March 21, 2019

Applebee’s E. coli O111 Lawsuit Filed by Law Firm

A law firm has filed a lawsuit against Apple Minnesota, LLC, dba Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar on behalf of Keith Comstock. He was diagnosed with an E. coli O111 infection after eating at the Applebee’s restaurant in Woodbury, Minnesota. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Attorneys Ryan Osterholm, Brendan Flaherty and Fred Pritzker are representing Mr. Comstock.

GavelsMr. Comstock dined at the Applebee’s restaurant on or about June 24, 2014. He ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad, which contained, among other ingredients, carrots, cabbage, and greens. About three days later, he began to suffer from the symptoms of E. coli O111 food poisoning and tested positive for the bacteria. He remained ill for several weeks.

Attorney Brendan Flaherty said, “our client hopes that through this lawsuit, we can use the power of the courts to help find the source of the E. coli and stop the outbreak. When you talk to someone who has had an E. coli infection, they almost always say it is the most painful experience they’ve had in their lives.”

E. coli O111 is a foodborne pathogen that is very toxic. Symptoms of this infection include severe stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea which is often bloody, and vomiting. Anyone who contracts an E. coli infection has an increased risk of developing complications in the future that can include severe high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Mr. Comstock’s illness was reported to the Minnesota Department of Health. As of July 15, 2014, there are at least 13 people in Minnesota who contracted E. coli O111 infections in late June, 2014.  Seven of those patients ate at Applebee’s restaurants in late June.

This is the first time this outbreak strain of E. coli O111 has been seen in the United States. It is possible that the produce in the salad was contaminated with the bacteria, since chicken is not a common source of E. coli bacteria. If that is the case, the contamination could have happened earlier in the product chain, which means the product was widely distributed and more people are sick.

If you have suffered the symptoms of an E. coli infection in the past few weeks, please see your doctor immediately. Labs do not normally test for E. coli O111, so you may have been misdiagnosed. An E. coli infection must be treated in certain ways. Antibiotics, for instance, if prescribed, can increase the risk of serious complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure.

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