Man Sues Baseball Team After Father Dies in Taco Eating Contest

A man from Fresno, California, is suing a baseball team after his father died during an amateur taco eating contest in 2019, according to the Fresno Bee. Marshall Hutchings, 18, filed the lawsuit on Monday against Fresno Sports and Events LLC, the owners of the Fresno Grizzlies. He alleges his father Dana Hutchings, 41, was not made aware of the risks and danger involved in a food-eating competition. Marshall Hutchings is seeking undisclosed monetary damages for the death of his father.

Hutchings' attorney Martin Taleisnik, said professional eaters train and make themselves physically ready to compete in an eating contest. "But that is not always present in an amateur eating contest,” Taleisnik said. “The conductors of this event should have made the risks known to the competitors and taken steps to protect them." Taleisnik also said the consumption of alcohol also played in risk.

The lawsuit states: “Fresno Sports and Event, LLC., failed to fully inform decedent, Dana Hutchings, of every risk he was accepting when he agreed to enter the amateur taco-eating competition. The lack of information outlining every risk to amateur eaters was omitted and Mr. Hutchings entered the competition with limited information on all the risks he was agreeing to. His assumption of risk was distorted, and therefore, he was unable to assume the risks he was taking when he agreed to enter the competition."

Dana Hutchings collapsed several minutes into the eating contest. The Fresno Bee states he had a mouth full of chewed and unchewed tacos obstructing his respiratory system. The staff at Chukchansi Park rushed to his aid and called 911. The first responders arrived, they found Hutchings unconscious. He was pronounced dead once he was transported to a local hospital.

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The Fresno Grizzlies are a Minor League Baseball team that is affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. The team accepted to be a Rockies affiliate in February, which will last through the 2030 season. The Grizzlies were previously affiliates of the Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants.

“We are extremely excited for the opportunity to introduce the Colorado Rockies to our community and are looking forward to this new chapter in our organization’s history,” said Grizzlies President Derek Franks. “I know that the Rockies will not only be a great partner for us, but for the Central Valley as a whole, and I can’t wait to welcome them to the electric atmosphere that our fans bring to Chukchansi Park.”