REDLANDS, Calif. – A Southern California family is suing Starbucks after a 2-year-old girl allegedly drank a beverage that contained a barista’s blood, attorneys announced Wednesday.
Amanda Vice, her husband Louis Vice and his mother Rhonda Agles ordered several beverages from the coffee shop at 601 W. 2nd Street in San Bernardino on Feb. 6, 2016. When they returned home, "they noticed a red smear on the side of one of the cups and the drink had a strong metallic smell,” according to the 19-page complaint provided by the Frish Law Group, a Los Angeles-based firm representing the family.
Another cup, which was being shared by a family member and the young girl, had the same red stain. The family determined that none of them had been bleeding, then called the Starbucks to report the incident. They discovered that an employee had been bleeding and had been removed from the floor, their attorney said.
While the family was “extremely concerned” over the contaminated beverages, the manager offered the family free drinks for a week, according to the release. The family told the manager they wanted the employee to get a blood test to determine if he or she was HIV positive or had any other communicable disease. The manager allegedly agreed, but the employee was not “forced” to get a blood test.
“The family was then left to schedule their own blood tests, causing extreme distress for the parents as they had to watch their daughter be poked with a needle and agonizingly wait for the results,” a news release from the law firm reads.
Blood tests came back negative for any disease, the news release said, but the family had to be retested six months later to make sure.
“This caused the family stress, nervousness, fright, anguish, grief, anxiety, worry and shock for several months while awaiting the second round of test results” officials said in the news release.
Starbucks offered $1,000 to the family after the incident, but their attorney, Stan Pekler, said it “does not begin to compensate the family for suffered injuries and damages for which Starbucks is liable.”
“They endured additional distress because Starbucks seemed to not care about their wellbeing and refused to direct the employee to undergo a blood test to ensure the family's safety,” Pekler said.
The lawsuit against Starbucks Coffee Company seeks damages because of a failure to warn the family, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, negligent hiring, and negligent training and supervision.
A Starbucks spokesperson released the following statement:
"We are aware of this claim, that allegedly took place in 2016, and are prepared to present our case in court."