Parents of Child Sue Panera Bread in Natick, Mass. After Allergic Reaction | NECN
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Parents of Child Sue Panera Bread in Natick, Mass. After Allergic Reaction

The family is suing Panera for $500,000, for negligence and emotional distress

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    Natick dad John Russo still gets emotional talking about the grilled cheese sandwich with peanut butter that his 5 year old daughter ate from the Natick Panera on Worcester Street back in January. (Published Monday, June 6, 2016)

    "We did everything right and this still happened."

    Natick, Massachusetts, father John Russo still gets emotional talking about the grilled cheese sandwich with peanut butter that his 5-year-old daughter ate from the Natick Panera on Worcester Street in January.

    His daughter has a severe peanut allergy.

    Russo explained, "What happened was we picked up the food and my daughter took a couple of bites and said to my father in law, 'grandpa is this really grilled cheese? It tastes funny.'"

    The family is now suing Panera for $500,000, for negligence and emotional distress.

    They said they noted two times on their online order that the grilled cheese was for a child with peanut allergies.

    "My five year old was literally asking if she was going to die," said Russo.

    According to Russo, they gave the little girl Benadryl, but they rushed her to Newton Wellesley hospital after she threw up.

    That is where she broke out into hives and got an Epi pen injection, and spent the night.

    The restaurant allegedly told the family, the worker misread the online order.

    Russo said, "That was the explanation that we got, that it was a translation issue, but few weeks later it happened again it happened at a close by Panera the next town over the exact same thing."

    Russo also says his daughter, who is now 6, is a different child.

    "She was a very brave outgoing independent kid and she's very fearful of a lot of things now and has a lot of anxiety about getting about the bus is a real struggle, she's in kindergarten now."

    Panera says they don't comment on pending litigation but that they take the incident seriously and have procedures in place to minimize exposure like this.

    As for criticism that the family has gotten for eating out, the dad is firing back at that.

    "I'm not going to raise my kid to live in a bubble, she needs to be able to take care of herself when we're not with her as she grows up, I'm not going to raise my child in fear. I won't do it."


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