Fountain Valley Man Suing Heineken, Saying He Found Two Dead Leopard Geckos

Photo Credit: DiMarco Araujo Montevideo

FOUNTAIN VALLEY (CNS) - A Fountain Valley man is suing Heineken, saying he found two dead leopard geckos in his beer can after he noticed a foul taste, then became violently ill.

George Toubbeh says in his Orange County Superior Court lawsuit that he suffered abdominal pain and vomited in August 2015 after drinking from a 24- ounce Heineken he had purchased from a Ralphs in Fountain Valley, the Orange County Register reported. Toubbeh’s daughter later examined the beer can and found two juvenile leopard geckos inside, according to the suit. Leopard geckos are commonly sold as pets.

“When discovered, the geckos had not been decomposed at all and were likely alive when the beer was poured and sealed into the cans in the bottling and/or canning facility,” the lawsuit says.

Toubbeh, now 49, became violently ill and went to the emergency room at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, says the lawsuit filed last week. It says he continued to suffer from severe gastrointestinal ailments, emotional distress, anxiety and trauma and missed several weeks of work.

Heineken says the accusations are false.

“Heineken USA holds the safety and integrity of the products we import to the highest standards,'' spokeswoman Tara Rush says in a statement to the Register. “We have investigated this isolated claim, and based on a number of factors, we confidently believe there is no merit to this claim.''

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, also names The Kroger Co., which owns the Ralphs grocery chain.

Toubbeh’s attorney, John Montevideo, said the family brought the can with the geckos inside to his law office shortly after the incident. The lawyer had a zoologist and a lab perform examinations, he told the Register, in part to determine the breed and how decomposed the lizards were.

“We truly believe that he is credible, and we have done the independent investigation to verify what they were and their condition,'' he said. “We feel confident that this is a viable and a real issue.''

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