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Idaho man sues restaurant, says he was sickened by tainted romaine lettuce

As of mid-May, there have been 172 people in 32 states sickened in an E. coli outbreak (at least 11 in Idaho), with 75 people hospitalized, according to the CDC. One person has died.
As of mid-May, there have been 172 people in 32 states sickened in an E. coli outbreak (at least 11 in Idaho), with 75 people hospitalized, according to the CDC. One person has died. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A man who says he was hospitalized days after he ate romaine lettuce from a Nampa Papa Murphy's is suing the restaurant.

William Whitt's attorney's filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Idaho on Thursday. He's asking for a jury trial and seeking an unspecified amount for medical costs and other damages.

It was the eighth complaint filed nationally by the food safety law firm Marler Clark in connection with the multi-state outbreak of illness associated with romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

The other suits are against two Papa Murphy's restaurants in California, a Texas Roadhouse in Georgia, a Panera in New Jersey, a Freshway in Pennsylvania, and two Red Lobster restaurants in Arizona.

"Our goal in filing multiple lawsuits against the place of purchase of the contaminated romaine is to force the disclosure of where the chain of distribution — grower, shipper or processor — the E. coli contamination occurred," said attorney William Marler in a release from the law firm. "Only when we find out where the contamination occurred can we do something to prevent the next outbreak."

Whitt is also being represented by the Boise law firm Eberle, Berlin, Kading, Turnbow and McKlveen.

Whitt purchased romaine lettuce at the Papa Murphy's at 2420 12th Ave. Road on March 24, the lawsuit says. Two days later, he began suffering severe gastrointestinal pain and was hospitalized from March 30 to April 7.

Whitt tested positive for E. Coli 0157, the lawsuit says. That is the strain identified as part of the multi-state outbreak. Some who have been hospitalized have developed a potentially deadly type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Whitt's suit says he had to have surgery for an inguinal hernia, and the E. Coli bacterial infection damaged the lining of his stomach.

The Centers from Disease Control and Prevention says its unlikely that any of the contaminated lettuce from the Yuma growing region of Arizona still on shelves, as the last shipment was April 16. It has a 21-day shelf life.

As of mid-May, there have been 172 people in 32 states sickened in the outbreak (at least 11 in Idaho), with 75 people hospitalized, according to the CDC. One person has died.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413

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