February 23, 2024

Applebees E. coli Lawsuit Assigned to Judge Magnuson

The E. coli lawsuit filed against Apple Minnesota, LLC d/b/a Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson in the Twin Cities. The suit, filed on behalf of Applebee’s patron Keith Comstock, was the first legal action taken by victims of this summer’s outbreak of E. coli O111 traced to nine Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 15 people were infected with the highly toxic foodborne pathogen in late June and early July. Agency officials late last week identified green, whole head cabbage as the likely source.

GavelsMr. Comstock suffered food poisoning symptoms three days after eating Oriental Chicken Salad at the Applebee’s in Woodbury, Minn., near his home. Under medical care, he tested positive for the exact strain of E. coli O111 that defined the outbreak. The lawsuit alleges Mr. Comstock’s salad was contaminated with E. coli O111 bacteria and unfit for human consumption. It seeks compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. When Health Department investigators associated the outbreak with menu items including Oriental Chicken Salad, Applebees temporarily withdrew the dish from its menus in Minnesota. The item was restored after the restaurant chain switched ingredient suppliers.

Case file 0:14-cv-02907 is now pending before Judge Magnuson, but Mr. Comstock is not the only victim who has retained Pritzker Hageman attorneys to represent them in pursuing claims for their illnesses. Studies have shown that people sickened by E. coli O111 are at increased risk of developing future illness, including severe high blood pressure and kidney disease. Those risks will be factored into the fairness of compensation for victims.

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