1st lawsuit filed by customer who got sick at Cooper's Hawk

Attorneys say 100 people sickened after eating at Town Center restaurant


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A popular restaurant at the Markets at Town Center where dozens of people complained of getting sick after eating is now being sued for "negligent acts and omissions."

A woman filed a legal complaint Friday against Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant seeking at least $15,000 in damages. Lekeysha Bentley said she got sick days after she ate egg rolls, a cilantro ranch chicken sandwich, a grilled chicken  Caesar salad, along with bread and butter.

Bentley claims she went to the doctor, who initially sent her home with anti-nausea medication. According to the lawsuit, when she returned to the clinic a week later with the same symptoms, lab tests found she was infected with Cyclospora, which causes severe gastroenteritis. She is currently in the midst of treatment with a specific antibiotic that treats the parasite.

Over the past three days, attorneys have told the I-TEAM that up to 100 customers say they got sick after eating at Cooper's Hawk. Many had no idea they were fighting the parasite until they connected their symptoms to a visit to the Town Center restaurant.

Fact sheet from CDCA Cooper’s Hawk executive sent a statement to News4Jax saying its managers self-reported the incidents to the Health Department once they started getting calls from customers.

The restaurant says Cyclospora is typically found in produce.

VIEW: Cyclosporiasis (Cyclospora infection) CDC fact sheet |
RELATED RESOURCE: What is Cyclospora?

Customers complaining of getting sick had eaten at the restaurant between June 11 and June 15. The incubation period Cyclospora ranges from two to 14 days. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting,
nausea, severe stomach pain, bloating, chills, a fever and body aches.

The restaurant said customers who have health concerns can call its customer care line: 844-944-1444. It has made arrangements with an urgent care clinic on Monument Road fpr people to be tested at the company's expense.

Bentley's lawsuit claims Cooper's Hawk breached its duties by failing to maintain and monitor the safety of its products, using produce exposed to fecal matter, failed to follow adequate food safety procedures, and failed to train its employees how to prevent transmission of Cyclospora.

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