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Stew Leonard’s is facing a wrongful death from the estate of a women with a peanut allergy. The women died after she ate a cookie of without label and suffered a severe reaction.

Orla Ruth Baxendale, 25 , died on 11 Jan. She died after eating a Florentine cookie sold by Stew Leonard’s and went into anaphylactic shock, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Waterbury, Connecticut. The Stew Leonard sold holiday cookie, Stew’s brand at stores in Danbury and Newington in late 2023 before the grocery store.
These cookies were produced by Cookie United, a wholesaler from Long Island, there name was also named in the lawsuit along with several Stew’s employees.
The lawsuit stated the properly label on the cookie package “was grossly negligent, intentional, reckless, callous, indifferent to human life, and a wanton violation as the manufacturer and seller were required under the law to properly declare the ingredients.”
A spokesperson from Stew Leonard’s side, which has eight stores in New York. New Jersey and Connecticut said they could not comment on pending litigation.
President and CEO Stew Leonard Jr. said after Baxendale’s death, “It was a holiday cookie, it was a one-shot deal. But we bought it from an outside supplier, and unfortunately the supplier changed the recipe and started going from soy nuts to peanuts, and our chief safety officer here at Stew Leonard’s was never notified.” Stores had sold approximately 500 packages of the cookies before the recall, as reported by Leonard.

Baxendale lived in United Kingdom, she moved to New York in 2018 to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer. When she ate the cookie at that time she was in Connecticut to perform. “Her death was completely, 100% preventable and avoidable. This is why packaging is so important,” Marijo Adimey, the family’s attorney, told CBS New York two weeks after Baxendale died.
Adimey said Baxendale’s friends told her she checked the ingredients list before she ate the cookie. Adimey said, “To make sure that there wasn’t anything in terms of peanuts on the label. There wasn’t. So, safely she thought, she had a bite or two of the cookie, and within a minute started to go into anaphylactic shock,”
According to her family’s arrorney, Baxendale “carried EpiPens everywhere she went”. But Dr. Nidhi Kumar, New York Medical Contributor said it may not have been enough to prevent anaphylactic shock. “People that have very severe allergies, they may need multiple doses. With anaphylaxis our blood vessels dilate, so what an EpiPen is doing is counteracting that, having your blood vessels constrict.” The lawsuit is now seeking an unspecified amount of money for the damages.

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