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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

74 Shigella Lawsuits Filed Against Subway in Illinois

subway2.jpgSeventy-four people (Marler Clark clients) have filed lawsuits claiming they got Shigella infection, also known as dysentery, from a suburban Subway sandwich outlet.

In one of 41 complaints filed this week in DuPage County Court, Tania Lesus sued Neel Subway dba Subway Restaurant, its owner Dahyabhai Patel, and Subway’s parent company, Doctor’s Associates.

Patel’s Subway outlet is in Lombard, a western suburb of Chicago. Seventy-three other people have filed lawsuits against the franchise.

Lesus’s complaint states: “Tania Lesus purchased and consumed a tuna sub sandwich from defendant’s Subway restaurant on February 25, 2010. On or about the next day … Tania developed severe gastrointestinal illness as a direct and proximate result of consuming Shigella-contaminated food at defendant’s Subway restaurant on February 25, 2010. As a result, of her Shigella infection, Tania suffered significant physical injury and economic loss.”

Shigella is the bacterium that causes dysentery, an inflammatory disease of the colon which results in severe diarrhea, and is spread by oral ingestion of contaminated feces.

The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) received numerous reports of Neel Subway customers being infected with Shigella in February 2010. The restaurant was temporarily shut down on March 1, 2010.

Lesus says that “ultimately DCHD and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) … counted 328 cases of Shigella infection and related illness associated with the consumption of food prepared at the defendant’s Subway restaurant.

“Investigators from DCHD and IDPH also found that two employees of the defendant’s Subway restaurant tested positive for the same strain of Shigella that caused the outbreak. These individual had been ill with gastrointestinal symptoms related to their Shigella infections prior to the outbreak, and poor hygienic practices by these employees, and generally, at the defendant’s Subway restaurant caused widespread contamination of patrons’ food.”

  • Paul F Schwarz

    I have officially put Subway on my DO NOT EAT HERE list joining Taco Bell and Jimmy Johns!
    Section 51 Row 1 Grave 3

  • Amber

    Me too! I NEVER will eat at those places again! Hell, I’m scared to eat out anywhere.

  • Environmental Specialist

    Good morning,
    As an environmental specialist for a health department I feel your concerns about being scared to eat out. My job is to educate the working public on good hygienic practices and ensure the safety of our publics food supply in my particular county. I feel that our strong critisism of these particular branches is good in rendering safe food from other branches and show people that there are dangerous practices that make people very sick. However, there are risks driving to work everyday and saying that one will not eat at a particular chain because of previous food outbreaks may be a little too strong. Now I understand that in some communities it may be safe to say that you would be better off eating at home, but once again there are many factors and risks with eating at home. There are many people that are uneducated on safe food practices and are just as bad off eating at home as the chain down the street. Please make educated choices as to where you eat not just because of what one particular store has done. Just as a disclaimer I DO NOT own any stock in any food chain but I do see the effects of what negative comments can do to a community.
    Thank you

  • Tamara

    After watching a Subway worker sneeze over the open bins, I stopped going there. I don’t even eat any kind of fast food any more, but I did buy some chocolate chip cookies at a McDonald’s in a Chicago suburb one day … and the next day I was knocked out by what I’m sure is norovirus. Could have been a complete coincidence, but several weeks later while in another McDonald’s to use the restroom I watched a McDonald’s employee depart her stall without washing her hands. My complaint has nothing to do with the restaurants but the employees. The owners/managers of these restaurants need to ensure that their employees develop decent hygiene habits ! Sneezing on top of the food? Not washing hands after using the bathroom and then going to prepare someone else’s food? What kind of people do this? Sadly, the majority, that’s why I can’t stomach going to these places any more.