A Morgantown man, his mother and his friend are suing McDonald's for $10 million.
The man says he bit into a hamburger and had a severe allergic reaction to the cheese melted on it.
Jeromy Jackson, who is in his early 20s, says he clearly ordered two Quarter Pounders without cheese at the McDonald's restaurant in Star City before heading to Clarksburg.
His mother Trela Jackson and friend Andrew Ellifritz are parties to the lawsuit because they say they risked their lives rushing Jeromy to United Hospital Center in Clarksburg.
The lawsuit alleges Jeromy "was only moments from death" or serious injury by the time he reached the hospital.
"We're interested in seeing McDonald's take responsibility and change a systemic quality control problem that endangers the lives of up to 12 million Americans with allergies," said Timothy Houston, the Morgantown lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
Houston said his clients were in Morgantown in October 2005 and stopped at the Star City McDonald's on the way home to Clarksburg. Jeromy Jackson was living with his mother at the time.
Jeromy did his part to make it known he didn't want cheese on the hamburgers because he is allergic, Houston said.
He told a worker through the ordering speaker and then two workers face-to-face at the pay and pick-up windows that he couldn't eat cheese, Houston said.
"By my count, he took at least five independent steps to make sure that thing had no cheese on it," Houston said. "And it did and almost cost him his life."
After getting the food, the three drove to Clarksburg and started to eat the food in a darkened room where they were going to watch a movie, Houston said.
Jeromy took one bite and started having the reaction, Houston said. One of the three immediately called the McDonald's to let restaurant employees know they had messed up the order, but had to cut the call short when Jeromy started having a bad reaction, Houston said.
At least two managers at the McDonald's called the Jacksons afterward to apologize for what happened, Houston said.
McDonald's representatives offered to pay half of Jeromy's medical bills -- which totaled about $700. When Houston became involved, he said the company offered to pay all the medical costs.
The plaintiffs weren't interested, and McDonald's wasn't offering anything more than medical costs.
The Jacksons and Ellifritz filed the lawsuit on July 18 in Monongalia Circuit Court.
Houston didn't know if McDonald's had yet been served with the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks damages on two counts of negligence, one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress and one count of punitive damages.
The fast-food giant has been sued before.
In one notorious instance in 1992, Stella Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman from Albuquerque, N.M., sued McDonald's after she suffered third-degree burns from spilling a hot cup of coffee in her lap.
A jury later awarded Liebeck $2.9 million.