cause you have to contact them first and see what their reaction is.

    No food company wants or likes bad publicity so you could demand a refund if they do not offer one in the first place. Then put it in writing to La Favorita that you are going to sue them in the small claims court, please see:

    adviceguide.org.uk/scotland...

    I sued someone in the UK small claims court as they were operating a con and it was so easy and I did it without a solicitor and I won. I have an odd sense of humour and I had the court in stitches so it was empowering and not at all intimidating.

    Another course of action is to write a damning review on a site like this:

    food.list.co.uk/place/10243...

    This is something that they would hate and you could do this if you feel forced to sue them.

    Lastly good luck and let us know how you get on. (with a bit of luck we'll have you doing cartwheels...)

    Jerry.

  • Thank you everyone, I have to say I am still psychologically traumatised by my harrowing experience, and physically my tummy is still tender and doesn't like me even putting bona fide gluten free food in it.. However I have written reviews on both trip advisor and the list. I have also contacted Environmental health and have just spoken to a lovely very understanding person who is going to take some action.. This makes me feel somewhat better.

  • That's a really miserable experience, and I'm sorry you had to go through that.

    But it does highlight why I am very wary of ordering gluten substitute products in a restaurant, especially pasta. You can't tell by looking or tasting whether you've been served the right sort. If it's wrong, it's very, very wrong. Eating a bowl of wheat pasta is a whole different level of being glutened compared to some cross contamination, and it's not something I am willing to risk.

  • So sorry to hear about your experience, Weee. I do hope it won't put you off eating out completely.

  • I understand your upset and feelings having become ill after eating at La Favorita. However, I wonder if getting to speak to the management so that they can be better informed about the seriousness of providing an uncontaminated gluten free meal for those that require one. Perhaps, with your help, they could find a system that would work for them; Pizza Express have looked at their system from order to serving.

    Will bad publicity or legal action make other food providers think I'm just not going to try and provide special foods? That is not helpful in trying improve the outlook for outing out as a coeliac in Edinburgh or anywhere else.

  • This was my reply from the owner with a £25 voucher.. what a joke..However glad they are reviewing procedures..I may yet go to the press..:-

    Thank you for getting in touch. We take these things very seriously and I regret that you did not call the restaurant when it happened. As a result of your incident I have reviewed all procedures with the teams immediately as well we are changing our menus with icons to reflect the items to assist our customers in their dietary needs. We are also in the process of looking at other ways to change the service process in order to alleviate mistakes like this.

    I would like to offer you a voucher for your feedback. It is attached.

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