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.