Suit: Daughter overdosed in White Castle bathroom, but no one helped

SHARE Suit: Daughter overdosed in White Castle bathroom, but no one helped
jnews_sat_judge_gavel_0309_8632_37238716.jpg

Sun-Times file photo

File photo

A mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against White Castle after her daughter died of a drug overdose in March in one of the hamburger chain’s bathrooms in south suburban Dolton.

Pamala Altop’s 32-year-old daughter, Catherine Altop of Cedar Lake, Indiana, suffered an overdose March 24 after going into the bathroom of a White Castle restaurant at 1400 E. Sibley Boulevard in Dolton, according to the suit and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

After entering the bathroom about 1:30 a.m., Altop locked the door, lost consciousness and collapsed, the suit says. She was found dead at 9:30 a.m.

The suit claims multiple employees, including the restaurant’s on-duty manager, knew the door was locked and remained locked without anyone leaving. Further, when employees knocked on the door, no one answered, but they made no effort to unlock the door, force entry to the bathroom, or call emergency responders.

Fire department personnel determined she had been dead for about seven hours, which meant she was alive for more than an hour after entering the bathroom. Overdose victims can be resuscitated after losing consciousness if they receive medical treatment, according to the suit.

The employees should have known she was in need of assistance, the suit says, and should have taken steps to gain access to the bathroom and summon emergency responders to treat her.

“Our thoughts and sympathy continue to be with the family, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with citizens in all our neighborhoods who are fighting an epidemic of overdoses and the tragic consequences they bring,” White Castle spokesman Jamie Richardson said in an emailed statement Monday. “Because this is a legal matter, we are unable to share any additional comments.”

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 from the chain.

The Latest
DeRozan finished with 27 points, and Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic each had 25. The three combined for 33 of the Bulls’ 35 fourth-quarter points.
“We’ll probably put [Green] back in the starting lineup [when he’s healthy] to see what that looks like,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.
The woman, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene by fire officials, police said.
A gunman who reportedly fired at neighbors, wounding one, was shot by officers about 5:35 p.m. in the 100 block of West 126th Place, according to Chicago Fire Department officials.