East Vancouver eatery sued over salmonella outbreak

Oregon couple sickened after eating at On The Border

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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A Happy Valley, Ore., couple who contracted salmonella after dining at On the Border have filed a lawsuit against the east Vancouver restaurant.

The Seattle law firm Marler Clark filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court on behalf of Daniel and Allison Maynard. The lawsuit names Chili's Beverage Company, the parent company of Dallas-based On the Border corporation, as the defendant. An On The Border corporate spokesman said the individually owned and operated franchise is responsible for answering the lawsuit. The Vancouver On the Border franchise at 1505 S.E. 164th Ave. is owned by a California resident.

The Maynards were among the more than 80 people who were sickened after eating at the restaurant between Sept. 20 and Oct. 8. Clark County Public Health closed the restaurant on Oct. 9 to investigate a salmonella outbreak. The restaurant reopened Monday. Health officials are still investigating the source of the outbreak.

The Maynards ate dinner at the Vancouver restaurant on Sept. 27. A few days later, both suffered from upset stomachs, according to the lawsuit.

By Oct. 3, Allison Maynard had developed painful abdominal cramps, high fevers, chills, extreme fatigue and explosive diarrhea. By Oct. 8, Daniel Maynard began experiencing severe diarrhea, cramps, fevers and other gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the lawsuit.

The Maynards sought care at an urgent care clinic and submitted stool samples for testing. Clark County health officials later informed the couple that they both tested positive for salmonella. Both continue to experience gastrointestinal problems, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation for medical and medical-related expenses, both past and future, with the amount to be determined at the trial. The couple is also seeking an award for noneconomic damages, including general pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress.

The lawsuit argues the restaurant was negligent for failing to properly supervise, train and monitor its employees to ensure they complied with food safety laws, regulations and codes. The lawsuit also argues negligence because the restaurant failed to use ingredients and supplies that were clean and safe for human consumption.

The spokesman for the Vancouver restaurant could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Marler Clark attorneys have represented thousands of people in lawsuits against restaurants and companies where the food was identified as the source of illness. The firm handled most of the litigation against Jack in the Box after an E. coli outbreak in 1993 sickened more than 700 people, most of whom lived in Washington.