Restaurant Sued After Child Suffers Fatal Allergic Reaction

In Chicago, the parents of a seventh-grade student whose death was caused by an allergic reaction to peanuts has sued the restaurant that provided the food. 13-year-old Katelyn Carlson died last year following a school party in which she ate food provided by a Chinese restaurant. The parents have filed a wrongful-death suit against the restaurant. According to the Chicago Tribune, they claim that their daughter's teacher told the restaurant not to serve any dish containing peanut products (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-03-18/news/ct-met-peanut-allergy...).

The family's attorney, Gil Ross, said that school officials had been aware of the girl's severe peanut allergies. According to the lawsuit, Carlson's teacher Jack Matsumoto spoke to the employees of the Chinese Inn Restaurant in advance of the party. He allegedly asked them to avoid peanut products, including any oils or sauces that might contain peanuts, while preparing the meals served to students at the Edison Regional Gifted Center.

Ross said "The school has advised us that they placed an order for Chinese food as a end-of-the-year party for a class of gifted children and that the restaurant had been advised that there were children who had food allergies, including peanut allergies, and that there should be no foods provided that had peanut products," Ross said.

Despite this advisory, one of the dishes served that day did contain peanuts, and seventh grader Katelyn Carlson suffered a fatal allergic reaction.

Should the restaurant be held liable for inadvertently serving peanut products to an allergic child?

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