Marler Clark Files Lawsuit in Jimmy John’s E. coli Outbreak

DES MOINES, IOWA – A Polk County, Iowa woman who became ill with an E. coli infection has filed a lawsuit against the sandwich chain, Jimmy John’s. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illnesses.

On February 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a 12-person E. coli O26 outbreak linked to raw clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s, with E. coli cases reported in the following states: Iowa (5), Missouri (3), Kansas (2), Arkansas (1), and Wisconsin (1). Of the 12 confirmed ill, 2 were hospitalized.

According to a complaint filed in Polk County District Court, the plaintiff purchased and consumed a Turkey Tom sandwich with sprouts from a Jimmy John’s restaurant in West Des Moines on January 3, 2012. The woman experienced painful gastrointestinal symptoms that lasted approximately three weeks. She required medical care on several occasions, including treatment by specialists and treatment at the emergency room. The lawsuit states that testing genetically matched her illness to be the same strain of E. coli O26 associated with a multistate outbreak linked to clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s.

The lawsuit further alleges that raw sprouts served at Jimmy John’s have been responsible for four previous E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks in the past four years. In 2008, Health officials in Colorado linked alfalfa sprouts sold at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Boulder to 28 E. coli illnesses. In 2009, the CDC announced that many cases associated with a 256-person Salmonella outbreak could be linked to alfalfa sprouts sold at Jimmy John’s restaurants in several states. And, in 2010 alone, nearly 150 people were sickened in two consecutive but separate Salmonella outbreaks linked to alfalfa and clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s.

Though the company had stood by its use of the high-risk sandwich topping through all aforementioned outbreaks, this most recent rash of illnesses has prompted Jimmy John’s to permanently end the use of sprouts – something Marler Clark E. coli attorney and food safety advocate William Marler says could not come soon enough.

“Anytime a restaurant is linked to an outbreak, there is a lot of pressure, by way of a tarnished reputation and even lawsuits, to take corrective action,” said Marler. “I think it is fair to say that the free market worked; I only wish Jimmy John’s had pulled sprouts earlier.”

Considered a food with higher than average food safety risks, sprouts have been linked to at least 40 foodborne illness outbreaks since 1990. Last year, Marler and his firm donated $10,000 to the International Sprout Growers Association (ISGA) to assist in the development of a safer method for the production of sprouts. Marler has recently challenged Jimmy Johns to do the same.

MARLER CLARK is the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illnesses. The firm’s E. coli attorneys have unmatched experience and have recovered over $600,000,000 for food poisoning victims and their families. For more information or to speak to an attorney, contact Cody Moore at or 1-206-407-2200


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