Family Sues Baseball Team After Dad Dies In Taco Eating Contest
A son is suing the owners of the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team after his father choked to death at an amateur taco-eating contest at one of the minor league games.
Dana Hutchings took part in the contest in Chukchansi Park in California on August 13, 2019, when he and other participants competed during a Fresno Grizzlies game to eat as many tacos as possible within a certain amount of time.
His son, 18-year-old Marshall Hutchings, has alleged that Dana was not made aware of the risks and dangers involved in the eating competition that ultimately caused his death.
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In a lawsuit filed on Monday, April 5, Hutchings sued Fresno Sports and Events, the owner of the Grizzlies, for negligence and wrongful death. He is asking a judge to award him major damages.
Hutchings’ attorney, Martin Taleisnik, has noted that professionals who take part in competitive eating typically train and make themselves physically ready before taking part in a competition, but ‘that is not always present in an amateur eating contest’.
According to the lawsuit, cited by TMZ, Hutchings says people attempted to save his father with CPR and a defibrillator, before paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead less than half an hour later.
The 18-year-old is arguing that Fresno Sports and Events did not have the competence or experience to safely hold an eating competition with novices, and that members of the public who are not familiar with the contests are not equipped to compete safely.
Taleisnik told NBC News: ‘The conductors of this event should have made the risks known to the competitors and taken steps to protect them.’
Witnesses at the taco eating event said Dana appeared to be eating his food much quicker than the other participants, The Independent reports, with baseball fan Eric Schmidt recalling: ‘He said he was going to enter a taco eating contest and has been not eating all day to make himself a winner. I mean, he was hungry, you could tell. He was winning.’
Following Dana’s death, organisers cancelled the World Taco Eating Championship that was scheduled to be held in Chukchansi Park the following day.
In response to the lawsuit, Grizzlies President Derek Frank said the organisation would not be making any public comments.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
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