Taco John’s sued in E. coli case

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – An E. coli lawsuit was filed against Taco John’s Thursday in Federal District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ryan and Angela Saul, a Cedar Falls couple whose nine-year-old daughter, Autumn, is hospitalized at the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City. The Sauls are represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm that has represented hundreds of victims of E. coli outbreaks, including 93 victims of this fall’s outbreak traced to contaminated spinach, and dozens of victims of the recent E. coli outbreak traced to Taco Bell.

According to the complaint, Autumn Saul ate two soft shell tacos purchased from the University Avenue Taco John’s restaurant in Cedar Falls on November 29, and became ill with symptoms of an E. coli infection on December 2. Autumn’s symptoms worsened, and she was admitted to the hospital after an emergency room visit on December 7. She was subsequently transferred to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City, where she remains hospitalized and is being monitored for complications of E. coli infection, including hemolytic uremic syndrome.

“I have heard rumors that lettuce was the source of this outbreak,” said Bill Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Taco John’s, Taco Bell, and other restaurants who are serving lettuce, tomatoes, and other fresh produce with a history of E. coli and Salmonella contamination need to monitor their suppliers and do a better job of preventing contaminated produce from entering their restaurants.”

The Black Hawk County Health Department has confirmed 33 people as being ill with E. coli infections after eating at the Cedar Falls Taco John’s location, including 14 people who were hospitalized, and the Minnesota Department of Health has reported related illnesses among patrons of the Albert Lea and Austin, Minnesota, Taco John’s locations.

“Something has got to be done to make produce safe in this country,” Marler continued. “It’s time Congress stepped in and worked with regulators, health officials, industry, and consumers to come up with a solution.”

BACKGROUND: Bill Marler, the nation’s leading foodborne illness lawyer, has dedicated his practice to representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks since the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. He has resolved cases against such defendants as McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Odwalla, Dole, and Wendy’s.

More about the Taco John's E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.