Applebees E. coli Cases Stand at 15

 One month after the Minnesota Department of Health associated Applebees restaurants in the state with an outbreak of E. coli O111, the number of publicly announced illnesses stands at 15. The latest press release from the agency said anyone who visited a Minnesota Applebee’s since June 20 and had symptoms of E. coli O111 infection (particularly bloody diarrhea) should contact their health care provider  and inform them of their possible involvement in the outbreak. If you are a confirmed case patient who wants to pursue a legal claim against Applebees, contact E. coli lawyers Fred Pritzker, Brendan Flaherty or Ryan Osterholm at the PritzkerOlsen law firm.

That trio of attorneys filed the first E. coli lawsuit in connection with the Minnesota outbreak linked to Applebee's and they have continued to take on additional clients. The lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (case 0:14-cv-02907) was filed on behalf of Keith Comstock, who was diagnosed with an E. coli O111 infection after eating at the Applebee’s restaurant in Woodbury, Minnesota, near his home. He ate Oriental Chicken Salad and Applebee's temporarily removed that item from its Minnesota menus during the height of the outbreak investigation. They have since switched suppliers for certain ingredients in that dish and returned it to the menu.

E. coli O111 is a highly toxic foodborne pathogen and Mr. Comstock was sick for weeks. As the lawsuit against Applebees will explain, E. coli infections of this type also present long-term health risks ranging from kidney impairment, severe high blood pressure and other internal dysfunction. In that regard, the Applebees suit will he lawsuit seeks compensation for Mr. Comstock for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages for both now and the future. PrizkerOlsen is a national food safety law firm with offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Attorneys for the firm have won millions for food poisoning victims in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against restaurants, food processors and others.

As a result of Minnesota's scientific investigation into the outbreak, laboratory analysis found that the outbreak strain of E. coli O111 has not previously been detected in the United States. Minnesota Health Department officials have worked with Applebee’s, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and other regulatory partners to determine the precise cause of the outbreak. But even if the cause is not pinpointed, Applebees will continue to be linked to the illnesses.

HUS E. coli Outbreak Follows Petting Zoo

Three Minnesota children have been hospitalized with E. coli disease that public health investigators have associated with contamination from a traveling petting zoo called  Zerebko Zoo Tran. Two of the children developed kidney failure as part of a  well-known and life-threatening complication known as E. coli HUS, or hemolytic uremic syndrome. One of those two children remains hospitalized with HUS, the Minnesota Department of Health said in a press release.

Faribault, Minn., home of the Rice County Fair, was the site of the largest cluster of illnesses. The Polk County Fair, Olmstead County Fair and Nashwauk's 4th of July celebration also were visited by the petting zoo, resulting in at least one confirmed illness from each event. In all, 13 people have been confirmed as case patients in the outbreak, all infected with the identical strain of E. coli O157:H7, State epidemiologists have genetically matched the E. coli strain to swabs of germs taken from Zerebko Zoo Tran.

HUS E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker has represented past E. coli patients sickened at petting zoos and livestock shows. His nationally known practice, based in Minnesota, is providing free case consultations to any individual or family sickened in this outbreak. Contact Fred; there are no fees. The Pritzker law firm made national news last month during a food poisoning outbreak at Minnesota Applebees when it filed the outbreak's first E. coli lawsuit.

Negligence claims could arise out of the Minnesota petting zoo outbreak, where there have been severe injuries to children and painful illnesses for adults. As stated by the Minnesota Department of Health, E. coli O157:H7 is commonly found in ruminant animals such as cattle, goats, and sheep. (Ruminants regurgitate their food and rechew it). To minimize health risks to people, petting zoo operators and the events that host such exhibits are supposed to follow protective standards, including well-marked, well-stocked and plentiful hand-washing stations.

People typically become ill at petting zoos and other animal exhibits by getting bacteria on their hands after touching the animals or contaminated surfaces, and then swallowing the germs while eating, drinking or during other hand-to-mouth activities. Contamination can be present on the fur or in the saliva of animals, in the soil where these animals are kept, or on surfaces such as fence railings of animal pens.

Applebee's E. coli Outbreak in Minnesota, Wisconsin

Our E. coli lawyers are investigating an E. coli O111 outbreak associated with eating Oriental Chicken Salad at certain Applebee's restaurants in Minnesota and Wisconsin between June 23 and June 29, 2014. We are not aware of reports of illness after the 29th.

Here is what we know to date:

  • Minnesota has 15 laboratory confirmed cases of E. coli O111; and
  • Wisconsin has 2 laboratory confirmed cases of E. coli O111.

Nine Minnesota Applebees locations have been named by the Minnesota Department of Health: Woodbury, Willmar, Monticello, Bemidji, New Hope, Duluth, Roseville and two locations in Blaine.

Our lawyers are representing people in Minnesota and are available to represent people throughout the United States who have been diagnosed with E. coli O111 food poisoning. You can call 612-338-0202 to contact our lawyers and get your free consultation.

What Caused the E. coli O111 Illnesses?

We are fairly certain what food product caused the illnesses, but we are waiting for additional evidence. What we can say is that the source was almost certainly fresh produce that was contaminated with E. coli O111 bacteria (feces containing the bacteria got on the produce) before being sold to individual Applebee's restaurants. The Oriental Chicken Salad contains cabbage, carrots and greens.

Traceback investigations are still being done to determine from where the tainted produce came -- the field where it was grown, how it was transported, where it was processed, and who distributed it. This can be difficult when fresh produce is involved, particularly when it is tossed together in a salad.

When the outbreak broke, Applebee's in Minnesota pulled Oriental Chicken Salad from its menu, and certain ingredients that went into the salad also were removed from the menu. After taking measures to ensure the salad would be safe, it was put back on the menu.

Applebee's Lawsuit Filed

Our lawyers filed an Applebees E. coli lawsuit  in United States District Court in the District of Minnesota. The suit was filed by E. coli lawyers Fred Pritzker, Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm on behalf of a young man who ate Oriental Chicken Salad at the Applebees in Woodbury, Minnesota. He suffered severe abdominal pain, like he was "getting stabbed in the stomach".

You can call 612-338-0202 to contact Fred, Brendan and Ryan and get your free consultation.

This is not a class action lawsuit because our experience is that our clients get more money when we file individual lawsuits. Also, outbreak injuries can vary significantly, which does not work with class action suits.


Cyclospora Food Poisoning in Michigan Associated with Hotel near Detroit Metro Airport

Our law firm is investigating cases of Cyclsopora food poisoning associated with a hotel located near the Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus, Michigan. The initial investigation points to food served at events held at the hotel from June 23 and 26, 2014. We are withholding the name of the hotel until we have additional evidence.

These events were attended by people from several states. All of these people were at risk of getting ill. To date, 3 people have laboratory confirmed cases of Cyclospora infection, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. We expect that number to climb in the next few weeks as new test results become available.

There is significant evidence that imported produce caused the illnesses. Past outbreaks of Cyclospora infections (cyclosporiasis) have been caused by restaurant salad, cilantro, basil, raspberries, mesclun and snow peas. Cyclospora is a parasite that lives in tropical and subtropical areas.

Ryan is also representing dozens of people sickened in a 2013 Cyclospora outbreak. Those illnesses were linked to 2 national chain restaurants.

Other Cyclospora Outbreaks - Over 200 Illnesses

In addition to these cases associated with the Detroit area hotel, Ryan and our Bad Bug Law Team are investigating Cyclospora cases in other states that may be connected to restaurants or other events where food was served. All of these cases were most likely caused by imported produce. 

Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis have been reported in 18 other states in the last several weeks. Texas has been hardest hit, with 124 cases from 31 counties have been reported since mid-June. Health are having a hard time determining which, if any, of the cases may be related.

You can click here now to contact attorney Ryan Osterholm and our Bad Bug Law Team.

Recall of Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Pluots Due to Listeriosis Risk

We have been contacted by people from several states regarding possible illness (listeriosis) after eating a recalled peach, nectarine, plum or pluot packaged by Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, California. The onslaught of contacts started after the Wawona Packaging issued its original recall of fruit on July 19. That recall announcement said there were no reports of illness. Yesterday, the company issued an expanded recall and said nothing about reports of illness.

The expanded recall includes all products packed in the Wawona Packing Company facility from June 1, 2014 through July 17, 2014. The initial recall included certain lots of whole white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines, plums and pluots.

The recalled fruit includes the following brands marketed to consumers: Sweet 2 Eat, Sweet 2 Eat Organic, Mrs. Smittcamp’s, Sam’s, Trader Joe’s and other private labels. The fruit was distributed to the following grocery stores and retailers:

Whole Foods, Cub Foods, Aldi, Kroger, Giants, Martins, Wegmans, Jay C, Dillons, Bakers, Gerbes, Food4Less, Fremont, King Soopers, City Market, Frys, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Food4less, FoodsCo, QFC, Smith’s, Hannaford, QFC, Jay C, City Market, Bakers, Gerbes, Save-a-Lot, Stop-and-Shop, Big Y Foods, BJs Wolsesale Club, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club and Walmart.

The recalls were issued because the fruit may be contaminated with Listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis, a severe form of food poisoning that can lead to Listeria meningitis.

All of the people who have contacted our law firm ate peaches or nectarines before feeling ill. We are working on finding out if any of these people were sickened by the fruit. In some cases, this can be confirmed with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

National food safety attorneys Fred Pritzker, Ryan Osterholm and Brendan Flaherty are our lead lawyers for these cases. You can call 612-338-0202 to contact them for your free consultation.

Cyclosporiasis Food Poisoning Outbreak Grows, Lawyers Investigate

Our lawyers are investigating an outbreak of cyclosporiasis food poisoning that has now grown to 202 people in 19 states. Attorney Ryan Osterholm is our lead lawyer for these cases. He is also representing people sickened in a 2013 cyclosporiasis outbreak (click here to view his video about the outbreak).

Compensation for Cyclosporiasis from Contaminated Food

Cyclosporiasis causes severe diarrhea that lasts an average of 57 days. Having to miss that much work results in a significant loss of income and can result in job loss. People sickened in the outbreak can contact Ryan to find out if they can sue for compensation. 

We suspect imported produce (possibly more than one kind) as the source of this outbreak. Some of the illnesses in the 2013 outbreak were linked to bagged salad mix, specifically the cilantro in that mix that was grown in Mexico. However, hundreds of cases were not linked to any food source.

It looks like at least one restaurant chain may be involved in the outbreak. Restaurants are liable (legally responsible) for illnesses cause by food they serve. This means that people whose cases are associated with eating at a restaurant can, in most cases, get compensation from the restaurant, even if a specific food source can't be determined.

The Outbreak is Growing Fast

Over 70 new cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported in just the last week. Most of the new cases are in Texas, which has been hit hard by this outbreak. The state now has 110 people sickened in the outbreak in several counties. The counties with the highest number of illnesses include Dallas (21 cases), Tarrant (11 cases), and Harris (8 cases).

States who previously reported illnesses include Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas. Six more states reported cases in the last few days: Michigan, Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Ohio.

Cyclosporiasis Information

Cyclosporiasis is caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis, which is found in tropical and subtropical areas. Humans get sick by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated by feces. In the United States, cases are caused by eating imported produce or traveling to a tropical or subtropical country and eating contaminated produce or drinking contaminated water. 

Cyclosporiasis symptoms begin 2 to 14 days after ingesting Cyclospora oocytes (contagious form of the parasite), and include extremely bad diarrhea that can last for months, anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, and fever. If you experience these symptoms, please see your doctor. If you are diagnosed with a Cyclospora infection, contact our law firm for help.

Cyclospora Food Poisoning Outbreak Hits

The FDA, CDC and state health officials are investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora food poisoning (cyclosporiasis) that has sickened 125 people in 13 states. Health officials are still trying to determine the source (or sources) of these illnesses. Most people got sick in May and June of 2014.

Most of these illnesses (61) are in Texas. The other states involved in the outbreak are Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Tennessee. Some of the New York cases are in New York City.

Cyclosporiasis is an intestinal disease caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis, a parasite that is not generally found in the United States. Outbreaks in the U.S. are caused by imported produce, including rasberries, basil, snow peas, lettuce and cilantro.

Last year, a cyclosporiasis outbreak sickened over 600 people in 25 states. Some of the illnesses were linked to bagged lettuce distributed to restaurants. Interviews with people sickened in the outbreak helped pinpoint the source. An analysis of the Iowa and Nebraska interview data found that many of the people sickened had eaten at one of 2 restaurant chains. Further investigation pinpointed the bagged salad, which contained ingredients from Mexico.

Cyclospora Food Poisoning Symptoms

Symptoms of Cyclospora food poisoning can begin 2 to 14 days after eating food containing Cyclospora oocytes. The primary symptom, and one clearly indicating a Cyclospora infection, is extremely runny, explosive, profuse diarrhea. This extreme diarrhea can last weeks to months and make it impossible to carry on life as usual. Other symptoms include anorexia, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, and a low-grade fever. Obviously, some of these symptoms are caused by the diarrhea.

Have you been diagnosed with a Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis)? If so, what do you think made you sick? Let our lawyers know (1-888-377-8900). We are investigating this outbreak and anticipate that lawsuits will be filed when the source is found.

E. coli Lawsuit vs. Minnesota Applebees

Apple Minnesota LLC has been sued in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in connection with an outbreak of E. coli O111 that has sickened 15 people in the state and garnered the attention of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the latest release of information from the Minnesota Department of Health, nine Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar restaurants have been associated with the illnesses.

Those locations include Woodbury, Roseville, Duluth, Bemidji, Willmar, Monticello, New Hope and two Applebees in Blaine.The Woodbury Applebees is where Keith Comstock, a resident of a nearby suburb, ordered and consumed an Oriental Chicken Salad on June 24. "Unbeknownst to him, the oriental chicken salad consumed that day was contaminated with E. coli O111 bacteria and wholly unfit for human consumption,'' according to the complaint filed by E. coli lawyers Fred Pritzker, Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm.

Three days later, Mr. Comstock began to suffer severe abdominal cramping, so bad that he sought medical treatment. While under a doctor's care, he tested positive for E. coli O111 and remained sick for several weeks. Like other victims of this outbreak, Mr. Comstock is at dramatically increased risk for a variety of chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

Other Minnesotans infected in this outbreak have since contacted the Pritzker law firm and the attorneys are continuing to sign additional cases. In a previous E. coli outbreak, Mr. Pritzker won $4.5 million for a young woman who ate at Applebees with her parents and developed E. coli HUS -- a potentially fatal disease -- from eating contaminated steak.

Putting a dollar value on a person's past physical and mental pain is not the only function of a food poisoning lawsuit. The suits recognize past and future medical and hospital expenses, past and future loss of income and future pain. They shift the financial burden onto parties responsible for the contamination to hold them accountable for negligence. E. coli O111 has no place in food and its presence in restaurants is preventable.

As investigators continue to look for the precise cause of the Minnesota Applebees E. coli outbreak, attorneys at PritzkerOlsen P.A. will be meeting with their clients as they chart the course of litigation. If your or a loved one has been sickened in this outbreak, contact us now for a free consultation, You pay us nothing until your case is won.

Q&A: Minnesota Applebees E. coli Lawsuit

Minnesota E. coli lawyers at PritzkerOlsen bring lawsuits on behalf of victims, including those sickened in the current  Applebee's E. coli O111 outbreak confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Health. Contact staff attorneys Brendan Flaherty or Ryan Osterholm for an immediate and free consultation to protect your rights and understand your options. You will owe us nothing until your case is won.

What do we know about this outbreak?
Seven people who ate at Applebee's restaurants in Minnesota in late June were infected by E. coli O111, a type of germ that emits a dangerous toxin. State health investigators confirmed this discovery through a scientific investigation.

What are the health risks?
Severe diarrhea, fevers and painful cramping are symptoms of infection, often bad enough to land victims in the hospital. In this outbreak, four people were hospitalized. But studies have shown long-term effects, as well. Toxic E. coli infections can lead to kidney problems, anemia, hypertension and vascular injury later in life.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) is the most dreaded complication. HUS is a progression of illness early on after infection that causes kidney failure and can cause neurological damage, heart damage and even death.


Who should pay?
Restaurants like Applebee's have responsibility under the law to serve safe food. Even if the contamination was in vegetables supplied to the restaurant chain, victims can hold the Applebee's chain liable. If further investigation pinpoints the source of food that made people sick, others in the supply chain could be brought in.

Is there a lawsuit?
Yes. PritzkerOlsen has filed an E. coli lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of a Woodbury, Minnesota, man who was infected with E. coli O111 after eating Oriental Chicken Salad at the Woodbury Applebees. The firm is continuing to accept additional clients, providing free case consultations.

I didn't eat at Applebees, but I also was sickened by E. coli O111
There is a possibility you may be part of this outbreak and you should contact attorneys at PritzkerOlsen. The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed that six individuals who did not eat at Applebees in late June were in the initial cluster of outbreak victims. Health investigators believe the outbreak could be wider and include people in other states because the cause of illness could be contaminated carrots, cabbage, greens or other fresh produce supplied beyond the Applebees chain.

Should I accept settlement offers without hiring an attorney?
No. Some companies try to limit their liability in food poisoning outbreaks by offering discounted direct sums to victims. In our experience, those sums often pale in comparison to what victims rightfully deserve to cover all medical expenses, lost wages, travel, related daycare expenses, losses to their quality of life, future medical expenses and the possibility of future loss of wages. Our attorneys seek complete and fair compensation.

Does PritzkerOlsen have experience against  large companies?
That's what we do. In a previous E. coli food poisoning outbreak involving Applebees, our firm won a multi-million dollar settlement for a college student who was severely injured. We are active in nearly every major outbreak of food poisoning in the United States and are one of the very few law firms in the U.S. to concentrate on foodborne illness as an area of public concern.

E. coli Lawyer Files Applebees Lawsuit

                                                                                                                                                     Our law firm today filed an Applebee's E. coli lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on behalf of a young Twin Cities man sickened by E. coli O111. Keith Comstock retained PritzkerOlsen P.A. just one day after the Minnesota Department of Health announced that an outbreak of toxic E. coli infections is associated with food -- probably a raw produce item of some kind -- served at Applebee's restaurants in Blaine, Duluth, Monticello, Roseville and Woodbury. Mr. Comstock is the first of at least 13 confirmed outbreak victims to bring a lawsuit in the case.

Minnesota E. coli lawyer Fred Pritzker said his firm is continuing to accept additional cases. He previously won a multi-million dollar settlement for a client sickened in a separate Applebee's E. coli outbreak. If you or a loved one has been sickened in the current outbreak, contact Fred now.

According to the lawsuit, the outbreak involves people who ate at Applebee's in Minnesota between June 24 and June 27. Mr. Comstock dined at Applebee's in Woodbury, east of St. Paul. He ordered and consumed Oriental Chicken Salad, which contained among other things, carrots, cabbage and greens. Applebee’s in Minnesota responded to the outbreak investigation by pulling the Oriental Chicken Salad from its menu, as well as ingredients used in that item from other foods. Chicken is not usually a source of E. coli outbreaks, so, according to Pritzker, the likely culprit is a fresh vegetable with no cooking, or “kill step”, to destroy pathogenic bacteria.

"Our client hopes to use the power of the courts to help get answers and keep more people from getting sick,'' said Brendan Flaherty, an attorney at PritzkerOlsen. He said it is too early to tell how many people have been affected by the Applebees E. coli outbreak in Minnesota.