First Lawsuit by Marler Clark on behalf of 60 sickened in 10 states by E. coli-tainted romaine lettuce.

lettuce.bmpThe Post-Dispatch reports:

A St. Louis County woman has sued Schnucks for damages after experiencing kidney failure due to an an E. coli bacterial infection, according to a lawsuit filed today in the county’s circuit court.

Mary Kozlowski ate salads on Oct. 12, 19 and 20 that included romaine lettuce from the Des Peres Schnucks on Manchester Road.

Romaine lettuce was the likely culprit of the E. coli outbreak that sickened 60 people across 10 states this fall, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

Based on interviews of people who got sick and a control group of healthy people, health investigators determined that lettuce from salad bars at nine Schnucks locations was the most common denominator in the illnesses.

Although no food samples tested positive for E. coli during the investigation, the contamination likely occurred at one farm before the lettuce reached the stores, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokeswoman for Schnucks said they could not comment on pending litigation but said she does not know the identity of the farm.

Between Oct. 10 and Nov. 4, at least 37 people in Missouri and nine in Illinois contracted the bacterial infection. The 14 other reported cases came from eight states.

No deaths were reported in the outbreak, but the majority of people required hospitalization and at least two developed severe kidney disease, including Kozlowski.

Kozlowski was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur on Oct. 27 and spent 11 days in and out of the intensive care unit with kidney failure, a blood clot in her lung and atrial fibrillation, according to the lawsuit.

Kozlowski gained 30 pounds during the hospitalization because of the damage to her kidneys, which is permanent. She has “failed to regain the strength, endurance and general wellness that she enjoyed prior to becoming infected by E. coli,” according to the suit.

The plaintiff has requested a jury trial.