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    P.F. Chang's Looks to Dismiss Gluten-free Disability Suit


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 11/16/2015 - P.F. Chang's seeking to dismiss an amended complaint filed by a woman who claims the restaurant chain violated federal anti-discrimination laws by charging higher prices for gluten-free items than for non-gluten-free items.


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    Photo: CC--Mike KalasnikPlaintiff Anna Marie Phillips initially sued P.F. Chang's in California state court in December, but P.F. Chang's got the case moved to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

    Lawyers for P.F. Chang's first moved to dismiss Phillips' class action in February, claiming her celiac disease does not make her a disabled person under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal Judge Ronald Whyte heard oral arguments in May, and "tentatively granted" the motion to dismiss, with a final ruling to be issued later.

    In August, the federal judge granted P.F. Chang's motion to dismiss Phillips' original complaint. The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that the restaurant chain discriminated against her and other guests with celiac disease or a gluten allergy/intolerance, by charging $1 more for some gluten-free menu items compared to non-gluten-free versions of menu items with a similar name but prepared and handled much differently.

    However, Whyte did grant Phillips a leave to amend, while expressing his "reservations" that she could ever mount a viable claim using her discrimination theory.

    P.F. Chang's, in its Sept. 24 motion to dismiss the amended complaint, contends the new complaint asserts the same disability-discrimination claims and offers "few additional facts" and "none that warrant a different result."

    The plaintiff asserts, P.F. Chang's notes, that the gluten-free menu items are "essentially the same" and are "not truly different dishes" because they have the same basic ingredients.

    What do you think? Are restaurants wrong to charge more for gluten-free food? Share your thoughts and opinions below.

    Read More: Legalnewsonline.com

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    Thank you PF Chang for serving gluten-free meals. I am always willing to pay extra to make sure I have safe food to eat. This woman just wants money or fame, or both. I sincerely hope the court throws this out!

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    Guest CharlieGirl

    Posted

    I am very happy when I find a restaurant that not only serves gluten-free dishes, but understands the need to have a clean prep surface and tools and training for their kitchen staff. Paying an extra $1 is no problem and I can relax and enjoy a meal out. This is a nuisance suit and should be thrown out of the court. What a waste of taxpayer money!

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    Guest Mary Beth

    Posted

    I agree that this suit needs to be dismissed. As a celiac, I know that I require special food items that are more expensive (e.g. gluten-free bread or GFsoy sauce). I also know that preparing my food requires special handling which could disrupt the flow in the kitchen. I am grateful to any restaurant who is willing to offer gluten-free alternatives to me.

     

    Requiring restaurants to offer my gluten-free alternatives at the same price will discourage restaurants from making this options available.

     

    It's not discrimination; it's a mutually beneficial deal. I get more restaurants offering food I can safely eat and I pay a slightly higher price to offset the increased expense for them to accommodate me.

     

    This is a win/win. This suit will only change the situation to a lose/lose.

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    This as a frivolous lawsuit. It should be dismissed. gluten-free food is more expensive and the restaurant staff needs to be trained to properly prepare gluten-free items so the can be safely enjoyed by celiacs. I'll gladly pay extra for a safe gluten-free meal at any restaurant that is willing to serve them.

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    Guest Wendellyn

    Posted

    It is a known fact that gluten-free Foods cost more. Whether it is in a restaurant or the grocery store. Just like Organics, supply and demand. What is so disappointing is the fact that many restaurants lie about their food prep. I have gotten sick many times from food that is supposedly prepared gluten free. Unfortunately, THEY DON'T CARE AND DARE YOU TO PROVE IT WAS THEIR RESTAURANT.

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    Why should I have to pay more for having a disease that I didn't cause? I didn't ask or choose to have celiac so it's not okay to have to pay more. I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. I can only eat the nachos and I modify it a lot. They do not charge me extra and often the manager makes my food because he wants me to keep coming back as a customer. That is what a restaurant is supposed to do. P.F. Changs makes it seem like they are doing us a big favor cause we have this disease and they are going to make us pay for it. I hope the woman wins. I shouldn't be punished for this and I have a right to have a normal life. Well as normal as I can with this disease.

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    It is a known fact that gluten-free Foods cost more. Whether it is in a restaurant or the grocery store. Just like Organics, supply and demand. What is so disappointing is the fact that many restaurants lie about their food prep. I have gotten sick many times from food that is supposedly prepared gluten free. Unfortunately, THEY DON'T CARE AND DARE YOU TO PROVE IT WAS THEIR RESTAURANT.

    Don't eat at those Restaurants. That's your choice. ..jf..

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    Why should I have to pay more for having a disease that I didn't cause? I didn't ask or choose to have celiac so it's not okay to have to pay more. I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. I can only eat the nachos and I modify it a lot. They do not charge me extra and often the manager makes my food because he wants me to keep coming back as a customer. That is what a restaurant is supposed to do. P.F. Changs makes it seem like they are doing us a big favor cause we have this disease and they are going to make us pay for it. I hope the woman wins. I shouldn't be punished for this and I have a right to have a normal life. Well as normal as I can with this disease.

    To pay for a service is worth it! If you don't like it let the owner know you won't be back because of that. They will decide if it's worth it or not!

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    Guest G. Freeholder

    Posted

    Get real! it's a free country. Nobody forces you to buy anything. It's your choice. If you don't want to pay $1.00 more then go eat somewhere else. Here's what else costs more : sugar free, salt free, low carb, kosher, cafein free (decaf) coffee, low calorie, etc. And nobody complains.

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    Why should I have to pay more for having a disease that I didn't cause? I didn't ask or choose to have celiac so it's not okay to have to pay more. I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. I can only eat the nachos and I modify it a lot. They do not charge me extra and often the manager makes my food because he wants me to keep coming back as a customer. That is what a restaurant is supposed to do. P.F. Changs makes it seem like they are doing us a big favor cause we have this disease and they are going to make us pay for it. I hope the woman wins. I shouldn't be punished for this and I have a right to have a normal life. Well as normal as I can with this disease.

    Why should we be condemned to not being able to eat out, or just be able to safely order only one lousy appetizer off an entire menu?! I'll gladly pay an extra dollar for PF Chang's extra care and increased costs because my idea of a normal life is being able to go out with friends and not stress about whether I'm going to either get glutened or starve.

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    As an owner of a Culver's restaurant, we were the first large chain to offer a gluten free bun. This lawsuit is ridiculous!!! All of you people that support it please realize that we do this as a service to our gluten-free guests, we lose money on every individual gluten-free bun we sell because they cost right around $1.00 when we buy them and we sell them for $1.00, so by the time we pay to train the team to observe proper precautions (not to mention they extra time it takes to prepare a gluten-free order) it is easily a loss. We can only hope that the person who needs gluten-free either buys other items or brings people that we can make money on (and 90% do and are super appreciative). It is not about discrimination, I am happy to prepare you a hamburger with no bun and observe all of the proper procedures to make sure you are served safe food that will not get you glutened. If you have never been to a Culver's Restaurant, they are probably one of the most allergy friendly restaurants in the market, they have buttons for almost every allergy, and take them very seriously. Keep in mind folks if we charged what we needed to cover overhead, labor, and food cost, the price would be north of $3 just for the bun alone at this point. As gluten-free becomes more and more mainstream the prices will drop, and then maybe we could offer at regular price, but unfortunately gluten-free is seen more as a FAD at this point rather than a solution to an illness. I can not speak for other restaurants, but my guess is the more of this type of legal action, the less gluten-free options you will see in the market for everyone.

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    Why should I have to pay more for having a disease that I didn't cause? I didn't ask or choose to have celiac so it's not okay to have to pay more. I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. I can only eat the nachos and I modify it a lot. They do not charge me extra and often the manager makes my food because he wants me to keep coming back as a customer. That is what a restaurant is supposed to do. P.F. Changs makes it seem like they are doing us a big favor cause we have this disease and they are going to make us pay for it. I hope the woman wins. I shouldn't be punished for this and I have a right to have a normal life. Well as normal as I can with this disease.

    Suzan, the restaurant didn't give you celiac disease. Why should they bear the burden of the extra cost? P.F. Chang's is doing us a big favor. Quit feeling sorry for yourself and try to appreciate that companies like this are trying to make your life better by giving you options.

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    As an owner of a Culver's restaurant, we were the first large chain to offer a gluten free bun. This lawsuit is ridiculous!!! All of you people that support it please realize that we do this as a service to our gluten-free guests, we lose money on every individual gluten-free bun we sell because they cost right around $1.00 when we buy them and we sell them for $1.00, so by the time we pay to train the team to observe proper precautions (not to mention they extra time it takes to prepare a gluten-free order) it is easily a loss. We can only hope that the person who needs gluten-free either buys other items or brings people that we can make money on (and 90% do and are super appreciative). It is not about discrimination, I am happy to prepare you a hamburger with no bun and observe all of the proper procedures to make sure you are served safe food that will not get you glutened. If you have never been to a Culver's Restaurant, they are probably one of the most allergy friendly restaurants in the market, they have buttons for almost every allergy, and take them very seriously. Keep in mind folks if we charged what we needed to cover overhead, labor, and food cost, the price would be north of $3 just for the bun alone at this point. As gluten-free becomes more and more mainstream the prices will drop, and then maybe we could offer at regular price, but unfortunately gluten-free is seen more as a FAD at this point rather than a solution to an illness. I can not speak for other restaurants, but my guess is the more of this type of legal action, the less gluten-free options you will see in the market for everyone.

    Clap, Clap, Clap. But.....do you give a discount if a gluten free person orders a hamburger WITHOUT ANY BUN AT ALL? No. I am tired of ordering food with no bun, no, bread, no sauce and still being charged the full price. Change your thinking!!!

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    Law suit is stupid. I have hashimato's and have to watch gluten but do not suffer as most. However I am tired of ordering food with no bun, no bread, no sauce, no dressing, etc. and getting charged the same. I do not mind paying extra for gluten-free options but I do mind paying for something I do not eat!

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    Sources:
    1. Toft M, Dietrichs E. Aggravated stuttering following subthalamic deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease--two cases. BMC Neurol. 2011 Apr 8;11:44.
    2. Tani T, Sakai Y. Stuttering after right cerebellar infarction: a case study. J Fluency Disord. 2010 Jun;35(2):141-5. Epub 2010 Mar 15.
    3. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    4. Jäncke L, Hänggi J, Steinmetz H. Morphological brain differences between adult stutterers and non-stutterers. BMC Neurol. 2004 Dec 10;4(1):23.
    5. Kell CA, Neumann K, von Kriegstein K, Posenenske C, von Gudenberg AW, Euler H, Giraud AL. How the brain repairs stuttering. Brain. 2009 Oct;132(Pt 10):2747-60. Epub 2009 Aug 26.
    6. Galantucci S, Tartaglia MC, Wilson SM, Henry ML, Filippi M, Agosta F, Dronkers NF, Henry RG, Ogar JM, Miller BL, Gorno-Tempini ML. White matter damage in primary progressive aphasias: a diffusion tensor tractography study. Brain. 2011 Jun 11.
    7. Lundgren K, Helm-Estabrooks N, Klein R. Stuttering Following Acquired Brain Damage: A Review of the Literature. J Neurolinguistics. 2010 Sep 1;23(5):447-454.
    8. [No authors listed] Case records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. Weekly clinicopathological exercises. Case 43-1988. A 52-year-old man with persistent watery diarrhea and aphasia. N Engl J Med. 1988 Oct 27;319(17):1139-48
    9. Molteni N, Bardella MT, Baldassarri AR, Bianchi PA. Celiac disease associated with epilepsy and intracranial calcifications: report of two patients. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Sep;83(9):992-4.
    10. http://ezinearticles.com/?Food-Allergy-and-Stuttering-Link&id=1235725 
    11. http://www.craig.copperleife.com/health/stuttering_allergies.htm 
    12. https://www.celiac.com/forums/topic/73362-any-help-is-appreciated/
    13. Ford RP. The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease. Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
    14. Hadjivassiliou M, Gibson A, Davies-Jones GA, Lobo AJ, Stephenson TJ, Milford-Ward A. Does cryptic gluten sensitivity play a part in neurological illness? Lancet. 1996 Feb 10;347(8998):369-71.

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    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/13/2018 - There have been numerous reports that olmesartan, aka Benicar, seems to trigger sprue‐like enteropathy in many patients, but so far, studies have produced mixed results, and there really hasn’t been a rigorous study of the issue. A team of researchers recently set out to assess whether olmesartan is associated with a higher rate of enteropathy compared with other angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
    The research team included Y.‐H. Dong; Y. Jin; TN Tsacogianis; M He; PH Hsieh; and JJ Gagne. They are variously affiliated with the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, USA; the Faculty of Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Science at National Yang‐Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan; and the Department of Hepato‐Gastroenterology, Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan, Taiwan.
    To get solid data on the issue, the team conducted a cohort study among ARB initiators in 5 US claims databases covering numerous health insurers. They used Cox regression models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for enteropathy‐related outcomes, including celiac disease, malabsorption, concomitant diagnoses of diarrhea and weight loss, and non‐infectious enteropathy. In all, they found nearly two million eligible patients. 
    They then assessed those patients and compared the results for olmesartan initiators to initiators of other ARBs after propensity score (PS) matching. They found unadjusted incidence rates of 0.82, 1.41, 1.66 and 29.20 per 1,000 person‐years for celiac disease, malabsorption, concomitant diagnoses of diarrhea and weight loss, and non‐infectious enteropathy respectively. 
    After PS matching comparing olmesartan to other ARBs, hazard ratios were 1.21 (95% CI, 1.05‐1.40), 1.00 (95% CI, 0.88‐1.13), 1.22 (95% CI, 1.10‐1.36) and 1.04 (95% CI, 1.01‐1.07) for each outcome. Patients aged 65 years and older showed greater hazard ratios for celiac disease, as did patients receiving treatment for more than 1 year, and patients receiving higher cumulative olmesartan doses.
    This is the first comprehensive multi‐database study to document a higher rate of enteropathy in olmesartan initiators as compared to initiators of other ARBs, though absolute rates were low for both groups.
    Source:
    Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 06/12/2018 - A life-long gluten-free diet is the only proven treatment for celiac disease. However, current methods for assessing gluten-free diet compliance are lack the sensitivity to detect occasional dietary transgressions that may cause gut mucosal damage. So, basically, there’s currently no good way to tell if celiac patients are suffering gut damage from low-level gluten contamination.
    A team of researchers recently set out to develop a method to determine gluten intake and monitor gluten-free dietary compliance in patients with celiac disease, and to determine its correlation with mucosal damage. The research team included ML Moreno, Á Cebolla, A Muñoz-Suano, C Carrillo-Carrion, I Comino, Á Pizarro, F León, A Rodríguez-Herrera, and C Sousa. They are variously affiliated with Facultad de Farmacia, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain; Biomedal S.L., Sevilla, Spain; Unidad Clínica de Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, Spain; Celimmune, Bethesda, Maryland, USA; and the Unidad de Gastroenterología y Nutrición, Instituto Hispalense de Pediatría, Sevilla, Spain.
    For their study, the team collected urine samples from 76 healthy subjects and 58 patients with celiac disease subjected to different gluten dietary conditions. To quantify gluten immunogenic peptides in solid-phase extracted urines, the team used a lateral flow test (LFT) with the highly sensitive and specific G12 monoclonal antibody for the most dominant GIPs and an LFT reader. 
    They detected GIPs in concentrated urines from healthy individuals previously subjected to gluten-free diet as early as 4-6 h after single gluten intake, and for 1-2 days afterward. The urine test showed gluten ingestion in about 50% of patients. Biopsy analysis showed that nearly 9 out of 10 celiac patients with no villous atrophy had no detectable GIP in urine, while all patients with quantifiable GIP in urine showed signs of gut damage.
    The ability to use GIP in urine to reveal gluten consumption will likely help lead to new and non-invasive methods for monitoring gluten-free diet compliance. The test is sensitive, specific and simple enough for clinical monitoring of celiac patients, as well as for basic and clinical research applications including drug development.
    Source:
    Gut. 2017 Feb;66(2):250-257.  doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2015-310148.