Lawyers for a Husker baseball player from Texas and his mother have filed a lawsuit claiming they became ill with cyclospora after eating salad at Olive Garden in Lincoln.
The lawsuit was filed in Lancaster County on Friday, according to a copy of the complaint provided by Houston-based law firm Simon & Luke. Darden Corp., Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc. and Olive Garden all are named as defendants.
The suit claims Rich and Laurenda Sanguinetti, who are residents of Midlothian, Texas, both ate salad at the Olive Garden at Gateway Mall. Rich Sanguinetti attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, playing two seasons as an outfielder for the Husker baseball team and earning all-Big Ten honors both years.
After eating at the restaurant, the lawsuit says, Rich Sanguinetti became ill with extreme diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, gas, nausea, fever, chills, dehydration and related headaches, body aches and cramping, loss of appetite, anxiety, dizziness and weight loss.
After seeking medical treatment, he was diagnosed with cyclosporiasis, the ailment associated with the cyclospora parasite.
His mother experienced the same symptoms as her son and currently is awaiting the outcome of her test results, but doctors have begun treating her for cyclosporiasis as well, the lawsuit said.
“Our clients expected Olive Garden and Taylor Farms to sell food free of human or animal feces,” said attorney Ron Simon of Simon & Luke. “Through these lawsuits, we will find out how and why this salad became tainted, so we can make sure that it never happens again.”
Simon represents dozens of cyclospora victims nationwide.
The Sanguinettis' case is the first known lawsuit filed in Nebraska stemming from the recent outbreak of cyclospora. Federal officials said Aug. 2 they had traced the outbreak in Nebraska and Iowa to salad from Taylor Farms de Mexico, the Mexican branch of Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms.
That salad was served at Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters in the two states, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The outbreak has affected dozens of people in Nebraska and hundreds nationwide.