A second former Marine recruit exposed to undercooked meat at the service’s West Coast boot camp has filed a federal lawsuit against the company that provided the food.

Michael Baker Jr., 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, filed the lawsuit Aug. 8 in the U.S. District Court Southern District of California. Baker alleges that he was hospitalized because of his exposure, suffered kidney failure requiring dialysis treatment and received a medical discharge in March, a mere six months after he joined.

Baker allegedly was one of 302 patients treated in late October for exposure to E. coli at both Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Camp Pendleton, California.

According to the lawsuit against the food provider, the Maryland-based Sodexo, Inc.,, Baker alleges that he contracted Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome from his exposure. He first felt symptoms that included fatigue, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which “grew in frequency and severity, and became grossly bloody.”

He reported his condition to his senior drill instructor, who immediately sent him to the medical clinic. Baker was hospitalized for two months and required three separate admissions to the Intensive Care Unit. While in the hospital he developed pneumonia and was put on a mechanical ventilator for four days. His kidney’s then failed, and he required repeated dialysis treatments.

He’s the second former recruit to file a lawsuit.

Vincent Grano, 19, was discharged in June due to medical complications, alleged kidney failure and permanent kidney damages he claims he suffered from exposure to the undercooked meat.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation identified two strains of E. coli present and traced the exposure to undercooked ground beef served to recruits at the dining facilities.

Grano and Baker weren’t alone. Steven Posy, spokesman for MCRD San Diego, said that three recruits were discharged last year “based on medical conditions that may be associated with E. coli.”

Citing privacy rules, Posy could not disclose details about the discharged Marines.

Following the incident and investigation, he said officials increased medical inspections of the dining facilities and reinforced recruit hygiene practices. But officials did not modify the Sodexo food service contract.

Attorneys for Baker and Grano allege in their lawsuit that the investigation “showed that SODEXO, INC. employees routinely undercooked ground beef served to recruits, and only intermittently checked the temperature of foods, including ground beef, using an appropriate thermometer.”

Sodexo’s Director of Public Relations, Enrico Dinges, responded to an earlier Marine Corps Times request for comment by noting that the CDC report “did not conclusively determine or identify the source of the E. coli.”

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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