E. coli lawsuit filed against Olive Garden


Woman alleges meal at Italian restaurant made her ill

PORTLAND – An E. coli lawsuit was filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court (Case No. 05-080796-3) against the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jodi Greer, a Troutdale, Oregon resident who became ill with an E. coli infection after eating at the restaurant’s Gresham store in April 2005. Ms. Greer is represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle attorneys nationally recognized for their successful representation of victims of E. coli infections.

The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Greer dined at the Gresham Olive Garden on April 19, 2005, and became ill with an E. coli infection on April 21. The complaint states that Ms. Greer suffered severe gastrointestinal symptoms including bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue. Ms. Greer was treated at the Providence Portland Medical Center ER on April 22. She later submitted a stool sample to the Multnomah County Health Department (MCHD) that cultured positive for Enterotoxigenic E. coli – E. coli O169:H41. During their outbreak investigation, the MCHD determined that Ms. Greer was one of at least 18 people who succumbed to E. coli after eating at the Olive Garden.

“We generally associate E. coli O157:H7 with illness in the United States, but Enterotoxigenic strains of E. coli, such as the strain that Jodi was infected with, can also cause human illness,” said Drew Falkenstein, an attorney with Marler Clark. “International travelers often become ill with such strains of E. coli when visiting under-developed countries. We certainly don’t expect the bacteria to contaminate our country’s food supply though.”

“People don’t go out to eat at a chain restaurant and expect to get sick,” Mr. Falkenstein continued. “Olive Garden owed a duty to Jodi, and to all of its other customers, to sell food that was safe for human consumption, and the restaurant failed to perform that duty.”

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ABOUT MARLER CLARK: Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness since 1993, when William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement with Jack in the Box. The firm has litigated against such companies as Odwalla, KFC, Bauer Meats, McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Wendy's, Subway, Sizzler, ConAgra Beef Co, Carl's Jr, Sun Orchard Juice Company, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, and Malt-O-Meal.

More about the Olive Garden E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.