As Marlene Hunt of the PioneerLocal reported, a settlement has been reached between 49 victims of the salmonella outbreak traced to the former Chili’s Bar and Grill in Vernon Hills and Brinker International, owner of the franchise.

My firm filed individual lawsuits and a class action lawsuit in federal court in Chicago during 2003 seeking punitive damages on behalf of all outbreak victims. The settlement was worked out before the trial was scheduled to start.

Health officials determined the source of the salmonella infection was not due to improperly cooked food, but to employees who likely failed to follow proper hand washing techniques and a management decision to keep the restaurant open for two days even though its water supply was interrupted.

The food poisoning epidemic affected more than 300 persons who dined at the Vernon Hills restaurant between June 23 and July 1 in 2003. The health department interviewed about 1,200 individuals including 305 people whose illnesses appeared related to the outbreak. Of those, 141 patrons and 28 employees tested positive for salmonella.