Couple Files Suit After Woman Claims She Got Salmonella from Dog Food

Suit: Elmwood Park woman contracted salmonella from dog food

A west suburban couple filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Diamond Pet Foods, claiming the woman was one of dozens people to contract salmonella from tainted dog food in 2012.

Joanna and Cezary Cygan, of Elmwood Park, filed the product liability and negligence lawsuit against Diamond Pet Foods Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Diamond Pet Foods initiated a voluntary recall on some of their pet food products in April 2012, after an FDA investigation at the company’s Gaston, South Carolina, factory revealed an outbreak of Salmonella Infantis in dry dog food, according to the lawsuit. The recalled products were produced between December 2011 and April 2012.

As of July 2012, 49 people — 47 individuals in 20 states and two others in Canada — were infected with salmonella from dry dog food produced by Diamond Pet Foods, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Joanna Cygan purchased Diamond Pet Food dog food sometime in 2012 and fed her dog from the bags regularly, according to the lawsuit.

In August 2012, Cygan began experiencing severe gastrointestinal discomfort, including vomiting and diarrhea, and her condition deteriorated rapidly to the point where she could not move and feared for her life, the suit claims.

She was taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park the next day when her temperature climbed to 104 degrees, the suit alleges.

Cygan tested positive for a salmonella bacteria infection and the lawsuit claims the Illinois Department of Public Health concluded the source of her infection was the contaminated dog food.

The severity of her infection, the suit alleges, complicated the care and treatment of her diabetes, while Cygan used the product “exactly as intended: by feeding her dog daily.”

The seven-count lawsuit claims product liability, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breach of implied warranty, among other things. The Cygans are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

Diamond Pet Foods has not yet been served with the suit, said Vice President Mark Schell, who declined to comment on it Tuesday evening.

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