Two California women are suing Don Antonio’s, claiming they were both infected with Salmonella after meeting for lunch at the popular West Los Angeles Mexican restaurant. Tamara T. Tayarani and Margaret Howard were not alone since numerous Don Antonio’s customers took to social media, including Yelp and Twitter, to spread the word about the March illnesses they blamed on the 33-year-old restaurant, which maintains an A rating from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. donantonio's_406x250The two plaintiffs, Tayarani from Riverside County and Howard from Los Angeles County, have filed a complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging violations of the California Retail Food Code, the state Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Laws, and the California Health and Safety Code. They also claim Breach of Implied Warranty Claims, Negligence, and Negligent Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. In their complaint, filed by attorneys Trevor M. Quirk of Ventura and William D. Marler of Seattle, the women claim they were infected with Salmonella “as a result of consuming the defective and unreasonably dangerous subject product.” (Marler, of the Marler Clark food safety law firm, underwrites Food Safety News.) The women “suffered severe and continuing injuries,” according to the complaint. They say the restaurant is “strictly liable because it manufactured and sold defective and unreasonably dangerous food.” The Los Angeles Department of Public Health followed up on the social media reports of illness on March 25, inspecting the restaurant and finding numerous violations. The department ordered Don Antonio’s management to immediately correct the violations, but allowed the restaurant to remain open. Among the violations cited were failure to use food thermometers, inadequate ventilation and lighting, improper use of and storage of cleaning cloths used to clean service counters and other surfaces, unapproved use of equipment and utensils, storing potentially hazardous food at improper temperatures, and improperly sanitized food contact surfaces. At least 11 of Don Antonio’s patrons reported being infected with Salmonella, including Tayarani and Howard. The two women believe the one menu item they both ate was salsa. Tayarani ate beef taquitos and rice, while Howard dined on cheese enchilada and beans. They shared the chips and salsa commonly served upon arrival at a Mexican restaurant. They both say they began experiencing symptoms commonly associated with Salmonella, Howard within two days and Tayarani within four days. Lab work at UCLA Health Centers confirmed Tayarani’s Salmonella, and Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Hospital found Howard positive for Salmonella, according to the complaint. The women say they have not fully recovered. Don Antonio’s has not commented on the lawsuit, which was filed May 15.