Don Hamilton, a Columbian staff writer, reported today that our firm will be representing two families victimized by the recent E. coli outbreak with an eye toward suing Dee Creek Farm, the farm that provided the raw milk that sickened their children.
Eighteen people, 15 of them children ages 1 to 13, have been sickened in the outbreak, and all 18 consumed raw milk from Dee Creek Farm near Woodland. Two children remain hospitalized but their conditions are improving.
Clark County and state health officials have been testing and cross-testing milk samples and E. coli victims to determine the scientific link between the milk and the bacteria.
Tests so far confirm seven have the 0157:H7 E. coli strain, which is safe for cows but dangerous in people. The four completed tests all show an identical DNA fingerprint, indicating a common source of infection, said Marni Storey, Clark County public health manager.
From the article:
Drew Falkenstein, an associate with Marler Clark, said two families, each with a child suffering from exposure to E. coli, have retained the firm to represent them in any possible claims that may arise from the outbreak. He said the firm is still investigating the case, but litigation is possible.
“I suspect we’ll file a lawsuit against the farm,” he said. “I think that’s where this is headed.”
The law firm is also looking into suing the state of Washington for not doing more to protect consumers of the farm’s raw milk. The farm was operating without a license, as required under state law. In August, the state ordered Dee Creek Farm’s owners, Anita and Michael Puckett, to stop distributing the raw milk. The Pucketts refused but said they were preparing to apply for a license.
“Is there any blame the state must bear in this? It’s a possibility,” Falkenstein said, “and we’ll delve into all areas of inquiry before we decide on any course of action.”
Falkenstein, a Longview native, said E. coli poisoning can cause severe long-term health problems leading to kidney dialysis and kidney transplants later in life. He said legal action could help ensure the medical well-being over the lifetimes of the victims.