A lawsuit was filed this week in the Southern District Court of California against Sodexo Inc. on behalf of Illinois resident who has permanent brain damage from an E. coli O157:H7 infection he contracted from food served at the cafeteria and mess hall of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

Sodexo, a Delaware company, provides food and facility management services for the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego. The victim, Vincent Grano is represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm, and Gordon and Holmes, a local San Diego firm.

“I want to make clear that this is not a claim against the Marine Corps,” said Bill Marler, managing partner at Marler Clark.

“We intend to hold Sodexo and the supplier of the tainted meat responsible for the devastating injuries caused to Mr. Grano and the other young service members who have contacted us.”

On Aug. 7, 2017, Grano reported for recruit training at MCRD in San Diego. During the 10-day period before his symptoms began, Grano exclusively consumed food provided by Sodexo Inc. On Oct. 23, 2017, the day before he was to begin the final training challenge of boot camp, called “The Crucible,” at Camp Pendleton, Grano began to experience stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Three days later, Grano informed his senior drill instructor that his diarrhea had turned bloody. The recruit was subsequently taken to an emergency room by paramedics. He was discharged the same day.

On Oct. 29, Grano lost consciousness and was hospitalized at Balboa Naval Medical Center. While hospitalized, he tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 and was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), acute kidney failure. During the next month, Grano underwent numerous procedures and tests at Balboa. His HUS condition resulted in dialysis and central nervous system involvement characterized by the sudden onset of seizures.

Grano was discharged from Balboa medical center on Dec. 3, 2017, and transferred to Alvarado Hospital to begin rehabilitation. On Feb. 13, 2018, Grano was diagnosed with epilepsy as a result of HUS. As a result of his illness, he was discharged from the Marine Corps and has suffered permanent brain and kidney damage.

The Marine Corps San Diego and Camp Pendleton E. coli O157:H7 outbreak is detailed in a CDC report by Amelia Keaton. In total, there were 62 confirmed cases, 62 probable, and 120 suspected cases. Thirty people were hospitalized and 15 were diagnosed with HUS. Consumption of undercooked beef was found to be the probable cause of the outbreak.

Editor’s note: Bill Marler is publisher of Food Safety News.

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