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  • Jefferson Adams

    Woman Sues Hotel, Claims Non-Gluten-free Pastries Made Her Sick

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC--Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin

    Celiac.com 09/02/2016 - A Canadian woman who claims to suffer from celiac disease has sued Mohegan Sun Pocono and its buffet, Timbers, after she allegedly became ill from eating pastries mislabeled as "gluten free."

    The woman says the pastries labeled as "gluten free" at the buffet were standard non-gluten-free pastries, and says the error made her violently ill, and caused weight loss and several weeks of sickness.



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    Dianne M. Leyshon, of Terrace Avenue, Harding, claims that, at a brunch served on July, 27, 2014, Timbers Buffet represented the desserts as gluten-free. The complaint alleges Leyshon became "violently ill" after she ate "several pastries."

    Gluten can inflame and damage the inner lining of the small intestine if eaten by those with celiac disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. She was later taken via ambulance to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center with "severe dehydration" and continued to feel the injuries' effects weeks later, losing as much as eight pounds in the process, according to the complaint.

    The complaint seeks a sum in excess of what Leyshon would stand to win through out-of-court arbitration as well as costs and interest.

    A Mohegan Sun Pocono spokesperson has not yet returned comment.

    Read more at the Timesleader.com.


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    I'm truly sorry that this happened to someone, but that is the risk you take when you eat somewhere other than home. I'm sure no-one did it intentionally. Humans make mistakes. I know this when I eat out. It is a risk I take. It's the constant threat of litigation that is going to make it more difficult for people with celiac disease. For many establishments, it just won't be worth the risk.

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    Good! I hope she wins! It's about time restaurants took gluten and allergies seriously! They can be life threatening! Myself I once had a Frappuccino at Starbucks, and was very careful to make sure it was gluten free, but the crumbles they put on top of the cream were made of graham ( wheat). I was so sick for many days!

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    A few months ago I, too, was severely glutened at a 5 star resort. The bread and salad they served were gluten-free but the meal was not. I have never been so sick. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with late onset adult diabetes. Coincidence?! To sue or not to sue?!

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    I recently encountered gluten from using Thera Putty for my sprained wrist. My entire alimentary canal was on FIRE for 2.5 months! I lost 11 pounds, only slept 3 - 4 hours a night and aged 5 years or more. My Hashimoto´s antibodies went from 400 to over 1400. I feel the company should also be sued along with the hospital who failed to warn me where I had the occupational therapy.

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    So scary! It's things like that that worry me and make me want to only eat pre-packaged things I bring with me (or at least lower risk grilled meat, etc. vs. pastries)! I am so sorry that happened to her and while I hate to see people sue, sometimes that's the only way to get people to take things seriously.

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    I'm truly sorry that this happened to someone, but that is the risk you take when you eat somewhere other than home. I'm sure no-one did it intentionally. Humans make mistakes. I know this when I eat out. It is a risk I take. It's the constant threat of litigation that is going to make it more difficult for people with celiac disease. For many establishments, it just won't be worth the risk.

    Well put, I agree completely.

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    I hate getting contaminated foods (or wrong foods) like I did once at P.F. Changs, I was in severe pain for about an hour in a hotel room without any medications (worst experience of my life), but suing will only cause restaurants to STOP serving gluten-free options. I try to educate each and every one of my waiters/waitresses so that they understand the severity of the situation if I receive contaminated foods!

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    A lawsuit will go a long way toward ruining things for all celiacs like myself who appreciate the fact that many restaurants go out of their way to offer gluten-free foods. Why should restaurants take the chance? Did this person have serious consequences requiring hospitalization that might somehow be cause for a lawsuit? Yesmin did a nice job of explaining how to help educate others. We have to specify that we are celiac. I just ate at a restaurant, ordered from their gluten-free menu and received my meal. I was about to eat and noted the gravy on the potatoes, so I asked if the gravy was gluten-free. It was a mistake. They were not. The restaurant was horrified and remade the dinner. They are trying, but we ourselves have to be vigilant and proactive. Restaurants have much to deal with and many people to please.

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    Many restaurants present disclaimers to its patrons as it relates to allergens and gluten-free products. The problem is that there are NO celiac-safe restaurants. Additionally, it is difficult to prove that the above client reacted to gluten as opposed to one of many gluten cross-reactors e.g. yeast, egg and dairy.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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