Woman sues over needle in Astoria fast-food meal

By Dustin Brown

A Bronx woman who says she bit into a needle lodged in a breakfast sandwich at a Burger King in Astoria has filed suit seeking $11 million in damages, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Angelina Cruz, 22, claims in the suit filed in State Supreme Court in Bronx County that she has endured significant psychological and physical damages since the incident, causing her “to live day to day with the constant reasonable fear that she has contracted an infectious disease.”

Her attorney, David Seidemann of Brooklyn, said Cruz bought a croissant with egg, cheese and sausage at about 8:30 a.m. June 18 from the Burger King at 33-10 Astoria Blvd., where she regularly stops for breakfast before heading to work at a nearby jewelry store.

“She takes a first bite and everything’s OK. She takes a second bite and something pierces her cheek,” Seidemann said. “She spits it out into a napkin and sees it’s covered in blood, and she sees she has a puncture wound in her cheek.”

Cruz was treated at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens following the incident.

Kim Miller, a spokeswoman for Burger King Corp., said Tuesday the company had yet to receive a copy of the suit, which it only learned about following a news conference held by Cruz and Seidemann Friday.

“We are deeply troubled by this allegation,” Miller said. “We are in the process of investigating it now that we have heard of this individual’s claim.”

The suit names Burger King Corp., based in Miami, as well as the local Astoria Burgers Company Inc. and Creative Foods Corporation of Long Island.

Cruz put on hold her plans to be married on Nov. 22 out of concern that she has contracted an infectious disease from the needle, Seidemann said. She’s also afraid of passing on any disease to her fiancé or her two young children, the lawyer said.

“The main problem is she’s in a total panic attack,” Seidemann said. “We’re not sure exactly what it is, we’re not sure where it came from and we’re not sure if it’s infected or not.”

Seidemann said the $9 million damages being sought is meant to cover his client’s medical bills and what he termed her “mental anguish.” She is currently under the care of a psychiatrist, he said.

The suit also seeks $1 million in damages for each of her two children, a 17-month-old daughter and 5-year-old son, whom the suit claims have been deprived of their mother’s physical affection since the incident.

Seidemann said they believe the needle was the tip of a syringe, because it has an opening at one end. Test results on the needle are pending, he said.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.