George Toubbeh alleges he suffered severe abdominal pain in August 2015 after he drank from a 24-ounce Heineken he bought from a Ralphs in Fountain Valley, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court on Friday.
The Ralphs chain is owned by Ohio-based Kroger.
According to the suit, Toubbeh noticed that the beer had a foul taste and he immediately began having abdominal pain and started vomiting. His daughter examined the can of beer and found two juvenile leopard geckos inside, the suit states. Geckos are a type of lizard.
“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 states.
Heineken USA, a subsidiary of the Dutch brewing company, said in a statement that it “holds the safety and integrity of the products we import to the highest standards. We have investigated this isolated claim, and based on a number of factors, we confidently believe there is no merit to this claim.”
Toubbeh said he went to the emergency room at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and was prescribed Xanax, a sedative, and Zofran, which helps treat nausea and vomiting.
The suit says he continued to suffer from severe gastrointestinal ailments, emotional distress and anxiety and missed several weeks of work as a result.
John Montevideo, Toubbeh’s attorney, said his law firm, DiMarco Araujo Montevideo, independently examined the beer can and had the geckos evaluated by a zoologist.
“We feel the action is meritorious and viable,” he said.
Toubbeh is seeking unspecified general damages, medical expenses, lost earnings and the cost of the lawsuit.