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Taco restaurant sued over salmonella

A Kansas family sued San Antonio Taco Co. yesterday over problems they experienced after eating salmonella-infected food at the restaurant near Vanderbilt University last August.

The Metro Health Department received calls from more than 200 people who said they had symptoms of food poisoning after eating at the popular restaurant Aug. 5-7.

Health officials subsequently confirmed that 11 of those people were infected with salmonella, but officials said they could not pinpoint the exact cause of the outbreak. The restaurant's management closed it voluntarily for an extensive cleaning on Aug. 12-13.

Scott Brady, executive producer of the Kansas City Chiefs football games, said in a lawsuit that he and his 3-year-old daughter, Sierra, became ill as they and his wife drove toward home after eating lunch Aug. 6 at the San Antonio Taco location on 21st Avenue South.

Brady said he called a hospital emergency room for advice when they reached St. Louis that night. He said he continued to experience body aches, diarrhea, nausea, sweats and chills for several days after he and his family reached their home in Lenexa, Kan., on Aug. 7.

He said he missed several days of work because of the illness — and had to leave his post during the live broadcast of the Chiefs game on Aug. 13, because of diarrhea.

Brady said his daughter, who was born with ''numerous developmental impairments,'' would not eat or drink because of the salmonella infection and had to be hospitalized for four days because of dehydration. He said lab tests confirmed that he and his daughter were infected with the salmonella newport strain.

The Bradys sued San Antonio Taco Co. in Davidson County Circuit Court yesterday seeking an unspecified amount of damages. They are represented by the Nashville law firm of Branham & Day and by Marler Clark, a Seattle-based law firm that is known nationally for representing people injured in outbreaks of food-borne illness.

Restaurant manager Robert Wilder said late yesterday afternoon that he was not aware the lawsuit had been filed.

''This is the first I've heard about it,'' Wilder said when he was contacted after he left work. ''I can't comment until I know what's going on.''

He said the company's insurance carrier has reimbursed several people who became ill for their lost wages and medical expenses. He said the restaurant's business was ''a little shaky the first few weeks'' after the salmonella outbreak, but it is now back to its former level.

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