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Lawsuit Filed Over Death of Boy in E. Coli Outbreak

February 19, 1993

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died in the bacteria outbreak traced to Jack in the Box hamburgers sued the fast-food chain and its parent, Foodmaker Inc. on Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed in Pierce County Superior Court by Michael and Diane Nole of Tacoma, seeks unspecified damages for the death of their son, Michael.

The boy died Jan. 22 at Children’s Hospital in Seattle of heart failure associated with hemolytic uremic poisoning caused by E. coli O157:H7.

The lawsuit claims the boy contracted the illness from eating a contaminated hamburger at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Tacoma.

Hundreds of people were sickened and two deaths occurred during the bacterial outbreak, which hit Washington the hardest though related cases were reported in Idaho and Nevada. Several children remain hospitalized in the Seattle area.

The second death was not linked directly to Jack in the Box hamburgers, and officials have said they are not sure how the young girl contracted the illness.

The outbreak was blamed on undercooked meat from a batch tainted with the bacteria, which is found in cattle guts and fecal matter. The state Health Department warned consumers of the outbreak Jan. 17, and linked it to Jack in the Box restaurants the next day.

Jack in the Box and San Diego-based Foodmaker have been named in several lawsuits stemming from the outbreak. They, in turn, have sued the meat supplier blamed for providing the tainted meat.

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