Woman who contracted botulism sues nacho cheese-dip maker

Image 1 of 2

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A woman who contracted botulism after eating nacho-cheese sauce sold at a California gas station is suing the business and the maker of the cheese dip.

Lavinia Kelly's lawsuit claims she suffered severe and permanent injuries and alleges negligence in the manufacturing, distribution and sale of the tainted sauce sold last month in Walnut Grove, a suburb of Sacramento.

State health officials say the contamination killed one person and sickened nine others. 

Kelly's attorney, Bill Marler, says there are at least two more unconfirmed cases of botulism linked to the outbreak and he expects to add five more people to the lawsuit.

Marler says the contamination appears to be confined to one bag of cheese dip and that some sort of manufacturing defect enabled the botulism spore to grow inside the bag.

Kelly depends on a ventilator to breathe.

"They've been taping her eyelids open so she can see her family when they visit," described Marler.

"She know what's going on, and she can't do anything about it. It's the most frightening thing you can imagine.
Kelly has three children.

The lawsuit filed on her behalf against the gas station, describes her prognosis as uncertain.

"I'm missing my best friend, my love," said Kelly's partner Ricardo Torres, outside the hospital.

"I'm trying to hold it together for my kids. My kids need their mother back."

A gofundme account has been established to assist her family.

Kelly and other patients are being treated with anti-toxin from the Centers for Disease Control.

Full recovery is possible, but takes months, even up to a year.

Calls to the defendants have not been returned.