Arizona Woman Says She Got Sick After Eating Romaine Lettuce, Sues Red Lobster

Healthy salad? Wrong - the romaine could make you sick if it's from Yuma, says the CDC.
Heather Kennedy
Healthy salad? Wrong - the romaine could make you sick if it's from Yuma, says the CDC.
An Arizona woman claims in a lawsuit filed last week that she came down with a serious illness after tainted romaine lettuce from Yuma ended up on her plate at a Red Lobster restaurant.

Rosalie Styles is the first Arizonan to sue over the multi-state outbreak of infections linked to romaine lettuce. As of Wednesday, 121 people have been infected in 25 states, and one person from California has died, according to the latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC is still tallying the total damage. Researchers added 23 more cases to its list from April 27 to May 2, with the most recent known case occurring on April 21. The culprit's believed to be E. coli O157:H7, possibly coming from lettuce grown in or around Yuma, the CDC says. Because illness from the bacteria can take days or even two or three weeks to develop, it's likely that more cases will be discovered. In the meantime, consumers and restaurants have been advised to avoid romaine lettuce known to be from the Yuma area.

Fifty-two of the ill people were hospitalized. Styles was one of them, her federal complaint states. She's being represented by O'Steen & Harrison, PLC, of Phoenix, and Marler Clark LLP, PS, of Seattle.

Styles, who didn't return a message, ate romaine lettuce on March 23 at the Red Lobster located at 7921 West Bell Road in Peoria, the complaint states.

She came down with symptoms six days later, and soon tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, a strain known to produce toxins in the human body.

"She experienced nausea, abdominal cramps, fatigue and bloody diarrhea, culminating in her admittance to Abrazo Arrowhead Campus on March 30," the complaint states, adding that because of the restaurant's actions, Styles "was forced to endure great pain, suffering, and inconvenience and may endure the same in the future."

Styles remained hospitalized until April 2 and is allegedly still recovering as May 2, the date of the complaint.

She's suing Red Lobster Hospitality, LLC, of Florida for breach of warranty, strict liability, negligence.