Ashley Phillips, 23, and her husband, Craig Phillips, 26, were dining last July at the Chili's Restaurant and Grill in Farmington, N.M., when during a bite of mashed potatoes Ashley felt a piercing pain in her tongue, The (Farmington) Daily Times reported.
"I thought it was a toothpick at first," said Ashley. "But a toothpick doesn't pierce all the way through the side of your tongue."
After removing the needle from her tongue, the couple barely had time to examine it before Chili's employees whisked it away, she said.
"The next morning we went to the doctor and he asked for the needle to test it," Ashley said.
The couple alleges that Chili's took 52 days to get the needle sent to a lab for testing.
"I had to stop nursing my son," Ashley said. "Nursing is so important for an infant's health and emotional development that we are suing for emotional damages."
Ashley and her son Darrian tested negative for AIDS, hepatitis and other possible infections, but they haven't gotten a clean bill of health.
"It takes a while for some of these things to show up," she said. "We have to go back for more testing in a year."
"We have reason to believe that the needle belonged to a member of the cook staff and was used to clean his marijuana pipe," attorney Mitch Burns, who is representing the Phillips, said.
"We also have reason to believe that there was ongoing usage of marijuana that was known by all the employees and the management."
Representatives of both Chili's Restaurant and Grill and Chili's Inc. declined to comment Wednesday, The Daily Times reported.