CHAMPAIGN — A second Iowa woman is suing a Jimmy John's restaurant after she was hospitalized with E. coli illness after allegedly eating a sandwich from the chain.
On Thursday, Marler Clark, a Seattle-based law firm that specializes in food safety cases, filed a lawsuit in district court in Polk County, Iowa, on behalf of Mollie Horton, 23, of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, against a Jimmy John's restaurant in Altoona, Iowa.
The firm filed a similar suit against a Jimmy John's restaurant in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday on behalf of Heather Tuttle, 27, of Clive, Iowa.
Jimmy John's spokeswoman Mary Trader said on Thursday evening that Jimmy John's, which is based in Champaign, is not releasing a statement and won't comment on litigation.
According to court documents, Horton ate a sandwich from a Jimmy John's party platter at a family gathering on Dec. 23. The sandwich contained sprouts, but Horton removed the sprouts before she ate the sandwich.
Horton reported experiencing cramps and nausea beginning on Dec. 26. Over the next 10 days she suffered from cramps, nausea and eventually diarrhea.
By Jan. 5, Horton's cramps became excruciating, and her bouts of diarrhea became bloody and more frequent.
Horton was taken to the emergency room of an area hospital, where a CT scan showed her colon was badly inflamed.
Horton was admitted to the hospital, where a stool sample tested positive for E. coli poisoning, the report said.
She came home from the hospital on Jan. 8 but remained ill for several weeks. The cramps and diarrhea didn't subside until the first week of February, according to the report.
The suit demands a jury trial and seeks an unspecified amount of damages to compensate Horton for her injuries, costs, interest and attorney fees.
In the case filed on Tuesday, Tuttle ate a Turkey Tom sandwich with sprouts from a Jimmy John's restaurant in West Des Moines on Jan. 3.
Tuttle said she began experiencing severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea on Jan. 5. She later developed severe body aches, and her diarrhea turned bloody and was filled with mucous. As her condition continued to worsen, she underwent a colonoscopy.
On Jan. 12, she sought treatment at a hospital emergency room, where she was treated for dehydration and other symptoms.
Her bloody diarrhea lasted for two weeks, and regular diarrhea continued for another week after that.
A stool sample tested positive for E. coli poisoning, according to the report.
Last week, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 12 cases of E. coli poisoning in five states have been linked to raw clover sprouts eaten at Jimmy John's restaurants.
According to the centers' website, five people were reported ill in Iowa, three in Missouri, two in Kansas, one in Arkansas and one in Wisconsin.
"On one hand, I'm happy that Jimmy John's finally pulled sprouts from their menu," said attorney William Marler of Marler Clark. "On the other hand, it is disappointing that this wasn't done earlier, because doing so could have prevented this outbreak."
On the Web: http://www.jimmyjohns.com/