Two people filed separate suits Friday, claiming they were contaminated with salmonella after eating at a Taco Bell in Berea.
The suits were filed against Yum Brands Inc., Charter Foods Inc. and McLane Foodservice Inc. According to the suit, Yum Brands and Charter Foods own and operate the Berea restaurant. McLane was the sole provider of produce to the Taco Bell in Berea at the time of the contamination, the suit claims.
Nichole Layne, a Madison County resident, ordered and consumed two tacos garnished with lettuce, cheese and sour cream on May 31, 2010.
Two days later, the suit claims, she “fell ill … with severe gastrointestinal symptoms consistent with a salmonella infection.” She received medical care, and a stool sample returned positive for Salmonella Hartford, the suit alleges.
She continues to receive treatment for ongoing gastrointestinal issues as a result of the infection, which the suit claims was the direct result of her consumption of the tacos.
A couple of months later, on Aug. 4, 2010, the suit alleges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of salmonella serotype Baildon and Hartford illnesses linked to Taco Bell locations in many states, including Kentucky.
“Many of the illnesses involved in the outbreak occurred during late May and throughout the month of June 2010,” the lawsuit states.
The CDC confirmed last year that at least 155 people in 21 states were infected with salmonellosis and were part of the outbreak.
A second Berea Taco Bell patron, William Moore, a resident of Rowan County, also became sick after eating food from the restaurant, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf.
On May 28, 2010, Moore ordered and ate three taco supremes .Later that day, Moore purchased and consumed chicken quesadilla and a beef taco at a Taco Bell in London.
He fell ill the next day, the suit claims, received treatment and tested positive for Salmonella Hartford. He also continues to receive treatment for gastrointestinal issues that suit claims was a direct result of the consumption of the Salmonella-contaminated food he received at Taco Bell.
Attorneys for both patrons claim the defendants “negligently manufactured, distributed and sold a food product that was not reasonably safe.”
The suit also claims the defendants had a duty to use materials that were fit for human consumption.
Both plaintiffs claim their damages include wage loss, medical-related expenses, and travel and travel-related expense. Other damages named included loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and mental anxiety and stress.
They each are asking for a monetary sum to compensate to them for their damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs, the opportunity to amend the complaint should more information be discovered and a trial by jury.
Taco Bell also is facing a class action lawsuit that claims the seasoned beef the restaurant uses in many items does not contain enough beef – under 35 percent – to legally call it ground beef.