A Presque Isle woman is suing an Ohio barbecue brush maker after having a high-carbon steel bristle fragment surgically removed from her esophagus in the summer of 2012.
Plaintiff Deborah Lamont’s case accusing the Ohio-based Precision Brush Co. of negligence and seller M2M LLC of breach of warranty was moved to federal court Monday in an order by U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby.
The lawsuit, initially filed in Aroostook County Superior Court on Jan. 5, 2015, claims that Lamont and her husband received a free brush made by Precision Brush with the purchase of a ManGrate barbecue grill their son bought them as a gift.
The lawsuit claims that in the second summer of use, a corroded bristle dislodged from the brush and became attached to a mushroom burger that Lamont cooked and ate.
That bristle became lodged in her esophagus, requiring surgery to remove it, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, Lamont’s attorney, James O’Connell of the Lewiston law firm Berman & Simmons, said the brush and grill manufacturers knowingly sold a brush containing bristles that posed a risk.
“They used materials that posed a foreseeable risk for serious injuries for their customers,” O’Connell said. “It is a known risk those bristles can break when used on a grill, and a grill is where people put food, and there is a foreseeable risk the bristles could get on the food.”
Attempts to reach Lamont on Tuesday were not successful, and O’Connell said she has indicted she does not wish to comment on the case.
The lawsuit claims both companies are entirely liable for the brush the lawsuit claims “was defective and unreasonably dangerous to foreseeable users.”
Lamont is suing for compensatory damages as a result of her injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages during the ordeal.
The companies, which are not based in Maine, advocated for moving the case to federal court because the plaintiffs and defendants are located in different states. Hornby directed the companies to file with the U.S. District Court a duplicate record of all materials filed in state court by March 2.
BDN writer Julia Bayly contributed to this report.