All News / Case News /

Chili's Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuits

Over three hundred people who ate food from a Chili’s restaurant in Vernon Hills, Illinois between June 23, 2003 and July 1, 2003 were infected with Salmonella javiana, a relatively unusual strain of the sometimes deadly Salmonella bacteria.

An investigation conducted by the Lake County Health department revealed a host of deficiencies and safety violations that contributed to the Salmonella outbreak, or made it worse. These included the operation of the restaurant one day without available hot water, the operation of the restaurant for part of the following day with no available hot water, a general lack of hand-washing that caused fecal-oral contamination of multiple food items, and a dish-machine sanitizer that failed due to lack of repair. Twenty-eight employees tested positive for Salmonella, with one employee reporting symptoms as early as June 5, 2003.

The Chili’s restaurant closed at the request of the health department, reopening only after it was deemed no longer a threat to public health. After re-opening, sales at the Chili’s restaurant apparently never recovered, and it was closed permanently in May, 2004.

Chili’s is owned and operated by Brinker Restaurant Corporation, which is based in Dallas, Texas.

The first lawsuit arising from the outbreak was by Marler Clark's Salmonella lawyers on July 10, 2003, followed by a second lawsuit on December 16, 2003. Both lawsuits were filed in federal court and included a claim for punitive damages based on what was alleged to be a “conscious disregard of a known safety risk.”

On July 6, 2004, Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who became ill with Salmonella infection after eating at the Vernon Hills Chili's restaurant between June 23, 2003 and June 30, 2003. In a news release regarding the filing of the class action lawsuit, Marler Clark partner Denis Stearns said, "Rather than seeking to punish the company for its behavior on a case-by-case basis, in individual lawsuits, this class-action will resolve the punitive damages issue in one lawsuit, on behalf of everyone injured by what is alleged to be Chili’s conscious disregard of the public’s safety.”

Marler Clark concluded Salmonella litigation against Chili's in August, 2004, when the firm resolved the claims of 53 individuals who were sickened in the outbreak.


Lack of hand-washing leads to Salmonella outbreak

First Salmonella lawsuit filed against Chili's

Chili's insurance company trying to settle Salmonella outbreak claims; Food Safety Attorney advises victims to be careful

Second Salmonella lawsuit filed against chili's by marler Clark: food Safety Lawyers Renew Call that Chili's Pay Victims' Medical Bills

Final Report: Chili's Salmonella Outbreak Linked to "Poor Judgment"

Third Food-Poisoning Lawsuit Filed Against Chili's; First to Name Restaurant Manager as Defendant

Punitive Damages Claim Added to Chili's Salmonella Outbreak Lawsuits

Marler Clark files fourth lawsuit against Chili's on behalf of a man alleging permanent injuries as a result of his Salmonella infection

Two new Salmonella lawsuits filed against Chili's

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Chili's; Punitive Damages Sought

Marler Clark announces settlement of 49 Chili's Salmonella Claims

More about the Chili's Salmonella outbreak can be found on the Marler Clark-sponsored site about Salmonella.

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
Salmonella Food Poisoning

What is Salmonella and how does it cause food poisoning? The term Salmonella refers to a specific group of gram-negative bacteria with the potential to cause gastrointestinal distress and other...

The Incidence of Salmonella Infections

Typhoidal Salmonella Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhi, Sendai, and Paratyphi A, B, or C are found exclusively in humans. These serotypes, collectively referred to as typhoidal Salmonella, cause enteric fever (also...

The Prevalence of Salmonella in Food and Elsewhere

Most Salmonella infections are caused by eating contaminated food. One study found that 87% of all confirmed cases of Salmonella are foodborne. Foods of animal origin, including meat, poultry, eggs...

Transmission of Salmonella Bacteria

In the past two decades, consumption of produce, especially sprouts, tomatoes, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, and nut butters, has been associated with Salmonella illnesses. The surface of fruits and vegetables...

Symptoms of Salmonella Infection

Symptoms of Salmonella infection include painful abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever. Salmonella infections can have a broad range of illness, from no symptoms to severe illness. The most common clinical...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database