Cheesecake Factory Settles Food Poisoning Lawsuit for $14K
Brown Deer man reaches legal settlement after eating a contaminated mahi mahi dish at Cheesecake Factory restaurant at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale.
Almost immediately after finishing his dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, Ghassan Batayneh started to feel dizzy.
After finishing his mahi mahi dish at the popular restaurant franchise at Bayshore Town Center, the Brown Deer man began to sweat profusely and then passed out, sliding off of his chair onto the floor. Paramedics were called to the restaurant, and he was rushed to the emergency room.
"Within five minutes of finishing, I started feeling something was wrong," Batayneh told Patch. "I had a feeling it was what I ate. I knew there was something wrong, but I was confused about what really happened."
It turns out Batayneh, who was 49 at the time of the incident in 2009, fell victim to scombroid poisoning, a food-borne illness that occurs when certain types of fish are not properly refrigerated and begin to rot. Scombroid poisoning is unlike many types of food-borne illness in that cooking the food at high temperature does not prevent illness from the contaminated food.
Batayneh and his attorney, Michael Hanrahan, filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court in April 2011. Although the company initially denied liability, it offered a $14,000 settlement on Feb. 21 – shortly before the case was to go to trial. With court costs and expenses, Batayneh’s total judgment came to $15,526.88.
Hanrahan said several medical tests showed that Batayneh did not have an allergic reaction. To prove that he was not allergic to mahi mahi, Batayneh said he ate the seafood dish at several other restuarants and never became sick.
As a result of this ordeal, Batayneh said he has become more careful of where he eats seafood.
"For quite some time I was pretty scared," he said. "I stopped eating fish and sushi for a while, but now I’m very selective on where I eat my food."
The company could not be reached for comment as to why it settled the case before trial. Mahi mahi is no longer on the restaurant's menu.