Woman sues store after drinking laxative in Coke

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It may have been a not-so-innocent employee prank gone wrong that sickened a Kansas City woman.

Barbara J. Nelson isn’t laughing.

This week, she filed a lawsuit alleging that she became ill after drinking most of a bottle of laxative-laced Coca-Cola she bought Sept. 10 at the Family Dollar store on Troost Avenue.

Police reports suggested the incident stemmed from an attempt by an assistant store manager to “prank” another employee. The worker purportedly had a “notorious” reputation for stealing food from an employee refrigerator.

The assistant manager allegedly confessed to officers that he put 25 laxative tablets into each of two plastic bottles of Coca-Cola and resealed the caps with glue to hide any tampering. He then allegedly put the bottles into an employee refrigerator at the rear of the store, “with the intention that (the other employee) would take and drink both of the Cokes, even though they were not his drinks,” said the police report.

That employee, however, noticed the tablets. Instead of discarding the bottles, he allegedly moved them to a cooler at the front of the store intended for customers, police said.

Video surveillance confirmed that Nelson, 54, purchased one of the Cokes.

After consuming part, Nelson noticed un-dissolved pills in the cola and returned. She became ill at the store and an ambulance took her to a hospital.

Nelson alleged that she suffered “violent consequences” and “severe mental and physical injuries” after drinking the Coke.

“I had a panic attack,” she said. “It was close to 9/11 and I didn’t know what was in that bottle.”

Nelson’s lawyer, Chuck Chionuma, said his client’s medical conditions were made worse by the laxative.

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