Georgetown, Kentucky, resident Jo Anne Smith filed a Salmonella lawsuit against Yum Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Friday.  

Since mid-April, at least 155 people who have purchased food from Taco Bell locations in 21 states have become infected with Salmonella Hartford or Salmonella Baildon.  Smith is one of 28 Salmonella outbreak victims from Kentucky.  

taco-bell-lawsuit.jpgAccording to the lawsuit filed by Smith’s attorneys, she purchased two tacos garnished with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream from a Frankfort Taco Bell location on May 24.  Smith became ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection on May 26, and her symptoms continued to worsen over the course of the next several days.  

Despite her illness, Smith and her husband and son drove to Omaha, Nebraska, where her son was to participate in a debate competition for the National Forensic League; however, she was unable to attend the competition due to her illness and remained in her hotel room while her husband and son went to the competition.  
Smith’s symptoms continued to worsen, and on May 29 she was so weak and dehydrated that she called her husband and asked him to take her to the emergency room.  Smith’s husband and their son, who elected to leave the competition due to the severity of his mother’s illness, took her to the ER, where she underwent an array of diagnostic tests and procedures, and received a variety of medications and supplements to address her severe symptoms.

A stool sample Smith submitted while at the ER later returned positive for Salmonella Hartford–one of the strains of Salmonella determined last week to be the source of the outbreak associated with Taco Bell.

Smith is represented Marler Clark, the Seattle-based law firm that has represented thousands of victims of Salmonella outbreaks.  

“We’ve represented victims of two prior food poisoning outbreaks at Taco Bell,” said attorney and food safety advocate Bill Marler, who represented indivudals injured when in 2000, when green onions served at the chain were determined to be the source of an outbreak, and again in 2006 when an E. coli outbreak traced to lettuce sickened many patrons.  “My hope is that these two experiences will lead Yum! Brands to step up quickly to address the needs of customers who have been infected with Salmonella.”