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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Chi-Chi’s litigation hinges on company’s insurance

In an article Chi-Chi’s litigation hinges on company’s insurance, the Associated Press reported yesterday about the lawsuits my firm is handling in the hepatitis A outbreak which has so far claimed three lives and made at least 600 people ill. The source of the outbreak has been traced to Mexican grown green onions, but thus far only the restaurant has been named in the lawsuits.

That does not mean the farm that grew the onions, or the middlemen that shipped or sold them can’t also be sued successfully – but Chi-Chi’s is the top target because they likely have the deepest pockets, said William Marler, a Seattle attorney who has filed three of the five Chi-Chi’s lawsuits so far.

“Chi-Chi’s is always on the hook – regardless of whether it’s green onions are not” that caused the virus, he said. “Generally speaking, the upstream supplier of tainted products is not going to have much in the way of assets or insurance.”

My firm represents about 80 of the people who either got hepatitis or had to receive shots to prevent getting sick after eating at the Chi Chi’s restaurant in Beaver County. I’ve filed three lawsuits so far, but the cases have been put on hold by the bankruptcy judge.