Salmonella poisoning trial to get under way July 14

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 9, 2008, 2:31pm

Casa Romero

Madison County Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron will preside over a civil trial involving a man who claims food he was served at Casa Romero in East Alton on May 21, 2005, was tainted with salmonella.

John Laughlin filed suit against Casa Romero on July 19, 2006, alleging that shortly after he ate at the restaurant he became ill with a high fever, stomach cramping and diarrhea which caused him to go to the emergency room at Saint Anthony's in Alton.

His trial will begin at 9 a.m. on July 14.

According to Laughlin, on May 27, 2005, lab results from the testing confirmed that the plaintiff had salmonella poisoning.

On June 2, 2005, Laughlin had to return to the hospital due to an extremely large and painful abscess that developed.

"Testing revealed the abscess to be an antibiotic resistant staph infection that lasted through July," the complaint states.

Laughlin claims due to the extreme pain and discomfort he could not sit, could only lie on his stomach and was unable to work.

The Madison County Health Department reported there were 22 confirmed cases of salmonella that had been linked to Casa Romero on June 13, 2005.

Laughlin was the fifth person to file suit over the incident.

Laughlin is alleging the Mexican restaurant failed to thoroughly cook animal products, failed to maintain clean and separate working areas for raw animal products and non-animal products, failed to teach its staff basic food safety and that some employees failed to wash their hands after handling raw animal products and after using the restroom.

He will be represented by David and Richard Bender of Clayton.

The trial is expected to last about three days.

In addition to attorney's fees, Laughlin is seeking damages in excess of $100,000.

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