California family sues baseball team after father chokes to death during a taco eating contest

 The son of a California man who choked to death during an amateur taco eating contest at a minor league baseball game is suing the event's organizers for negligence. 

Eighteen-year-old Marshall Hutchings' lawsuit filed Monday alleges his father, Dana Hutchings, was not made aware of the risks and danger involved in an eating competition, the Fresno Bee reported. 

The 41-year-old died after choking on tacos while competing in the contest held at Chukchansi Park during a Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game on August 13, 2019. 

Participants competed to devour as many tacos as possible during a certain amount of time.

The lawsuit, in which Hutchings is seeking undisclosed monetary damages, names Fresno Sports and Events, the owner of the Grizzlies.

Dana Hutchings, 41, died after choking on tacos while competing in an amateur eating contest held at Chukchansi Park during a Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game on August 13, 2019

Dana Hutchings, 41, died after choking on tacos while competing in an amateur eating contest held at Chukchansi Park during a Fresno Grizzlies minor league baseball game on August 13, 2019 

Derek Frank, the president of the team, said it 'won't be making any public comments,' on the case. 

Professionals in the sport of competitive eating train and make themselves physically ready to participate, Hutchings' attorney Martin Taleisnik said.

'But that is not always present in an amateur eating contest. The conductors of this event should have made the risks known to the competitors and taken steps to protect them.' 


Taleisnik said the availability of alcohol during the event added to the risk. 

'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.'

Hutchings had never participated in an amateur eating contest before and collapsed several minutes in. 

Eighteen-year-old Marshall Hutchings' lawsuit filed Monday alleges his father was not made aware of the risks and danger involved in the eating competition, the Fresno Bee reported. Pictured: Chukchansi Park, where the contest took place [File photo]

Eighteen-year-old Marshall Hutchings' lawsuit filed Monday alleges his father was not made aware of the risks and danger involved in the eating competition, the Fresno Bee reported. Pictured: Chukchansi Park, where the contest took place [File photo]

According to the lawsuit, his mouth was full of chewed and unchewed tacos, which obstructed his respiratory system.

Staff from the park rushed to perform first aid and called 911, the Fresno Bee reported. 

Emergency personnel found Hutchings unconscious and he was later pronounced dead at the Community Regional Medical Center. 

Speaking shortly after Hutchings' death, Grizzlies president Frank said that it was 'devastated'.

'The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr Hutchings. The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested.'  

Pictured: The World Taco Eating Championship on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California in 2019. Unlike the competition Hutchings took part in, the world championships include professionals [File photo]

Pictured: The World Taco Eating Championship on the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California in 2019. Unlike the competition Hutchings took part in, the world championships include professionals [File photo]

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