Olivehurst woman sues Wal-Mart over cracked tooth
An Olivehurst woman is suing Wal-Mart for $112,000 after, her lawsuit says, she bit into a tomato with a half-inch screw inside and cracked a tooth — leaving her able to consume only liquids and mashed foods and to lose 50 pounds.
"My face is very sallow looking, leading many friends and family to believe that I am doing harmful drugs to lose weight, putting a strain on my social life," said Carmel Garcia, 52, in the suit filed in Yuba County Superior Court.
"I am embarrassed by the way I look now and I see the looks of others as they stare at me, especially those who've known me before the injury — the encounter with the 'foreign object' in the grape tomato," Garcia states in the suit.
She said she has gone from a size 14 dress size to a 6 since biting into the tomato on Dec. 3, 2010, the same afternoon she shopped at the Walmart store in Linda.
"I am embarrassed of this — for having to eat a particular way, mashing foods like a geriatric when eating out and with friends in a social setting," Garcia added.
Garcia, as part of her court filing, noted the two-year deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said in an email, "We have high standards that we've set for ourselves and that our customers expect from us every day."
"We take food safety very seriously and are committed to providing our customers with safe and high-quality foods," Hargrove said. "We are reaching out to our supplier to review the allegations around the packaged product referred to in the complaint."
Garcia paid $2.48 for the plastic container of organic grape tomatoes that was part of pr duce shipment that left the United States and entered Mexico in January 2010 for a packing plant, according to her lawsuit. The produce re-entered the United States through San Diego.
Wal-Mart failed to inspect the tomatoes, she said.
"Suspecting I may encounter a 'foreign object' in my produce never, ever entered my mind, not that day, or any day," Garcia wrote.
She felt "instant and excruciating pain on the upper right side" after biting the tomato, Garcia stated. She spit out the tomato and thought it had some kind of pit and was shocked to see the screw, Garcia said.
A sore jaw, increased headaches and unbearable pain that required prescription medicine followed for several weeks, she said.
Garcia said she went to Lindhurst Family Dentistry after biting the tomato and that an exam and X-rays revealed the cracked tooth. She was referred to an oral surgeon in Yuba City, according to the lawsuit.
An April 2 case management conference is set in the case. Garcia is representing herself in the case and filed the lawsuit.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at rmccarthy@appealdemocrat. com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.