Eat too fast and you might choke.
A California man claims that a local baseball team did not share that warning with participants in a taco-eating contest, after his dad died during one such event at a Fresno stadium.
Marshall Hutchings, 18, is suing the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team for negligence in the death of his father Dana, who choked on tacos during an amateur eating competition at a game on Aug. 13, 2019. The Fresno County Coroner’s Office ruled that the elder Hutchings, 41, died of choking.
The lawsuit filed on Monday claims that Fresno Sports and Events, which owns the Grizzlies, did not adequately warn the victim about the risks and dangers involved with shovelling tacos into his mouth at a rapid pace.
Marshall Hutchings is seeking undisclosed monetary damages for the death of his father, the Fresno Bee reports.
Hutchings’ lawyer, Martin Taleisnik, points out that professional eaters go to great lengths to prepare themselves for such a contest.
“That is not always present in an amateur eating contest,” he told the Bee. “The conductors of this event should have made the risks known to the competitors and taken steps to protect them.”
He added that it was Hutchings’ first time participating in an eating contest.
Competitors were challenged to eat as many tacos as possible within a window of time.
Hutchings drank a few beers that day but otherwise fasted before the contest, according to initial reports in August 2019.
“He was hungry, you could tell,” witness Eric Schmidt told ABC 30 at the time. “He was winning because he was starving.”
“It was like he’d never eaten before,” baseball fan Matthew Boylan told the Fresno Bee in 2019. “He was just shoving the tacos down his mouth without chewing.”
The team cancelled the contest after Hutchings’ death.
“We won’t be making any public comments,” the team’s president said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed this week.
— With files from The Associated Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.