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Two Olive Garden patrons from Iowa and Nebraska have filed Cyclospora lawsuits against the chain's parent company. Federal court documents show Kelly Kunc of Hiawatha, Iowa, and Joyce Nendza of Holt County, Nebraska filed the lawsuits against Darden Corporation of Orlando, Florida, which owns the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains, reports The Associated Press.
Both plaintiffs are being represented by Minneapolis attorney Ryan Osterholm. His firm, Pritzker Olsen, specializes in food-safety and food-poisoning cases. He's also representing a plaintiff in Texas.
The lawsuits serve as a good reminder to practitioners that Cyclospora lawsuits may be a viable way to broaden their personal injury practice.
Feeding Frenzy for Attorneys
Since June, there have been at least 378 confirmed cases of Cyclospora-related illnesses in 16 states. According to Osterholm, the number -- and his caseload -- is only going to rise.
The Cyclospora outbreak has hit the Eighth Circuit's very own -- Iowa and Nebraska -- especially hard. More than 178 people have fallen ill in these states since last month.
Though Iowa and Nebraska health authorities have said this is not an ongoing outbreak, and the product is no longer in the food supply, such outbreaks do happen, and could become a steady side-gig for personal injury practitioners.
Taking up such suits could serve the dual purpose of boosting profits and raising consumer awareness.
Getting to the Bottom of the Salad Bowl
Lawsuits are not just about getting individuals compensated for harm, in cases like these, they can be a key way to get more information about the outbreak. It has also been reported that given the extent of the outbreak, the problem may not just be limited to lettuce or salad from Taylor Farms.
The possibility of other products being tainted with the parasite is a public health concern for residents of the Eighth Circuit and beyond. Lawsuits could function as an effective way to affect federal regulatory change that could prevent future outbreaks.
As far as practitioners and consumers should be concerned, the more Cyclospora attorneys involved, the merrier.