Beecham Peacock succeeds in peanut allergy claim

Personal Injury by Andy Carruthers

Beecham Peacock has successfully won compensation for their client, Eleanor Lincoln, who suffered from an anaphylactic shock after unknowingly ordering a curry containing peanuts.

Whilst celebrating her 18th birthday, Ms Lincoln and her family bought a takeaway from Khan’s Restaurant on Heaton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Ms Lincoln, a lifelong sufferer of a serious peanut allergy, specified that no peanuts were to be included in her meal.

After eating the curry, Ms Lincoln began to feel ill, experiencing some of the symptoms of anaphylactic shock. Her mother, Bridie, said: “Eleanor started to feel really ill… her tongue was tingling, lips were swelling and her airways started to close.” “I gave her some glasses of water and thankfully she started to be sick, which expelled some of the allergen from her body.”

Thankfully, the family had returned home with their food, meaning Ms Lincoln could easily be given a dose of adrenalin from her EpiPen. An ambulance was quickly called, and Ms Lincoln was taken to the RVI, struggling to breathe. She was kept overnight, given steroids, and discharged the next day.

Following the incident, Beecham Peacock ensured that a quick admission of liability was made by the restaurant in question. Ms Lincoln was subsequently assessed by a fully qualified medical expert who confirmed that her adverse reaction was indeed caused by ingesting peanut.

An enquiry from Newcastle City Council’s Environmental Health Team found that the Chicken Tikka Masala ingested by Ms Lincoln contained peanut and almond protein, which caused her to go into shock.

Beecham Peacock then worked in conjunction with their ongoing Health and Safety prosecution who ensured that the responsible parties were convicted of a Food Hygiene Regulations charge. Samir Najeeb, the restaurant’s food business operator, was charged with two breaches of hygiene regulations – one under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations and one under the Food Safety Act.

Mr Najeeb pled not guilty to both charges, but was found guilty of the first charge; the second was dismissed. He was then fined £450 with £3000 costs at Newcastle Crown Court.

Khan’s Restaurant said: “We immediately apologised to the customer and since then, we have strengthened our allergen controls and introduced extra checks to ensure our customers’ safety.”

Beecham Peacock said: “This unfortunate incident ruined what should have been a milestone celebration and so Beecham Peacock is pleased that a beneficial financial settlement was achieved. We also hope that the incident has had a positive long-term effect on the hygiene processes at Khan’s, so that similar events do not happen again.”

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