U.S. NEWS

Family Of Actor Chantel Giacalone Awarded $29 Million In Peanut Allergy Case

Giacalone suffered severe brain damage after an allergic reaction in 2013 that left her paralyzed and unable to eat on her own.
In this file photo, actor Chantel Giacalone attends "Skyler" Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall during the 2011 L.A. Film and Mus
In this file photo, actor Chantel Giacalone attends "Skyler" Premiere at Laemmle Music Hall during the 2011 L.A. Film and Music Weekend Festival on March 25, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. 

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury has awarded $29.5 million to the family of a woman who was left brain damaged after being treated for a severe allergic reaction by an ambulance service in Las Vegas in 2013.

Then-27-year-old Chantel Giacalone went into anaphylactic shock after biting into a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday. Giacalone, an aspiring actor, had roles in “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” and the web series “Hollow Walls.”

Giacalone’s lawyer, Christian Morris, said she lost oxygen to her brain for a period of minutes after seeking treatment from MedicWest Ambulance, which was running the medic station that day.

Morris argued in a civil lawsuit that MedicWest Ambulance negligently treated her allergic reaction.

He argued that neither of the two medics on-site that day had IV epinephrine, an adrenaline treatment for severe allergic reactions that is required by the Southern Nevada Health District. According to testimony during a three-week trial, the requirement was established by a task force the company sits on.

Morris said the medics instead deployed intramuscular epinephrine, but IVs are required for full anaphylaxis.

He argued the cost of the drug was only $2.42. The lawsuit was seeking more than $60 million in damages for medical expenses and emotional suffering.

MedicWest denied any wrongdoing and said the outcome was inevitable because of Giacalone’s heightened sensitivity to peanuts. Attorney William Drury argued Giacalone never lost consciousness.

“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” father Jack Giacalone said after the verdict was read on Friday. “All the anguish that we’ve been through for the last eight years, I’m not happy about. I just hope MedicWest changes their ways.”

Jack Giacalone and his wife provide 24-hour care to their quadriplegic daughter, who has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes, according to the Review-Journal.

In this undated photo, Chantel Giacalone (left) lies in a hospital bed after suffering brain damage from an allergic reaction
In this undated photo, Chantel Giacalone (left) lies in a hospital bed after suffering brain damage from an allergic reaction. On the right, her father, Jack Giacalone, speaks to her.

Hayley Miller contributed reporting.