Consumers are responsible for reading labels and understanding all about what foods and beverages they are ingesting. But what if something dangerous is included in a product, and the negligent manufacturer doesn’t put a warning about the risks on the label or packaging? In New Jersey, that would likely be a cause of action under the law. Manufacturers have a duty to the public to put appropriate warnings of any risk on products that might cause injury.
Most consumers probably wouldn’t think much about how dangerous a cup of coffee might be. For a man in a nearby state, that very situation has caused him injury, angst and additional medical expenses.
According to reports, he is now the lead plaintiff in a class action filed against a company that sells coffee purporting to provide additional health benefits from a type of mushroom contained in the blend. The problem surfaced because this added ingredient acts as a blood thinner, and there were allegedly no warnings of this potential side effect included in the labeling. The plaintiff believes liability rests with the manufacturer and is reportedly seeking class action status in court. The complaint asks for punitive damages for fraud, negligence, breach of warranty and other claims.
Records show the man consumed a cup of the coffee each day for two weeks. The mushroom is reportedly used in Chinese medicine. The plaintiff states that the dangerous side effect presented when he had surgery. Soon after he had to be treated for serious internal blood clots and other issues. The complaint indicates he suffered dangerously low blood counts and had to be resuscitated with transfusions. Emergency surgery was necessary.
Information about how much of the mushroom is in the coffee and caution of its potential for blood-thinning effects should have been provided to consumers, according to plaintiff. People with health conditions and undergoing surgery are at high risk for complications if they consume the coffee, or use any of the other products containing the mushroom.
Products liability cases can be complex, and sometimes involve thousands of harmed consumers. Many times, a lawsuit can help plaintiffs recovery financial losses while bringing the dangers to light and effecting change.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “Class Says Coffee Has a Dangerous Mushroom” Sean Kelly, accessed Mar. 25, 2015