Several patrons of a popular downtown Edwardsville, Illinois restaurant and tavern became sick after dining in February of 2007. Three women dining together at Vanzo’s were subsequently diagnosed with salmonella, along with several others.
Madison County Health officials investigated the claims. Vanzo’s agreed to shut down for a period of time during the investigation and was sold soon thereafter unrelated to the outbreak.
All victims dealt with cramping, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea for a few weeks. One of the victims in her 20s was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis only 4 months after the incident and continues to deal with symptoms she did not have before the illness. Her physicians believe the illness triggered symptoms that otherwise may have remained dormant. Another victim was set to take the California bar exam, and was forced to take the exam one week later while suffering from ongoing symptoms.
Two of the lawsuits were filed on the arbitration docket in Madison County, Illinois, and arbitrators recently rendered verdicts in favor of two of the victims.
One of the theories of recovery in a food poisoning case is strict liability. Under the theory of strict liability, restaurants may be held “strictly liable” for certain activities that harm others, even if they have not acted negligently. One of the reasons for this protection is that restaurants are in the best position to protect their customers, and obviously customers are at their mercy.
What are the causes of salmonella poisoning? There are several ways. Food may be contaminated during food processing or food handling. The unwashed hands of an infected food handler will contaminate food. A frequent cause is a food handler who does not wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.
The law firm of WWF&G successfully represented 3 victims of this outbreak. Our firm has represented numerous victims of foodborne illnesses, and prosecutes these cases to the fullest extent. Recent cases include a claim against Taco Bell, as well as Peter Pan Peanut Butter in the widespread outbreak. Please contact our firm for a free consultation at 618-462-1077.