Number of people sickened by Federico's in Litchfield Park climbs to 68

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. – The number of people who became ill after eating at a Mexican food restaurant in Litchfield Park has climbed to 68.

Maricopa County health officials are trying to determine what items were contaminated with the E. coli bacteria at Federico's Mexican Food restaurant at Camelback and Dysart roads.

The sickened customers ate at the restaurant on or after July 23. Symptoms included severe abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhea. More than a dozen people were hospitalized.

The restaurant closed on Aug. 2 and threw away $10,000 worth of food possibly tainted with E. coli. It reopened three days later after a county health inspector said it was in compliance.

Three lawsuits have been filed so far. The latest was filed on Monday. The complaint states that Nickolas Rolf became ill a few days after eating food from the restaurant. He made two visits to an emergency room and continues to suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort, reduced appetite, weakness and fatigue, according to the court filing.

The other two lawsuits state that Brian Clayton, 25, and a 16-year-girl were hospitalized after they developed symptoms caused by an E. coli infection. Both had eaten food from the restaurant toward the end of July.

The three lawsuits claim the restaurant owners were negligent and ask for damages for pain and suffering, related wage and lost earning capacity, emotional distress and medical expenses.