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updated: 6/21/2013 6:58 PM

Woman sues Lombard restaurant in E. coli probe

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  • The Los Burritos Mexicanos restaurant at 1015 E. St. Charles Road in Lombard is being sued by a Lombard woman who says she became ill after eating there. The restaurant has been closed for more than a week since state health officials confirmed E. coli cases among customers of the restaurant.

       The Los Burritos Mexicanos restaurant at 1015 E. St. Charles Road in Lombard is being sued by a Lombard woman who says she became ill after eating there. The restaurant has been closed for more than a week since state health officials confirmed E. coli cases among customers of the restaurant.
    Michelle Jay | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Lombard woman who says she got sick after eating at a local Mexican restaurant now at the center of an E. coli investigation has filed suit against the business.

Elizabeth Bernardi is suing Los Burritos Mexicanos, 1015 E. St. Charles Road in Lombard, for unspecified damages after she says she consumed food contaminated with E. coli that caused severe gastrointestinal illness and required her hospitalization.

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The restaurant has been closed since June 14 when four cases of E. coli were confirmed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. In total, there are 11 total confirmed cases of E. coli among customers of the restaurant, and another 10 cases of those with probable E. coli infections, according to the DuPage County Health Department. Six people have been hospitalized.

Bernardi's attorney wrote in a court filing this week that she consumed food purchased at the restaurant on June 6, and on June 9, had the onset of severe gastrointestinal symptoms, fever and general malaise.

The symptoms worsened by June 11, when she awoke in the middle of the night in "great pain and distress," and was rushed to the emergency room at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove for treatment, according to the lawsuit.

Bernardi was released from the hospital five days later, but she has continued to experience symptoms of infection since, her attorneys said.

The lawyers argued in the court filing that the restaurant was negligent in selling their client food that was unsafe and defective.

"By offering food for sale to the general public, the defendant expressly warranted that such food was safe to eat, that it was not adulterated with a deadly pathogen, and that the food had been safely prepared under sanitary conditions," the attorneys wrote.

The restaurant's manager said Friday night he was made aware of the lawsuit by the media, and he would be contacting his insurance company to handle the legal matter. He had no additional comment on the charges in the suit.

County health officials have said restaurant ownership and staff members were cooperating as they try to determine which product or ingredient may have been contaminated with bacteria.

Bernardi's case is due in court in September.

• Daily Herald staff writer Josh Stockinger contributed to this report.

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