Casa Romero customers claim fajitas and chips made them sick

Steve Gonzalez May 30, 2006, 6:17am

Casa Romero in East Alton

Two men who got sick after eating chicken fajitas and chips and dip filed a civil suit against Casa Romero in East Alton alleging the food they ordered was not fit for consumption.

According to the suit filed May 23 in Madison County Circuit Court, Harry Spann, Jr. and Jack Tardino claim they ate at the restaurant on May 24, 2005, after relying on Casa Romero's promises and warranties as to the wholesome and healthful quality of their food and drink.

The plaintiffs claim that after eating the food they became sick and diseased causing extreme and unbearable stomach pains and violent digestive disorders requiring them to seek medical attention to become cured of the illness.

According to the complaint, Spann has spent $10,068.15 in medical expenses and Tardino has spent $33,404.06 in medical bills. Tardino also claims he lost more than $9,000 in wages plus possible overtime.

Represented by Jane Unsell of East Alton, the plaintiffs allege Casa Romero disregarded its obligation to exercise due care and caution in keeping the restaurant and the utensils and dishwashers clean and sanitary and the food free from contamination.

On June 3, 2005, the Madison County Health Department closed Casa Romero until June 17, 2005, after linking 28 cases of salmonella to the restaurant.

On Sept. 6, 2005, Michael Butkovich filed suit against Casa Romero claiming he required intravenous fluids during a four-day hospitalization for vomiting and diarrhea after eating there on May 23.

On Feb. 7, attorney Lon Weaver, Lynda K. Donohoo, Jennifer L. Donohoo, Carrie A. Guthrie and Bruce A. Bowermaster, claim they ate at the restaurant between May 23 and May 27, 2005, and were sickened by food "unfit for human consumption."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people infected with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment.

Salmonella, microscopic living creatures that pass from the feces of people or animals, is a group of bacteria that can cause diarrhea in humans.

Spann and Tardino are seeking damages in excess of $50,000 each. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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