Feb 17, 2006

Carrabba’s Italian Grill of Delta Township is publicly apologizing for making more than 400 of its customers sick last month. Health officials say sick employees of Carrabba’s caused an outbreak of norovirus.

It’s a full page ad in the Lansing State Journal, where the president of Carrabba’s Italian Grill extends sincere apologies to Lansing and urges victims of the illness outbreak to settle their claims with the restaurant’s insurance company, and that’s exactly what one woman who got sick says she’s doing. Amy Paulis is back on her feet after she says dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill literally brought her to her knees, unable to feel anything but sickness.

Amy Paulis, Carrabba’s victim: “It just took its toll on me, because it hit my family. The only person who didn’t get sick was my husband.”

She says her two children didn’t even eat at Carrabba’s with her, but picked up the stomach virus anyway. Health department records show over 400 others got sick too, but Paulis says she’s feeling even better now that she may be getting a settlement from the restaurant for her all her pain. Just like the full-page apology asks, Paulis says submitted her claim online.

Amy Paulis: “I just explained that I missed two days of work, and so did my husband, to stay home and take care of our children.”

She says she hasn’t heard back from Carrabba’s yet, but other friends like this one who dined with Paulis that fateful night have already gotten a response.

Amy Paulis: “I believe it was $300 that they ended up compensating her for missing work, her meal and just being sick, pretty generous.”

And even though other victims are going another route, suing over the illness outbreak. Paulis says that’s not an option for her.

Amy Paulis: “If they’re willing to have their insurance company compensate people that were sick, and they’ve admitted that they made a mistake, and they’re going to correct it, then that’s good enough for me.”

Eaton County circuit court says there are two cases on file against Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and the lawyer who filed one of those claims tells me he’s working on putting together a class action suit.