Eighteen people who became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating at the Ixtapa Family Mexican Restaurant in Lake Stevens, Washington, in October of 2008 filed a lawsuit against the restaurant yesterday.  Fifteen adults and three children are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed in Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, WA.

All plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle-based law firm that represents victims of E. coli and other foodborne illnesses nationwide.  The firm has already filed seven lawsuits against the restaurant on behalf of victims of the 2008 outbreak.

Drew Falkenstein, attorney for the plaintiffs, commented on his decision to file the lawsuit, “Ixtapa would rather force the victims of this outbreak into court than do what’s right and make amends with the people who became ill.  That’s unfortunate, but it’s also their right.”  

During the outbreak investigation conducted by the Snohomish County Health Department (SCHD), investigators identified 23 “confirmed” and “probable cases” of E. coli associated with the consumption of food purchased at Ixtapa.  Forty-one additional suspected cases were identified by SCHD. 

Four confirmed cases were hospitalized due to the severity of their symptoms, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure and central nervous system impairment.