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Lawsuit Alleges SoCal Starbucks Barista Seeped Blood Into Coffee Drinks

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A Redlands-based family is seeking unspecified damages

A starbucks logo seen in Szczecin...
Starbucks logo hanging over a store
Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After noticing a bloody smear on the side of their Starbucks drinks, a Redlands family is suing the Seattle mega coffee chain for suffering from “extreme distress” over the possibility of contracting a blood-borne disease. The lawsuit alleges Starbucks had no concern for the family’s well-being, according to the Pasadena Star News.

Amanda and Louis Vice, his mother, Rhonda Agles, and the Vices’ four-year-old daughter, Payton Vice, are the plaintiffs in the suit. The family ordered coffee drinks at a downtown San Bernardino Starbucks in on Feb. 6, 2016, and noticed blood-stained cups after leaving the premises.

After inspecting the family, none of the blood came from the plaintiffs. A call to that Starbucks allegedly revealed the employee had been bleeding. A manager told the family the employee in question had been removed from the floor, and offered the family free coffee drinks for one week. The family declined, and requested the barista take a blood test. The suit alleges that a Starbucks customer service rep told Agles the company could not force the barista to take a blood test. This was allegedly after the store manager agreed that Starbucks should pay for the employee’s blood test.

The plaintiffs allegedly spent months worrying they might have HIV, or another blood-borne illness, and took two blood tests six months apart. Both came back negative. Frish Law Group, which represents the family, issued a statement claiming Starbucks offered each family member $1,000. The statement also says the plaintiffs are seeking damages “based on a failure to warn, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, negligent hiring and negligent training and supervision.“ The same statement also alleges the family experienced undue stress, because Starbucks was not concerned about their health, while refusing instruct the employee to get a blood test.

The suit was filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court on January 30, 2018.