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Illinois Wesleyan University track coaches, team members sue Bloomington Jimmy John's over illness

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Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's, 203 W. Market St., Bloomington, is the subject of a lawsuit alleging Illinois Wesleyan University coaches and athletes got sick because of poor food handling there.

BLOOMINGTON — Ten coaches and members of the Illinois Wesleyan University track team are suing the owners of a Bloomington Jimmy John’s franchise, claiming they became ill after eating there.

The lawsuit, filed in McLean County Circuit Court, alleges that the restaurant at 203 W. Market St. was closed for a day on Dec. 4, 2018, after receiving “ multiple reports of severe gastrointestinal illness from restaurant patrons.”

Investigations by the state and McLean County health departments found that some of the employees were contaminated with norovirus and prepared sandwiches bare-handed, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney James Ginzkey of the Ginzkey Law Office, in Bloomington.

Head coach Chris Schumacher and nine others connected with the track team ate sandwiches from the restaurant on Dec. 1, 2018, and all suffered severe gastrointestinal illness, with some incurring medical expenses, the lawsuit states.

The coaches and team members are each seeking in excess of $50,000.

Marc Largent, co-owner of the Jimmy John's franchise that runs the Market Street store, said, "I have no further comment at this time."

A case management conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 4 in front of Judge Paul Lawrence; however, the plaintiffs filed a motion Wednesday seeking a substitution of the judge.

In an unrelated matter, the Illinois Department of Public Health and federal agencies are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli-related illnesses linked to sprouts served at Jimmy John’s Restaurants. Jimmy John’s notified stores on Feb. 22 to remove sprouts from their menus nationwide.

Six cases matching the outbreak strain have been reported in Adams, Champaign and Jackson counties in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health is working with local health departments statewide to identify additional cases.

Anyone who has recently eaten sprouts and experienced symptoms such as severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, should contact their health care provider, the IDPH said.

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Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota


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