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Originally published April 21 2012

Costco sued after man dies choking on free steak sample

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) We live in such a litigious culture that anyone can sue for any reason. Daytime TV shows even feature small claims court hearings presided over by actual judges. Apparently everyone wins on those hearings regardless of the outcome. They all get paid for agreeing to go on the TV show and they get their five minutes of fame.

Outside of small claims, the court system is overburdened with lawsuits. Some suits filed against large corporations are justified, especially class action suits against chemical companies, tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies and others associated with the medical cartel.

It seems the only way to curb their sociopathic activities and get compensated for damages or injuries sustained from hazardous products or dangerous practices.

But too often frivolous personal injury claims are filed with compensation demands so high it makes one wonder about the sanity of it all. The plaintiffs with those demands usually want someone to be responsible for their own stupid actions. Usually that someone has "deep pockets".

Here's an example: Robert Harris choked and died from a piece of steak given to him in a San Francisco CostCo store. Tri-tip steak pieces were prepared and distributed as samples from a Warehouse Demo Services (WDS) table. According to the server, Deanna Gehrett, Harris came back to the table frantically pointing to his throat and chest while unable to speak.

An off duty fire fighter came to Harris's aid and tried the Heimlich maneuver on Harris, but the piece of steak remained lodged in his throat and he died. So the Harris family is suing CostCo and WDS. Both CostCo and WDS moved for a summary judgment, arguing they weren't responsible for how customers consume samples.

But District Judge Claudia Wilken rejected their argument and ruled the case could move to a jury trial in June of this year (2012). She ruled that preliminary evidence from witnesses was sufficient for a jury to decide the standard size for steak samples.

A doctor had testified that if the steak piece had been smaller than the one served, which was one by three inches, the Heimlich maneuver could have worked and saved his life.

If the Harris family wins this case or gets a sizeable settlement out of court, don't be surprised to see large signs at sample tables warning you to chew your sample carefully before swallowing. After all, you are not expected to exercise common sense and be responsible for your own safety.

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