Henry Jackson – Associated Press Des Moines, Iowa

Not suprisingly, health officials in Iowa and Minnesota on Wednesday confirmed a link between E. coli outbreaks at Taco John’s restaurants that have sickened dozens of customers.  Officials also said that the cause of the outbreak – which has sickened at least 50 people in Iowa and 27 in Minnesota – has been tied to lettuce served at Taco John’s in three cities.

Also Wednesday, a Seattle-based law firm said it will file a lawsuit Thursday against Taco John’s in federal court in Cedar Rapids, seeking compensation for a 9-year-old girl who got sick after eating at the chain’s Cedar Falls restaurant, said Drew Falkenstein, an attorney with Marler Clark LLP PS.

Autumn Saul has been hospitalized about a week with hemolytic uremic syndrome, and doctors have confirmed she was infected with the E. coli strain that has affected others who ate at the Taco John’s in Minnesota and Iowa, Falkenstein said.  The syndrome is the main cause of acute kidney failure in children and can be a serious complication of E. coli infection. In extreme cases, it can lead to kidney damage or death.  “I think she’s going to pull through,” Falkenstein said. “She’ll still have risks going forward in her life … and she needs to be compensated for the medical costs, which can be quite substantial.”  David Babcock, another attorney with the firm, said he will arrive Thursday morning in Cedar Rapids to file the lawsuit on behalf of the girl’s parents: Ryan and Angela Saul. He would not say how much money the family is seeking.

More from Cindy Hadish of the  Cedar Rapids Gazette – Lawsuit to be filed over E. coli outbreak

A lawsuit claiming a 9-year-old Cedar Falls girl became ill after eating at a Taco John’s restaurant is expected to be filed today in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids.

Bill Marler, partner in the Seattle-based Marler Clark Law Firm, said last night that an attorney was on his way to Cedar Rapids to file the suit in connection with Iowa’s E. coli outbreak.

The lawsuit, a copy of which was sent to The Gazette, claims Taco John’s was negligent for serving food unfitfor human consumption.

Marler has handled about 3,000 food-related cases since an E. coli outbreak at Jack-in-the-Box in 1993, he said, including representing 93 victims of this fall’s E. coli outbreaks linked to contaminated spinach.