Lawsuit Filed by Family of Woman Who Died After Consuming Misidentified Cookie at Danbury Stew Leonard’s

Órla Baxendale, a dancer based in New York City, tragically lost her life in Connecticut due to what is being described as a case of “gross negligence and reckless indifference.” The incident occurred after she consumed a mislabeled cookie that was sold by the popular grocery chain, Stew Leonard’s, as reported by ABC News.

At just 25 years old, this talented individual from the United Kingdom made the bold decision to relocate to the bustling city of New York in pursuit of their dreams as a dancer.

In January 2024, while staying at a rented house in Connecticut with her dance troupe, she indulged in a delicious Florentine cookie. Little did she know that the cookie contained peanuts, which were not mentioned on the package.

According to Howard Hershenhorn, a senior partner at the law firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf, Baxendale, who suffered from a severe peanut allergy, had to utilize an EpiPen after consuming the cookie. As a result, he was promptly transported to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

She passed away due to complications from anaphylaxis.

Long Island’s Cookies United, based in Islip, manufactured the cookies that are the subject of the lawsuit. These cookies were sold at Stew Leonard’s stores in Danbury and Newington, and were labeled with Stew Leonard’s name. The lawsuit also named Cookies United as a defendant.

Stew Leonard’s, in a video statement released shortly after Baxendale’s death, defended its label process and claimed that it was not notified of the ingredient change. However, Cookies United stated that it had sent several emails alerting the grocery chain.

The lawsuit alleges that Cookies United did not adequately inform Stew Leonard’s about the presence of peanuts in the cookies. Furthermore, it claims that Stew Leonard’s disregarded the notice regarding the change in ingredients that it did receive.

According to Hershenhorn, ABC was informed about the emails well in advance but failed to take any action.

In addition, the lawsuit criticized Stew Leonard’s labeling systems, describing them as flawed, unreliable, inherently risky, undependable, untrustworthy, erratic, and unacceptable.

After Baxendale passed away, the store had to issue a recall for the seasonal Florentine cookies. This was necessary because the cookies contained peanuts and eggs, which were not declared on the packaging.

Baxendale’s legal representatives released a statement, honoring her as a “talented” dancer. They expressed that her unexpected passing was a deeply personal tragedy for her loved ones and a significant loss to the artistic community.

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