Updated May 27, 2022 - 3:15 pm
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming his iced coffee was spiked with methamphetamine during a 2020 visit to a Las Vegas drive-thru.
Steven Darnell filed the suit against the Seattle-based company Wednesday in Clark County District Court. He is represented by attorney Kevin Hanratty.
Starbucks issued the following statement on Friday in response to a request for comment on the suit:
“We are aware of the claims of this incident, which took place in 2020, and believe they are without merit. We are prepared to defend our case in court.”
The civil complaint alleges that on Sept. 11, 2020, Darnell was “in full Nevada Highway Patrol uniform in a marked police vehicle” when the trooper drove through a Starbucks drive-thru at 8975 S. Eastern Ave. and ordered an iced coffee as he normally does.
“Plaintiff drank from the beverage 2-3 times over the course of approximately 10-15 minutes while parked in the parking lot of the Starbucks in question before dumping the iced coffee out in the parking lot due to a strange aftertaste from drinking from the iced coffee,” Hanratty wrote.
Darnell started to feel sick a short time later, according to the suit. The trooper endured worsening symptoms over the next couple of hours, including burning sensations throughout his body, an upset stomach and shooting pain to his head.
“The burning sensations throughout his extremities lasted for approximately 2 weeks following the incident,” Hanratty wrote.
The lawsuit does not offer any details on how the illness was attributed to methamphetamine or the Starbucks drink.
It contends that Starbucks “is an establishment/company that condoned and encouraged antipolice rhetoric, defund the police organizations and employees to wear clothing supportive of Black Lives Matters.” The document describes Black Lives Matter, a global movement with a goal to eradicate systemic racism and to oppose violence committed against Black people, as an “anti-police” organization.
The Highway Patrol is a division of Nevada State Police, which did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
A spokesman with the Nevada Police Union that includes state troopers declined to comment on Friday.
The lawsuit, which states that Darnell is a Clark County resident, alleges negligence and seeks damages in excess of $15,000.