Allergic to cheese, sues McDonald’s for $10 million

by Walter Olson on August 10, 2007

Jeromy Jackson says he repeatedly told the McDonald’s in Morgantown, W.V. that he needed his two Quarter Pounders without cheese, because he was allergic to cheese; “From this point forward, Mr. Jackson repeatedly asked as to the status of his food and whether it had no cheese, and took multiple preventive steps to assure his food did not contain cheese,” his suit says. On biting into the sandwich, his suit alleges, he suffered a severe allergic reaction and had to be rushed to a hospital (Cara Bailey, “Man allergic to cheese seeks $10 million from McDonald’s”, West Virginia Record, Aug. 8).

James Taranto is not what you would call sympathetic toward the action (Aug. 9): “So apparently the ‘multiple preventive steps’ he took ‘to assure his food did not contain cheese’ did not include looking at the damn sandwich before eating it”.

{ 13 comments }

1 LX 08.10.07 at 11:43 am

A possible defense for McDonald’s would be the fact that what they put on their burgers can hardly be called “cheese”.

2 QC Injury Lawyer 08.10.07 at 11:46 am

If it’s anything like peanut allergies, maybe things that had touched cheese recently (ie countertops, spatulas, etc) had touched the meat or something and made him ill.

Nevertheless, if your allergy was that serious, stay the heck out of McDonalds.

3 Waste 08.10.07 at 2:13 pm

I do not like cheese and have issues with getting a quarter pounder without one. However I’ve also gotten into the habit of looking at it before leaving. It isn’t that difficult to unwrap and take a quick glance. It isn’t like the cheese blends in and is hard to spot.

4 nevins 08.11.07 at 9:45 am

It sounds like Jeromy with the cheese allergy was setting McDonalds up for a fall. His seeming obsessive diligence notifying the McD employees constrasts starkly with his diligence at looking at his sandwich.

Further, if this guy is ‘cheese’ allergic, one most consider the underlying pathology of his reaction. Cheese is a complex food that starts with milk of some animal then undergoes complex fermentation and metabolism by various microorganisms. The resulting product can be quite different between types of cheeses and from the original milk product.
Further, many breads are made with milk. If his allergy has to do with compounds found in milk then even in the most meticulous absence of cheese on his sandwich, he would be expected to react to any sandwich product.
One of the hallmarks of malingerers is that they sometimes don’t understand the biology of the situation and thus don’t always react as the biology dictates.

5 cheeze whiz 08.11.07 at 11:56 am

What a waste of resources.

This guy is deathly allergic to cheese…yet entrusts his life to some high school kid making minimum wage? Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate to me.

Who’s really to blame in cases like this? Is it the opportunistic and perhaps greedy “victims”? Is it the opportunistic and perhaps greedy lawyers?

Neither! It’s the juries who award these big settlements to people for their own stupidity. It’s the equivalent of giving your dog a treat every time they pee on the rug. Of course they are going to keep doing it!

When are we going to stop reinforcing this behavior?

6 Nicolas Martin 08.12.07 at 9:48 am

The merits of the suit aside, it’s distressing how often I order a burger at McDonald’s without cheese but get it anyway. Has he ever been rushed to the hospital after eating McDonald’s fries? According the the company’s ingredient listings, fries contain milk. Surprisingly, the burger buns do not contain milk (or milk byproducts), but did he ever ask if they did?

http://www.mcdonalds.com/app_controller.nutrition.categories.ingredients.index.html

7 jb 08.12.07 at 11:17 am

The guy trusted McDonalds to get his order right. That’s negligence on his part right there.

As has been said on other sites, what the McDonalds people heard through the speaker was probably “Quarter pounder *static* cheese *static static*”. As “Quarter Pounder” is on the menu, as well as “Quarter Pounder with Cheese,” they probably did the rational thing and assumed that he was ordering a quarter pounder with cheese–otherwise he’d have just said “quarter pounder.” The person who gives people their food was negligent for, when he said “This doesn’t have cheese in it, right?” not saying “wait, I rang up a quarter pounder -with- cheese,” but anyone who’s ever ordered at McDonalds knows that it’s highly foreseeable that their order would be gotten wrong.

8 TC 08.12.07 at 7:53 pm

He might desire to NOT order a cheese burger without cheese eh?

9 Deoxy 08.13.07 at 11:29 am

[i]When are we going to stop reinforcing this behavior?[/i]

When we change the jury selection methodologies that allow lawyers to screen out everyone with more than 2 brain cells lft in their head.

10 Lolita Rogergis 08.13.07 at 7:06 pm

I find it odd that McDonalds is constantly attacked. I check my orders from any fast food place. The workers have so many orders to fill. They are human. Take control of your life and check any food that is made by someone else.

11 Lolita Rogergis 08.13.07 at 7:10 pm

I find it odd that McDonalds is constantly attacked. I check my orders from any fast food place. The workers have so many orders to fill. They are human. Take control of your life and check any food that is made by someone else.

12 Andrea 08.13.07 at 7:48 pm

What I don’t understand, if someone is this allergic to cheese (more then likely the milk protein) he would have an epi-pen and the mother would have called 911. Also the fries contain milk so did he eat them? What McDonalds was wrong but not $10 million worth. If is was that much of a problem you probably wouldn’t eat at a place like that (my daughter as a milk allergy and all she eats is the apples).

Just my opinion.

Andrea

13 booz 08.14.07 at 10:33 pm

If you are deathly allergic to cheese, do not get a damn sandwich from a place that has cheese products sitting around. I mean, how retarded do you have to be?

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