Today (22 October) is National Nut Day in the UK: an event to celebrate the nutritious, delicious and environmentally sustainable nature of all nuts. While eating nuts is enjoyed by many and can help skin glow and tresses shine, it is estimated 1 in 100 people across the country suffer from a nut allergy. These individuals are obviously unable to celebrate the occasion!
Reactions in those with nut hypersensitivity can range from more mild symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea and hives, to potentially deadly anaphylactic shock, which causes the face and throat to swell. This is why those selling or handling nut products need to make this very clear to potential customers.
Conditions of nut allergy compensation claims
If you have an allergic reaction to nuts or nut-based products, you may be able to make a claim for compensation if:
- You were wrongly informed regarding the inclusion of nuts in a product or food item, and suffer anaphylactic shock or other physical reactions as a result
- Someone causes you to have an allergic reaction, through purposely introducing nuts or nut-based goods to your person, despite their awareness of your sensitivity
It should be noted that in instances where declaration of the nut intolerance is not made, the claimant is likely to be deemed the one at fault.
Nut allergy compensation stories in the news
Here are just four nut intolerance lawsuit stories that have hit the headlines during the last year.
2011: North Dakota man is victim of cheesecake mistake
A man from North Dakota with a nut allergy went into anaphylactic shock after eating a forkful of cheese cake, which a Saskatchewan waitress told him contained no nuts. It was later discovered the dessert’s packet clearly stated it comprised walnuts. This saw the court determine the waitress “breached her duty of care” by making no effort to check the cheesecake’s ingredients.
The waitress and restaurant were ordered to pay the man $25,000 worth of compensation.
2011: Bullied Arizona employee allegedly discriminated against for suffering peanut allergy
In 2001, a woman filed a lawsuit against her ex-employing company, from which she claims she was fired and discriminated against for suffering a nut allergy, as well as her race. She claims fellow employees chased her around the office with peanuts and regularly left them on her desk after her severe allergy was discovered.
This behaviour caused her to have several face-swelling, throat-closing reactions. She was hospitalised on more than one occasion, but when she complained to her supervisor he allegedly remarked: “[It’s] all in her head.”
The woman sought compensation in the form of job reinstatement, back-pay, emotional damages, and unspecified punitive damages. The outcome of her claim is unknown.
2012: Georgia Teacher allegedly drives student nuts with scented candle
A 16-year-old female student claims she has been regularly bullied by her teacher, who continued to burn a candle made with nut oil, even after said teacher was informed of her hypersensitivity. The first time the candle was lit in the girl’s Spanish class, it is claimed her lips swelled up and she was sent to the school nurse for treatment.
Despite this, the teacher allegedly continued to burn the candle regularly, blowing it out before the girl arrived for each lesson. It is reported that this saw additional allergic reactions occur, and the student felt drowsy during lessons often. This apparently made it difficult for her to concentrate, which has been blamed for the girl’s failure of the class.
It is unclear whether the girl and her family are seeking monetary recompense for the teacher’s actions.
2012: NJ bar patrons shell-shocked by peanut ban
For over 30 years, Barnacle Bill’s bar and restaurant in Rumson, New Jersey, has been reputed for its antique peanut roaster, from which customers could help themselves freely while enjoying a bevvy or two. This tradition was recently cut however, due to fears regarding compensation claims.
Management has reportedly become increasingly concerned that they will have to ‘shell out’ should a customer suffer an allergic reaction. Additionally, there is worry that someone could trip and hurt themselves. It is also tradition for the peanut shells to be dropped on the floor, a debris which increases as each night goes on. More than 450 complaints have so far been left on the businesses’ Facebook page regarding the peanut cut.
“The peanuts are done,” the owner has responded. “It’s a bold move for us man […] we’re going to see how it goes.”