SALT LAKE CITY — A judge has rejected Coca-Cola's bid to erase itself from a South Jordan man's lawsuit alleging he was sickened by an opiate-spiked soda from McDonald's.
Third District Judge James Gardiner on Friday declined to dismiss the company from the suit, which claims the drink contained an opioid drug that mixed with Trevor Walker's medication in a way that could have killed him, causing him to black out and leaving him with severe anxiety.
Walker's attorneys also say the Riverton McDonald's franchise failed to supervise an employee with a history of drug use at the time of the incident two years ago.
The Coca-Cola Co. says in court filings that the soda became defective only after it fell into the hands of a McDonald's employee and no one else who ordered a Diet Coke from the restaurant became sick that day. They note that Walker's attorneys have tweaked the suit to remove the Coke distributor previously listed as a defendant.
But the judge wrote in his order Friday that Walker alleges the drink could have been contaminated before it reached the restaurant.2 comments on this story
Walker's attorneys argue he ordered meals for his family from the drive-thru on Aug. 12, 2016, along with two Diet Cokes for him and his wife. He sipped one of the sodas on the way home and later was holding his infant when he lost feeling in his arms and legs and then blacked out, the suit alleges. Utah's state crime lab tested a sample of the drink and detected buprenorphine, a drug used to treat pain and painkiller addiction, his attorneys argue.
The fast-food restaurant's surveillance footage was deleted, even though police immediately began investigating, the suit states, and two employees quit a short time after officers questioned them.
McDonald's in court filings says the alleged behavior is a crime that can't be attributed to the employer.