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CONFIDENTIAL Products liability - Food contamination - Alleged E. coli bacteria from chicken burrito - Extensive hospitalization.

Broward County

The plaintiff was an 84-year-old female (age 86 at trial) who claimed that she contracted E. coli contamination from ingesting a chicken burrito at the defendant’s hotel and beach resort which she had been frequenting for some 20 years. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff’s E. coli could have been contracted in any number of ways and maintained that the plaintiff could not prove that the bacteria originated from the defendant’s restaurant.

The plaintiff contended that she ate half of a chicken burrito at a special Mexican night at the defendant’s restaurant, then brought the other half and a friend’s remaining half burrito home with her. She testified that she consumed the remaining burritos at home sometime over the weekend.

The plaintiff claimed she became sick some four to five days later as a result of the chicken burritos she consumed. The plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with E. coli contamination and was hospitalized for some 3.5 weeks. The plaintiff’s friend also became sick at approximately the same time as the plaintiff and was hospitalized for five days. However, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s friend tested negative for E. coli bacteria and was not a confirmed case of the illness.

The defense maintained that had any of the ingredients of the meal served at its restaurant been contaminated, there would have been a massive outbreak of E. coli, not just a single case. The defendant argued that E. coli can be contracted from numerous sources, including hand to hand contact, improper sanitation, contaminated swimming pool water or food purchased at a grocery store and prepared at home.

The case settled for a confidential sum after jury selection.

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