Mac Attack

A cancer patient sues McDonald's, contending a peppered burrito caused his nosebleed

The allegations are denied by Don Clark, president of Double Arches Corporation, the area McDonald's franchise that is a defendant in the suit. "After a thorough investigation, I have no reason to believe this claim has anything to do with my restaurant or my employees," he said in a faxed statement to the Houston Press. Clark notes that Long was the only customer who complained. "I believe this claim is without merit. Food safety and the safe operations of my restaurant are among my highest priorities."

Jon Opelt, executive director of Houston Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, called the lawsuit "bizarre and overreaching."

"Junk lawsuits are nothing to sneeze about -- they waste the courts' time and taxpayers' money," Opelt says. "It's unfortunate that some people would pepper the courts with petty grievances while those with legitimate injuries must wait."

Garry says his sister tried to deal with the restaurant first but was refused. Cruse believes their case is not like other lawsuits that have gained attention -- it's totally different factually from the fat kids suing McDonald's for their weight gain, he says. "I don't have any sympathy for those folks," Cruse says.

The attorney says he is still seeking information about how the pepper wound up in the burrito. Meanwhile, Marcus's mouth infection hasn't cleared up, and his health has steadily declined, Cruse says.

Instead of gumming egg burritos, Marcus now drinks 20 ounces of milk mixed with three packets of Carnation Instant Breakfast. He consumes what he can, while watching the Food Network's Iron Chef. "He's just not eating now," Garry says.

"She has to fight every day to keep him alive," Garry says of his sister. "Then something like this happens."

"I've had him 20-something years," Elaine says. "I don't want to lose him."

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