Willard man seeks $25,000 from Casa Fiestain lawsuit over suspected salmonella case

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:13 PM

A Willard man is seeking $25,000 in damages in a civil lawsuit against Casa Fiesta restaurant, alleging the Milan Avenue business served food with salmonella bacteria.

In court papers filed Tuesday in Huron County Common Pleas Court, Kody Dewitt, of 612 S. Myrtle Ave., says he “became severely ill,” was hospitalized and suffered undisclosed “bodily injuries” after being a customer April 25 at Casa Fiesta. The plaintiff also says he “suffered a loss of wages and will incur additional such losses in the future” because “his earning capacity has been permanently impaired.”

Dewitt’s attorney, James Martin, could not be reached to elaborate this morning, and Dewitt’s telephone number was unavailable.

Casa Fiesta was issued a summons by mail Wednesday afternoon. The defendant has 28 days to answer the complaint; then a hearing can be scheduled.

Dewitt is not the only customer planning on taking Casa Fiesta to court.

A woman who works in another Norwalk food service establishment said she became sick after eating there April 25 and missed a week-and-a-half of work. Originally thinking she had the flu, the woman — who declined to be identified — went to Fisher-Titus Medical Center on April 29 because she was dehydrated. The hospital confirmed she had salmonella poisoning.

“I have never felt pain like I have from this salmonella infection that I got from a little lunch,” the woman said Wednesday.

The Huron County General Health District is investigating 25 reported cases of recent food poisoning from the Norwalk restaurant.

Casa Fiesta voluntarily threw out all food on hand when the health department contacted manager Gustavo Enrquez about possible contamination. The owner also closed his restaurant for a day to disinfect and deep clean it before reopening Friday evening.

Huron County Health Commissioner Tim Hollinger expects to get the results back today from the samples he sent to the Ohio Department of Health for testing. He could not be reached for comment today, but has said any food service employee must follow special rules before returning to work after contracting food poisoning.

“If you’re a food worker, it’s very important not to go back to work until you get two clean samples,” Hollinger said Wednesday.

The samples must be taken at least 24 hours apart.

Enrquez said none of his Casa Fiesta employees have gotten sick from the food at the restaurant. He also said they have been properly trained in food service requirements and follow state laws.

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