The two women dined at Ambassel restaurant on February 8 and February 15, respectively. Both women fell ill with symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 infection, including bloody diarrhea, within 5 days of eating at the restaurant and sought medical care. Both women submitted stool samples that court documents say later returned positive for a strain of E. coli O157:H7 that matched the strain from the other E. coli outbreak victims’ stool samples. Seattle-King County Public Health Department closed the Ambassel Ethiopian restaurant on March 6, 2013 after the agency determined that food served at the restaurant had caused the E. coli outbreak.
During a March 6 inspection of the restaurant, the health department cited Ambassel for multiple critical food safety violations, including bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, inadequate hand washing facilities and improper cleaning/sanitizing of food contact surfaces used for raw and ready-to-eat foods. According to inspection reports available online, Ambassel had been cited for inadequate hand washing facilities—a critical food-safety violation—5 times since 2010.
Marler Clark reached a settlement for both women covering their medical expenses and pain and suffering.