Son sues after his father dies in California taco-eating contest

Dana Hutchings collapsed and choked to death minutes into the amateur competition at a Fresno Grizzlies baseball game.


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Dana Hutchings
Dana Hutchings started choking and collapsed just minutes into the taco-eating contest

The son of a California man who choked to death during a taco-eating contest is suing the event’s organizers for negligence.

Marshall Hutchings, 18, alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday that his father, Dana Hutchings, 41, should have been warned of the risks and dangers of competitive eating before entering the amateur contest at a Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game, the Fresno Bee reported

The elder Hutchings had no prior experience of similar events when he joined in the competition on Aug. 13, 2019, at Chukchansi Park, the suit states.

He started choking and collapsed just minutes into the eating contest with a mouth full of chewed and unchewed tacos obstructing his respiratory system.

Following attempts to resuscitate him at the scene, Hutchings was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office later determined that the cause of death was choking.

entrance to Chukchansi Park, home of the Fresno Grizzlies, where the eating competition was held
The fatal eating competition was held at Chukchansi Park, home of the Fresno Grizzlies

Martin Taleisnik, the younger Hutchings’ attorney, argued that professional competitive eaters take care to train and prepare their bodies properly for the demands of such events.

“But that is not always present in an amateur eating contest,” Taleisnik told the newspaper.

“The conductors of this event should have made the risks known to the competitors and taken steps to protect them.”

Taleisnik also suggested that the availability and consumption of alcohol during the event added to the risks.

The suit is seeking undisclosed monetary damages from Fresno Sports and Events, the owners of the Fresno Grizzlies.

Derek Franks, president of Fresno Sports and Events, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, the newspaper reported.

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