Two lawsuits were filed today against the owners of a San Jose
Mexican restaurant where the food has made nearly 100 people ill
and left 24 people with confirmed cases of Shigella, a
contagious diarrhoeal disease.
There are 93 cases connected with Mariscos San Juan restaurant
#3, located at 205 N. Fourth St., which has been closed since
Sunday morning, county deputy health officer Dr. George Han said
during a news briefing this morning.
Two separate lawsuits by Rains Lucia Stern, PC, in San Francisco
and Marler Clark, a Seattle, Washington-based firm specializing
in food-borne illness litigation, were filed in Santa Clara
County Superior Court on behalf of Daniel Estrada and Gregory
Meissner, two victims who caught Shigella after eating at the
Both lawsuits alleging negligence were filed against the
restaurant’s owners, Sergio Becerra Cruz and Lourdes Garcia
A dozen people who were sent to an intensive care unit have
either been discharged or moved to other parts of the hospitals
where they’re being treated, Han said.
Laboratory tests have confirmed 24 of the cases are Shigella and
the county is continuing to receive results to find out if
others have the disease, Han said.
A majority of the cases involve people who ate at the restaurant
on Friday or Saturday and required hospitalization, according to
Meissner ate a ceviche tostada and the following morning he
experienced symptoms including chills, diarrhea and dizziness,
according to the suit. Meissner was transported Saturday evening
to O’Connor Hospital’s Emergency Department in San Jose where he
was treated and then discharged early the next day, the suit
Estrada ate at the restaurant on Saturday and two days later
experienced “severe gastrointestinal symptoms,” leading him to
visit his doctor on Tuesday, according to the suit. He was taken
to Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose where he was cared for
under isolation and discharged that same day, the suit states.
Both men continue to suffer from the effects of the disease,
according to the lawsuits. The complaints allege the owners were
negligent in making and selling the food and supervising their
employees in preparing the products.
The suits seek an amount to be determined at a jury trial for
damages including medical expenses, lost wages and emotional
County public health officials first learned about the illnesses
on Saturday and are also receiving reports of secondary
infections linked with the restaurant but Han did not have
numbers on those cases.
Han stressed the importance of hand washing with soap and water
to prevent the spread of Shigella.
Investigators are still looking into how the outbreak started.
In the past Shigella has spread through an ill food handler who
partially or didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom,
Santa Cruz County is also investigating five suspected cases of
Shigella that were reported Monday, county health officer Dr.
Lisa Fernandez said.
Symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of diarrhea that in
some cases contain blood, abdominal pain, fever and vomiting, he
said. People can be come infected with a small amount of
Shigella bacteria, Han said.
The restaurant has two other locations on Willow Street near
state Highway 87 and on Senter Road near Kelley Park that remain
Michael Balliet, director of the consumer protection division at
the Department of Environmental Health, called on food facility
managers to discuss proper hygiene with employees and to make
sure any sick workers stay off the job.
Before the restaurant can reopen, the county has to complete its
investigation into the outbreak and follow protocol including
decontaminating the eatery and making sure all employees are
symptom-free, Balliet said.