Bill Marler is an accomplished personal injury and products liability attorney. He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Bill settled Brianne’s case for $15.6 million, creating a Washington state record for an individual personal injury action. He settled several other Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak cases for more than $1.5 million each.
In 1998, Bill and his law partners settled the claims of three small children who became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections and hemolytic uremic syndrome after drinking Odwalla apple juice for a reported $12 million. Since that time, Bill has focused his practice on representing individuals, mostly children, in litigation resulting from E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, hepatitis A, and other food-contamination cases, and has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak across the country. He has represented individuals against BJ’s Wholesale Club, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, and Wendy’s, as well as other food companies and restaurants.
Bill has also represented children in litigation after they became ill from exposure to contaminated water and infected farm animals. He represented several children who suffered kidney failure after contracting E. coli at White Water Waterpark in Georgia in 1998, and has represented dozens of individuals who have become ill with E. coli after being exposed at fairs across the country. Marler Clark is currently involved in litigation resulting from a Cryptosporidium outbreak at Sprayground, a spray park in central New York. Over the years, he has won $500 million for his clients.
Under the auspices of the non-profit Outbreak, Inc, Bill spends much of his time traveling to address food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about foodborne illness litigation and issues surrounding it. He has testified before Congress as well as State legislatures. He is also a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness. Bill co-authored the article, “How to document a food poisoning case” with David Babcock for the November, 2004 issue of Trial Magazine, and presented his paper, “Separating the Chaff from the Wheat: How to determine the strength of a foodborne illness claim,” at the 2005 Defense Research Institute meeting on food liability. The February, 2005 Food Safety In-Sight newsletter by Environ Health Associates, Inc. featured Bill’s article, “Food Claims and Litigation.” He also wrote, “How to Keep Your Focus on Food Safety,” an article that appeared in the June-July, 2005 issue of Food Safety Magazine.
Mr. Marler is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law class of 1987. In 1998, he became the Law School’s “Lawyer in Residence.” Mr. Marler received undergraduate degrees in Political Science, English, and Economics from Washington State University in 1982. While attending WSU, he was elected to the Pullman City Council. At 19, he was the youngest person, and first student, ever elected. In 1997, Mr. Marler received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the WSU College of Liberal Arts. In 1998, Governor Gary Locke appointed Mr. Marler to the University Board of Regents. He recently served as President of the Board. He also served on the State Higher Education Coordinating Board. In April, 2010 Mr. Marler was awarded the prestigious NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Innovation in Education. In 2008, he was awarded both the Seattle/King County Bar Association 2008 Outstanding Lawyer Award and the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association’s “Public Justice Award,” and in 2013 he was honored with the Seattle University Distinguished Law Graduate Award. Mr. Marler has been chosen by the attorneys of the State of Washington as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 1998. He has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys. He has been chosen as one of “America’s Best Lawyers” in every year since 2009. He is married to Julie Marler and they have three daughters, Morgan, Olivia, and Sydney.
Bill and Marler Clark have been profiled in many reports. Here are a few:
- Food Safety Lawyer Puts His Money Where Your Mouth Is, AOL News, Andrew Schneider, September 29, 2010
- Food Safety Lawyer’s Wish: Put me out of Business Seattle Times, Maureen O’Hagen November 23, 2009
- When Food Sickens, He Heads for Courthouse Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Matt McKinney, June 24, 2009
- E. Coli Lawyer Is Busier Than Ever Associated Press, February 4, 2008
- Legally Speaking: The food poisoning lawyer The Southeast Texas Record, By John G. Browning, November 20, 2007
- Food Safety and the CEO: Keys to Bottom Line Success Food Safety Magazine, By William Marler, October/November 2007 issue
- The nation’s leading food-borne illness attorney tells all Washington State Magazine, By Hannelore Sudermann, August 2007
- Back to court: Burst of E. coli cases returns Jack in the Box litigator to the scene Meat and Poultry News, By Steve Bjerklie, June 08, 2007
- Mr. Food Illness Esquire QSR Magazine, By Fred Minnick, February 2007
- Seattle Attorney Dominates Food-Borne Illness Litigation KPLU, October 20, 2006
- How a Tiny Law Firm Made Hay Out of Tainted Spinach The Wall Street Journal, By Heather Won Tesoriero and Peter Lattman, September 27, 2006
- THE INSIDE STORY: How 11 Schoolkids Got $4.75 Million in E. coli Lawsuit MeatingPlace.com, By Bryan Salvage, March 7, 2001
- Hammer Time: Preparation pays when disputes escalate to lawsuits Meat & Poultry Magazine, By David Hendee
- For Seattle Attorney, A Bacterium Brings Riches — and Enemies The Wall Street Journal, By Rachel Zimmerman
- The Bug That Ate The Burger Los Angeles Times, By Emily Green, June 2001
- Courting publicity, attorney makes safe food his business Seattle Post, By Maggie Leung, September 7, 1999