On Christmas Day, 8-year-old Ray Varghese ate a piece of chocolate containing peanuts and, instantly, he began having breathing problems. Then he had an anaphylactic reaction and went into respiratory and cardiac arrest. As a result, he suffered permanent brain damage and quadriplegia.
Robert Ross, a founding partner of Ross Feller Casey, argued at trial that the boy’s pediatrician and allergist were negligent for failing to warn Varghese’s parents about the life-threatening nature of the allergy and because they didn’t order an EpiPen, which could have prevented the incident. The pediatrician knew Varghese had the allergy since he was 2 years old when he had a reaction from a peanut M&M.
The jury awarded a $10 million verdict in what is believed to be the first successful case in which the plaintiff knowingly ate a known allergen. For that, Ross was distinguished as the “Litigator of the Month” by the prestigious National Law Journal. In the article, Ross called the verdict “a wake-up call” for physicians across the nation about the dangers of peanut allergies.