The lawsuit stems from a February 2016 incident in which Amanda and Louis Vice and family member Rhonda Agles ordered drinks from a Starbucks in downtown San Bernardino, according to local news station KTLA 5. It wasn't until after the family returned home that they noticed a red stain on and inside the cup and a "strong metallic smell" coming from the beverage.
"Once we drank it, then we could see on the inside of the rim that there was blood," Amanda Vice told the outlet, adding that her two-year-old daughter also consumed the contaminated drink.
After putting the clues together and realizing that the stain and smell pointed to blood, the family decided to call the establishment to report the incident. They were soon informed that a Starbucks employee, who had already been removed from the service line, had been bleeding.
The family was shocked.
"My wife and baby just drank someone's blood," Louis Vice told the station. "It was bad."
So what did the store manager do to ease the situation, you wonder? They were first offered free drinks for a week, before Starbucks tried to settle the issue by offering $1,000 to each family member involved in the incident, according to the family.
"I thought it was sort of belittling," Amanda told CBS LA. "I'd thought maybe I'd be a little more at peace if they would have tested the one who was bleeding."
As the story goes, when the Vices made their proposal, the store manager initially agreed, but the employee was never "forced" to get a blood test. So with no results coming in from Starbucks, the family opted to get themselves tested.
"The family was then left to schedule their own blood tests, causing extreme distress for the parents as they had to watch their daughter be poked with a needle and agonizingly wait for the results," a statement from Frish Law Group, a Los Angeles-based firm representing the family, said. "This caused the family stress, nervousness, fright, anguish, grief, worry and shock for several months while awaiting the second round of test results."
Initial blood tests for the family came back negative for blood-borne diseases, but the family then conducted a second round to make sure they were in the clear.
"We felt sick to our stomachs; we shouldn't have to worry about going to get something to drink and there being blood in our drink where we could get sick," Amanda told KTLA 5. "It's very stressful."
Unsure how to proceed with Starbucks, the family reached out to the Frish Law Group to see what could be done.
"The intention was always to try and resolve this with Starbucks," Stan Pekler, a lawyer for the firm, told CBS Los Angeles. "And had they acted in a responsible way, we wouldn't be here today."
The family is seeking damages from the coffee company for alleged negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault, negligent hiring and negligent training and supervision.
Starbucks responded to the lawsuit in a statement saying, "we are aware of this claim that allegedly took place in 2016 and are prepared to present our case in court."