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Man with severe allergy sues Starbucks for serving him the wrong drink

The alleged incident occurred at a store location in Portland, Oregon.
A Starbucks coffee shop is seen Warsaw, Poland on April 2, 2018.Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

It isn’t uncommon for a coffee shop employee to occasionally mess up a latte order, but Starbucks is now being sued after a barista's alleged mistake left a man in the hospital.

Max Scher, a 34-year-old based in Portland, Oregon, is suing the coffee chain for $10,000 after he claims he was served a coffee drink made with almond milk instead of soy milk. Scher says he suffers from a life-threatening nut allergy so the mistake had major consequences.

Starbucks coffee
An Oregon man with a severe nut allergy has sued Starbucks, alleging that the coffee chain served him a drink made with almond milk. Starbucks

The alleged incident happened in May, but Scher's lawsuit was filed Monday in the Multnomah County Circuit Court of Oregon. Portland-based attorney Michael Fuller is representing the plaintiff.

Scher told The Oregonian that he’s a regular Starbucks customer. Every time he places an order, he says he always cautions the employees to “be careful” because of his severe allergy.

On the day that the alleged incident occurred at a Jantzen Beach Starbucks location, Scher said when he picked up his drink it was labeled with “soy milk” on the cup, so he had no idea that something would be amiss.

“I had three sips before my reaction started, and that’s way too much to have in my system,” he said.

Scher soon realized there had been a mistake when his throat started to itch. He immediately took two Benadryl pills and gave himself an EpiPen injection. When those medications proved ineffective, Scher drove himself to the hospital.

By the time he arrived at the closest medical center, Scher said he was throwing up. His throat soon started to swell shut and his chest tightened, making it hard to breathe.

Even though Scher says he has health insurance, he claims he has incurred significant costs as a result of the incident. He's suing Starbucks to help cover those bills.

“The point of my lawsuit is I just can’t afford my medical bills, and it doesn’t feel right that I should have to spend over $4,000 because they made a mistake," Scher said.

A representative for Starbucks provided TODAY with the following statement regarding Scher’s claim: “Our partners (employees) take great care in ensuring each one of our customers’ beverages are customized as ordered. We take allegations like this seriously and are thoroughly investigating this situation."