Lawsuit Filed After Peanut Allergy Death

Friday, Mar 18, 2011  |  Updated 9:30 PM CDT
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The family of a Chicago Public Schools student who died last year after suffering an allergic reaction to peanuts at her Northwest Side school has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese restaurant that supplied the food.

Katelyn Carlson, 13, a student at Thomas A. Edison Regional Gifted Center, died Dec. 17, 2010 after eating peanuts inside food ordered for a class party.

Carlson's seventh grade teacher ordered from Chinese Inn Restaurant, according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

The suit claims the teacher told an employee of the Chinese Inn Restaurant the food was for a class party and that students in the class had peanut allergies.  The restaurant agreed to provide food that was free of peanut oils, peanut derivatives and peanut flavorings, the suit alleges.

The girl immediately had a reaction after eating some of the food, her family said.  School officials did not give her epinephrine, which is often used to alleviate allergic reactions, because the drug had not been prescribed in her health plan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Carlson, of the 6100 block of North Karlov Avenue, was pronounced dead later the same evening at Children’s Memorial Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. An autopsy determined she died from a severe allergic reaction and her death was ruled an accident.

The suit claims the restaurant,  at 7505 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Niles, provided food containing peanuts or peanut products, carelessly prepared the food and failed to warn the purchasers of food not capable of being prepared free from peanut products.

A woman who answered the phone at the restaurant Thursday night said nobody was available to comment.

The three-count suit, filed by Katelyn Carlson’s father, Micahel Carlson Jr., is seeking more than $100,000 from the Chinese Inn Restaurant and owner Xiang Zhong Mei.

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