Minor League Baseball Team Sued by Son Whose Father Choked to Death During Taco Eating Contest

by Halle Ames

A grieving son is suing this minor league baseball team after his father died during a taco eating contest in 2019.

According to the Fresno Bee, 18-year-old Marshall Hutchings is suing the Fresno Grizzlies after his father, Dana Hutchings, died after choking on tacos. Dana was 41-year-old at the time.

Hutchings filed the lawsuit on Monday. His father “was not made aware of the risks and danger involved in a food eating competition,” he claims.

The news source reports that Marshall Hutchings is seeking an undisclosed amount of monetary damages for the incident that led to his father’s death. He says the organizers of the eating competition were negligent in their actions.

The competition was for amateur eaters to gorge themselves with as many tacos as possible in a short time. The report did not disclose the amount of time, however.

Lawsuit Over Taco Eating Competition

Hutchings’ attorney, Martin Taleisnik, condemns the competition. He said that Dana Hutchings was an amateur contestant. Therefore, he was not capable of consuming food in this manner.

“Professionals in the sport take great care to train and make themselves physically ready to participate. 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.”

Additionally, Taleisnik said that the consumption of alcohol made the competition even more dangerous.

“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 lawsuit states.

“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.”

Fresno Sports and Events LLC is the owner of the Fresno Grizzlies. Derek Franks, the president of the company, declined to comment on Monday’s lawsuit.

However, Franks released a statement after the incident in 2019. It highlights the importance of fan safety and their “condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings.”

Dana Hutchings Death

Hutchings’s unfortunate death occurred on Aug. 13, 2019, at Chukchansi Park during the minor league baseball game.

After a few minutes of the eating competition, Dana Hutchings collapsed. According to the lawsuit, the man had “a mouth full of chewed and unchewed tacos obstructing his respiratory system.”

Park staff quickly rushed in to try and save Hutchings. They then began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used an automated external defibrillator, and called 911. When medical professionals arrived on the scene, Hutchings was unconscious.

An ambulance rushed the man to Community Regional Medical Center, where doctors later pronounced him dead.