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MSU Student Sues Jimmy John’s Over Sprouts

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Sprouts (credit: istock)

Sprouts (credit: istock)

CBS Detroit (con't)

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EAST LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A Michigan State University student who says she was sickened after eating at Jimmy John’s is suing the sandwich chain.

The Lansing State Journal reports attorneys for Alexsandra Shalayko filed the suit in Ingham County Wednesday. She’s seeking unspecified damages.

MLive.com says the 19-year-old junior is seeking at least $25,000 in damages as well as restitution for legal fees and costs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says infected people from a number of states said they ate sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants within a week before they got sick.

Shalayko said she was hospitalized for three days after eating a sandwich with sprouts from an area Jimmy John’s in February.

According to the complaint to be filed in Ingham County Circuit Court, Shalayko ate a  “Turkey Tom” sandwich on Feb. 4th – and by the 7th, she  began experiencing “gastrointestinal symptoms” that lasted several days. According to Shalayko, her pain continued to worsen and and she was taken to the emergency room where a CT scan showed severe inflammation of her large intestine.

She was then admitted to the hospital, where she was told he tested positive for an E. coli O26 infection. The lawsuit states that since her discharge  on February 13, Shalayko is continuing to recover from her E. coli infection.

“In America, you don’t expect these types of things to happen. When you think of food poisoning, you anticipate some discomfort, but this was far more painful than I could’ve imagined,” said Shalayko, in a statement.  “I feel fortunate to have had the means to seek medical treatment. Others without health insurance that are victims of foodborne illness may not be so lucky.”

The lawsuit further alleges that raw sprouts served at Jimmy John’s have been responsible for four previous E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks that have sickened hundreds of people over the past four years.

On Feb. 20, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich franchise owners and customers were told the chain is “permanently dropping” sprouts from the menu.

“In one sense, you could say that the free market pressure of bad publicity and lawsuits has finally worked,” said Shalayko’s attorney, William Marler. “But frankly, it’s no secret that Jimmy John’s has long had a sprouts problem. For the sake of those sickened, I would have liked to see the company stop serving sprouts after its first outbreak.”

On the Jimmy John’s Facebook page, an administrator has been responding to questions and complaints about the lack of sprouts on their subs:

One comment read, “I know your heart is hurting, but think of it as more like taking a break to fix issues that will make our relationship stronger in the end!”

Another, “…the pea shoots are yummy but I’m workin hard to find a permanent solution, stay with me, updates to come!”

The Champaign, Ill.-based chain declined to comment Thursday about lawsuit.

RELATED: New Cases Of E. Coli Linked To Clover Sprouts

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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