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Doctor dies at Disney World after staff assured food was allergen-free

The woman's husband is suing Disney and one of its restaurants after the couple was repeatedly assured that the food did not contain allergens.
Doctor dies at Disney World after staff promised food was allergy-free
Posted at 12:06 PM, Feb 27, 2024

A man is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and one of its restaurants after his wife, a doctor from New York, died suddenly after eating there.

Jeffrey Piccolo said Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant, located at Disney Springs in Florida, was negligent after being made aware that his wife, Kanokporn Tangsuan, had severe food allergies. He said the restaurant confirmed her food was allergen-free prior to her consuming it.

In the lawsuit, Piccolo said he and his wife had chosen to eat at Raglan Road because of Disney's commitment to safeguarding patrons with allergies.

"Raglan Road advertises and represents to the public that food allergies and/or the accommodation of persons with food allergies is a top priority and that patrons/guests may consult with a chef or special diet trained cast member before placing an order, and at all times material, plaintiff relied upon these representations in selecting Disney Springs/Raglan Road for dinner," says the lawsuit.

The incident happened on Oct. 5, when Tangsuan and her family sat down for dinner. She and her husband informed the waiter that Tangsuan was severely allergic to nuts and dairy, and required allergen-free food.

"Tangsuan and Piccolo questioned the waiter about various items on the menu to confirm whether they had allergens in them or not," the lawsuit alleges.

According to the lawsuit, the waiter asked the chef if certain foods could be prepared allergen free, and the waiter returned and confirmed that they could. He guaranteed the food would not contain any allergens. The lawsuit said the couple continued to question the waiter several more times "to be absolutely sure."

When some of the food arrived without allergen free flags, the pair again questioned the waiter, who assured them the food did not contain allergens, the lawsuit says.

After Tangsuan and her family had dinner, Piccolo returned to the room with leftover food, while Tangsuan went shopping at Disney Springs with her husband's mother, Jackie Piccolo, the lawsuit states.

Around 8:45 p.m., Tangsuan, who separated from Jackie for a short while, began to have a severe acute allergic reaction while in Planet Hollywood, the lawsuit recounts. She had severe difficulty breathing and collapsed to the floor.

A minute later, a 911 caller phoned emergency services to report Tangsuan was having a severe allergic reaction and had emergently self-administered an EpiPen. When Jackie tried to reach Tangsuan via phone, another person eventually answered and explained what happened.

Jeffrey and Jackie rushed to the hospital and were placed in a small room awaiting an update. They were eventually informed that Tangsuan had died, the lawsuit details.

A medical examiner later determined Tangsuan had died from "anaphylaxis due to elevated levels of dairy and nut in her system," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges the restaurant failed to properly train staff, failed to warn Tangsuan the food contained allergens, failed to prepare allergen-free food as promised, and said its workers failed to deliver on policies and procedures with respect to food preparation.

Tangsuan went by the name "Amy," and an online obituary lists her age as 42.

Jeffrey Piccolo's lawyer, Brian Denney, told CNN that his client is "devastated over the premature death of his beloved wife. Amy had a long life in front of her and she and Jeff had plans to start a family. This never should have happened."

"Jeff is bringing this case, in part, to prevent a tragedy like this from happening to another family," Denney said. 

Piccolo is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, per Florida's Wrongful Death Act, in addition to other damages such as mental pain and suffering, loss of companionship and protection, loss of income and medical and funeral expenses, according to the lawsuit.

Editor's note: Scripps News has reached out to Disney for comment and will update the story upon hearing back.

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