Man with nut allergy wins cheesecake lawsuit

A Saskatchewan waitress and the restaurant where she worked have been ordered to pay $25,000 after a man with a nut allergy ate cheesecake and suffered a severe reaction.

A Saskatchewan waitress and the restaurant where she worked have been ordered to pay $25,000 after a man with a nut allergy ate cheesecake and suffered a severe reaction.

Brian Martin of Fargo, N.D., was on a hunting trip in the province five years ago when he stopped in at the restaurant at the Travelodge Hotel in Melfort.

After one bite from a slice of carmel apple cheesecake, he went into anaphylactic shock, a condition that can be fatal without immediate treatment.

He sued the waitress and the owner of the restaurant and in a recent court decision, Queen's Bench Justice Grant Currie awarded him $25,000.

The judge accepted Martin's testimony that he told the waitress he was allergic to nuts and asked if there were nuts in the cake.

The waitress said no, the judge said, so Martin started eating.

Martin testified that he immediately started having an allergic reaction — a reaction that included chest pain, a racing heartbeat, and shortness of breath.

At the hospital, he asked a doctor if he was dying. But he responded to medication and was discharged from the hospital the next day.

The judge said the waitress could have checked the cheesecake package and learned it contained walnuts. But she didn't and so breeched her "duty of care," Currie said.

As a result, she and the company would have to pay $25,000, plus interest. 

They are also required to compensate Martin $1,535.14 for his Melfort hospital bill.