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IWU Track Coaches, Athletes Sue Jimmy John's After Getting Sick

Jimmy John's
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The Jimmy John's location on West Market Street in downtown Bloomington.

Ten student-athletes and coaches from the Illinois Wesleyan University track team have sued the owners of a Bloomington Jimmy John’s after allegedly getting sick following a meal.

The lawsuit, filed last week in McLean County court, claims some employees at the downtown location (203 W. Market St.) were “contaminated with norovirus and were preparing sandwiches bare-handed” in early December 2018.

The lawsuit claims the store was "closed for a day" (Dec. 4, 2018) after receiving "multiple reports of severe gastrointestinal illness" from customers. Jimmy John's franchise co-owner Marc Largent said Thursday the store was not closed for an entire day—only the evening hours.

Three days before (Dec. 1, 2018) the IWU team members and coaches say they ate at that Jimmy John’s.

The lawsuit claims investigations by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the McLean County Health Department revealed the presence of norovirus in some employees. Dion McNeal, a spokesperson for the McLean County Health Department, said he was not aware of the lawsuit and did not respond to a request for comment.

The 30-count lawsuit accuses Jimmy John’s of serving an unsafe and defective food product, breaching an implied warrant, and negligence. It’s seeking over $50,000 in damages for the “pain and suffering” and “incurred medical expenses” associated with the illnesses.

Named as defendant in the lawsuit is the Butts-Largent Investment Group Inc., which owns the Jimmy John’s franchise.

Largent said he had not seen the lawsuit but that it was "never proven my employees were sick with norovirus" and that his business was never cited by public health officials. He referred other comment to Jimmy John's corporate offices.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.