McDonald's liability lawsuit: Metal in Oakhurst biscuits & gravy

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- A drive-through breakfast in Oakhurst ended with a bloody ride in an ambulance for a woman who is now suing McDonald's over what she swallowed.

A sharp piece of metal -- about as long as a nickel is wide -- changed the trajectory of Celest Mallett's life.

In a lawsuit filed last month, she says she ingested it when she ate biscuits and gravy from the drive-through of the Oakhurst McDonald's.

"On her third bite, she felt something very sharp and painful in the back of her throat," said plaintiff's attorney Andrew Ryan. "She started coughing up blood, like really heavy blood."

Ryan says Mallett and her boyfriend immediately knew she needed medical attention and with the local urgent care closed, she headed for St. Agnes in Fresno.

But the bleeding got so severe, they called for an ambulance.

An endoscopy revealed the problem and doctors removed it.

But seven months later, Mallett's voice still hasn't healed.

"She misses work every now and then," Ryan said. "She's a hotel concierge. She simply can't talk. She's got a really scratchy voice on other days."

Mallett couldn't do an interview with us or go to work Wednesday because of her voice.

She's in her late twenties and loves singing, but the damage to her throat won't let her for now.

Her attorney says food workers are trained to make sure they don't serve contaminated items, but something went wrong at this restaurant.

"We don't know in this case exactly what happened and how that metal ended up in the food," Ryan said. "But commonly we do find sometimes that in these manufacturing plants, metal can come off. We've seen it before in some of the packaging materials perhaps."

McDonald's and franchise owner John Abbate told us "The health and safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we take these claims seriously. However, we do not comment on pending litigation."

Legal analyst Tony Capozzi says this litigation is almost a slam dunk because there's not much McDonald's can say to defend itself.

"One is that 'it really didn't come from us. We don't have any kind of material like that in our premises,'" Capozzi said.

Capozzi says the real question will be: What are the damages?

Mallett will see an ear, nose, and throat doctor soon.

But if she's missing work because of her injuries and the impairment is long-lasting, Capozzi says the damages could end up being significant.

The parties will be scheduled to meet in court in the coming months, but if the case goes to trial, that won't happen for at least a couple of years.
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