Killer meatloaf? Lawsuit claims couple died after tainted restaurant meal

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FILE PHOTO: Meatloaf. Image courtesy Renee Comet.

Editor’s Note: The restaurant chain “Bob Evans” is not affiliated with FOX 13 News anchor Bob Evans.

By Kevin Conlon


(CNN) — The children of an elderly West Virginia couple who passed away months apart in late 2012 and early 2013 are blaming their deaths on a restaurant chain’s meatloaf.

Mark and Ann Starcher say a tainted meal that their parents shared from a local Bob Evans restaurant in October 2012 made them so “violently ill” that it ultimately led to their deaths, according to a lawsuit they’ve filed against the Ohio-based chain.

According to the complaint, about nine hours after consuming a meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and a roll, Virginia Starcher– who went by “Ginny” — “fell violently ill” shortly before Harold Starcher “also became violently ill but was able to call 911 for ambulance transport for both.”

Both were told by emergency room staff at Jackson General Hospital in Ripley, West Virginia, that they had “suffered from food poising from consuming the tainted meal from Bob Evans.”

The next day, the children allege that their dad — who went by the nickname “Punk,” — “suffered a stroke after becoming violently ill from consuming the tainted meal from Bob Evans,” resulting in both parents being moved into a rehabilitation facility.

Neither would return home.

About two months later, Ginny, who served in the West Virginia Legislature in the 1980s, died in hospice care. Punk — who was healthy, active and still operating his business at the time of the Bob Evans meal, according to the suit — deteriorated rapidly thereafter. The next few months of his life would be spent in an intensive care unit before he, too, passed away.

Mark and Ann Starcher want $250,000 for medical expenses from Bob Evans Restaurants, as well as an unspecified amount for the “pain, suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish and the loss of ability to enjoy life,” that was caused by their parents’ deaths.

A spokesman for the restaurant chain, which has 600 locations in 19 states, said that while it’s the company’s policy not to comment on pending litigation, “we believe this is an appropriate and important exception to the rule.”

“Bob Evans is committed to serving the safest, highest-quality foods for our guests — that is our responsibility and our priority,” said Scott Taggart, who added that the company “sympathize(s) with this family for the loss of their loved ones.” However, Taggart said that the company had done “a thorough review of the alleged claims in this matter, and quite simply, there is no basis to the allegations contained in the complaint and the suit is entirely without merit.”

The case will be heard in federal court in West Virginia early next year.

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    • laytonian

      Absolutely NOT legitimate. Bob Evans restaurants serve thousands of meat loaf meals every day. Where are all the other dead people?

      • Robin

        and it takes 12 hours or more for food poisoning to set in it was probably something that they ate or fix their selfs

  • Robin

    first of all it takes over 12 hours for you to get food poisoning wants you consume the item..second of all if they got food poisoning most likely it was what they consumed prior to Bob Evans,third maybe they should have pumped their stomach to make sure that it was not from Bob Evans restaurant and that it was from the food that they ate prior to Bob evans…all people can think of now days easy money I’m going to sue I’m going to sue

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