An outbreak of Salmonella in Memphis Tennessee linked to a local bar-be-que restaurant has resulted in legal action.  A lawsuit was filed today in the Circuit Court for Shelby County, Tennessee against A&R Bar-be-que, LLC. The lawsuit was filed by Seattle foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark and by John Day of the Tennessee firm Day & Blair on behalf of a Memphis father and son.

As many as 20 llnesses reported to the Shelby County Health Department by customers of the A&R Bar-be-que restaurant at 3701 Hickory Hill Road prompted the Health Department to launch an investigation, which started on July 14. The restaurant closed voluntarily on July 25 and remains closed while the investigation continues.

On July 9, 2009, Eric Phillips Sr. purchased food at the Hickory Hill A&R Bar-be-que restaurant. He and his son consumed the food on July 9 and 10. On Friday, July 10, the 15-year-old began to feel ill and quite nauseous. His condition worsened over the weekend, and he was taken to the doctor on Tuesday. The family doctor gave instructions to keep the young man hydrated and he was sent home with the expectation that he would improve. However, his symptoms increased in severity and he experienced vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea over the next few days. On the following Monday, July 20, he was admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital,and diagnosed with Salmonella.

Meanwhile, Eric Phillips Sr. was experiencing similar symptoms over the same period of time. He was eventually admitted to Methodist Germantown Hospital in Memphis.Both father and son suffered acute kidney failure as a result of their Salmonella infections, requiring extensive medical treatment, including dialysis. They both remain in the hospital.

“The impact on this father and son—and family—will be life-long,” said the family’s attorney, Andy Weisbecker. “No one can change that, but what we can do is to make sure that they have a way to pay for the care they will need.”

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal illnesses in the US: Salmonellosis. It can be present in uncooked or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products, as well as other foods contaminated during harvest, production, or packaging. Symptoms can begin 6 to 72 hours from consumption, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting.