Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 2, 2013, 12:06pm

MARSHALL - A Texas college student is seeking $1 million from Taco Bell,  alleging the fast food restaurant gave him Salmonella poisoning.

Jason Gibson filed suit against Taco Bell of America and others unknown on Nov. 22 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. 

According to the lawsuit, the Centers for Disease Control reported a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Enteritis infections caused by the consumption of contaminated food beginning around October 2011 and continuing “over a substantial period of time.”

In February 2012, the Oklahoma State Department of Health identified Taco Bell as the restaurant involved in the infection of 16 Oklahoma residents, the suit states.

Gibson claims he dined at Taco Bell in Denton County on Dec. 28, 2011, and soon after suffered from Salmonella poisoning.

According to the suit, he made several visits to a clinic until he was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 30 for septic arthritis of the right knee. He underwent knee surgery and was discharged.

He was readmitted on Feb. 5 with the septic arthritis invaded his left leg. The hospital consulted an infectious disease specialist who noted “salmonella gastroenteritis,” according to the suit.

He was discharged on Feb. 16, but claims he still suffers from arthritis.

According to the court records, Gibson was in and out of the hospital for the following year.

Taco Bell is accused of strict liability for manufacturing and selling the adulterated food and negligence, as the food was unfit for human consumption.

The defendant is accused of:

• Failing to adequately maintain or monitor the sanitary conditions of their products, premises and employees;

• Failing to take proper steps to insure that the ingredients it purchased for inclusion in its menu items were pure, unadulterated and free of harmful bacteria such as salmonella; and

• Failing to warn consumers who had visited a restaurant which possibly contaminated food that they might have come into contact with Salmonella.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $1 million in damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, physical impairment, economic damages, loss of his college grant, loss of his vehicle, loss of the equity of his house, medical expenses, lost income and diminished working capacity, total loss of enjoyment of life,  court costs, attorney’s fees and interest.

Gibson is represented by Michael J. Whitten & Associates PC in Denton and Denton attorney Randall S. Boyd.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00994

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