Quebec man sues restaurant alleging salmon tartare put him in coma
Simon-Pierre Canuel's lawyer says waiter was 'distracted' when he served allergic customer seafood
A man who says he has a seafood allergy and suffered long-term physical and psychological damage after he was served salmon tartare by mistake at a Sherbrooke, Que., restaurant last May is suing the owners of the bistro and waiter.
Simon-Pierre Canuel, a Gatineau resident, says he spent a week in hospital after going into anaphylactic shock after eating the tartare at Le Tapageur Bistro on May 29.
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Canuel, who is in his mid-30s, says he placed an order for beef tartare, telling waiter Julien Vézina he had a severe seafood allergy, but was served salmon tartare instead.
He alleges in the suit that in the dimly lit room, he couldn't tell that what he was given was not beef.
A statement of claim was filed by Canuel's lawyer at the Sherbrooke courthouse on Dec. 14 alleges Vézina seemed "distracted," and was "drinking alcohol with customers at an adjacent table."
Vézina was arrested shortly after Canuel became ill last spring, but Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions declined to lay charges, concluding it was not a case of criminal negligence.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim have been proven in court.
Marika Douville, the lawyer who is representing Vézina and restaurant owners Francine Larochelle and Jasmin Vallières, has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Physical, psychological damage
The suit comes months after Canuel's lawyers sent a letter to the restaurant seeking compensation.
Canuel is asking for a total of $415,000 in damages: $390,000 for himself and $25,000 for his partner, who was with him at the restaurant.
The suit alleges Canuel was physically incapacitated and suffered psychological harm as a result of Vézina's error. The documents say he suffered a heart attack following his hospitalization and was in a coma for two days. His heart was so weak he couldn't do any physical exercise until mid-July, the suit claims.
In the documents, Canuel says that since his visit to Le Tapageur, he suffers from anxiety attacks and sleeping problems, and has developed a food-related phobia.
- Due to incorrect information provided to CBC, an earlier version of this story said $515,000 in damages was being sought. The amount is actually $415,000.Dec 16, 2016 3:10 PM ET
With files from Radio-Canada and CBC's Claude Rivest Mazzanna