Family Sues Wendy's for $20 Million After Child Falls Ill Post "Biggie Bag" Meal

  • by:
  • Source: Wood TV
  • 04/18/2024
The family has launched a $20 million lawsuit against the Wendy's in Michigan after their 11-year-old child became "critically ill" while dining there.

Aspen Lamfers visited a Wendy's in Jenison in August 2022 after receiving treatment from her family after softball practice. According to a complaint her family filed on April 4, the 11-year-old selected a "Biggie Bag" meal, which featured a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and french fries.

According to the complaint, Aspen started feeling ill on August 4, 2022, three days after eating the meal. She had nausea, stomach discomfort, fever, and diarrhea.

And in the days that followed, Aspen's symptoms worsened to the point that her mother had to take her to the hospital when she saw blood in her stool.

The complaint continued by saying that Aspen was treated and released home, but that she ended up going back to the hospital on August 7 due to a worsening of her health.

Aspen was moved to a different hospital on August 11 and was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit before starting dialysis.

According to the complaint, Aspen was receiving treatment for hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious side effect of an infection with STEC (E. coli that produces Shiga toxin).

According to court records, she was later diagnosed with stage three renal failure. But Aspen's problems did not stop there; according to the complaint, she also had numbness, weakness on her left side of the body, and facial drooping.

Following her diagnosis as "critically ill," the complaint said that she suffered from lifelong brain damage and renal failure.

"This blatant disregard for the health and safety of the public has changed Aspen's life forever," the family's attorney, Tom Worsfold, told McClatchy News.

At one point, Aspen stopped talking completely and even became partially paralyzed.

The complaint claimed Aspen was had to get physical treatment, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, nursing care, and counseling. It was filed against Meritage Hospitality Group, the company that owns the Wendy's franchise in Michigan.

Discharged on September 9, Aspen had diabetes, hypertension, and lack of strength as long-term disabilities.

"In the spring of 2022, Aspen took the State M-Step assessment in fifth grade. She scored in the 70th percentile for math and in the 61st percentile for reading, with a reading level equivalent to that of the sixth grade," the complaint said.

"After contracting STEC in the spring of 2023, Aspen took the State M-Step assessment. She performed in the 9th percentile in math and in the 26th percentile in reading, with a reading level equivalent to that of the fourth grade."

A July 27, 2022, inspection of the Jenison Wendy's franchise revealed 17 infractions of the health code, among them the presence of "spoiled tomatoes, moldy strawberries, and leftover chili from the previous day."

Poor hand washing procedures and raw beef kept at potentially hazardous temperatures were among the 12 other infractions discovered during the subsequent health inspection.

Since then, the franchise's management has changed, and a follow-up investigation discovered that its health and safety procedures have much improved.


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