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Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, represents a minor in the Utah E.coli O103 Sprout Lawsuit.

(Salt Lake City, Utah) A lawsuit was filed by Marler Clark, representing Karena McDonald, on behalf of her daughter, a minor, against Jimmy John’s restaurant in the Third Judicial District Court in Salt Lake County. The plaintiff is represented by Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, and Lance Andrew, P.C., a local Salt Lake City firm. Complaint # 200906120 (See attached pdf).

Jimmy John’s has had a decades-long problem with sickening customers with bacteria-tainted sprouts,” said William Marler, managing partner at Marler Clark. “In the past Jimmy John’s would stop selling sprouts after an outbreak, only to start up again later. The time has come to put the health of its customers first.” (Jimmy John’s sprout related recalls in the past 12 years.)

The CDC, public health, and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O103 infections linked to clover sprouts. As of March 17, 2020, 39 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 have been reported from six states: Florida (1); Illinois (6); Iowa (3); Missouri (1); Texas (1); and Utah (27).

Epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory evidence indicate that clover sprouts are the source of this outbreak. State and local public health officials are continuing to interview ill people to determine what they ate and other exposures they had in the week before their illness started. Sixteen (59%) of 27 people interviewed reported eating sprouts. Fourteen (58%) of 24 people interviewed reported eating sprouts at a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Jimmy John’s reported that all of their restaurants stopped serving clover sprouts on February 24, 2020.

The FDA identified the outbreak strain of E. coli O103 in samples of Chicago Indoor Garden products that contain sprouts. On March 16, 2020, Chicago Indoor Garden recalled all products containing red clover sprouts. FDA’s traceback investigation has shown that a common seed lot was used to grow the sprouts recalled by Chicago Indoor Garden and the sprouts that were served at Jimmy John’s locations where people sickened in the current outbreak reported eating. The same seed lot was also used to grow sprouts linked to an outbreak of the same strain of E. coli O103 infections in 2019. The investigation is ongoing.

On February 18, 2020, plaintiff Karena McDonald purchased an “Italian” sandwich for her daughter at the Jimmy John’s restaurant located at 5461 S. State St. in Murray, Utah. She had no way of detecting that her child’s food was contaminated by the potentially deadly fecal pathogen, E. coli O103: H2.

On February 21, Karena McDonald’s daughter began experiencing the onset of E. coli symptoms, including abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and a headache while she was at school. The following day, she could only muster enough strength to use the bathroom, as her stomach cramping and diarrhea had become increasingly severe. A few days later, the pain was so severe that she urged her mom to take her to see a doctor, as she was afraid that she might have appendicitis. That night, she visited Cottonwood InstaCare, where the physician evaluated her for nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea, and advised her to go directly to the hospital to be checked for appendicitis. Her temperature rose and at Alta View Hospital, several tests, including an ultrasound, an IV-contrast-enhanced CT of the abdomen and pelvis revealed an infection or inflammatory bowel disease. She was prescribed antibiotics and discharged.

On March 10, 2020, the hospital called to report that stool samples from Karena McDonald's daughter had tested positive for Escherichia coli O103: H2E, and were confirmed by the Utah State Health Department Laboratories. Further genetic testing determined that McDonald’s daughter had an infection that was a genetic match to other cases of people who dined at Jimmy John’s. She was included in the outbreak related to Jimmy John’s chain (UT ID: 202002STEC002, CDC ID: 2002IAEXW-1). The plaintiff continues to recover from her bout of E. coli.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $650 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

Contact Bill Marler at or 1-206-794-5043.

    2020 09 24 Plfs Complaint 1 (pdf)
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