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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

E. coli Lawsuit Filed in Five State – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia Outbreak

Marler Clark and Rochester-Buffalo-based Underberg & Kessler will file a third lawsuit against salad supplier State Garden Monday on behalf of a mother-and daughter-in-law who became ill with E. coli infections after eating organic spinach and spring mix in October. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo on behalf of Sanborn, NY resident Beth Duerr and her daughter-in-law, Erica Duerr, of North Tonawanda, NY. Two previous lawsuits filed by the law firms were brought on behalf of Rochester-area plaintiffs.

According to the complaint, Beth Duerr purchased an Organic Spinach and Spring Mix salad blend manufactured by State Garden on October 18, 2012. Erica Duerr, her husband and their 2 children—one an infant she had given birth to just 2 weeks before—visited Beth’s home the weekend of October 19. During the visit, both women consumed the salad mix.

By October 22, Erica had fallen ill with symptoms of E. coli infection, including nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. A registered nurse, Erica was aware of the risks of passing an infection to her newborn baby and was therefore unable to care for, nurse or even touch the baby. The following day, Erica’s stool became grossly bloody and her husband raced her to the emergency department. After treatment for dehydration and a CT scan, Erica was diagnosed with colitis. She declined to stay in the hospital overnight since she wanted to be home with her family, but her symptoms continued to worsen to the point where she was too weak to stand. Her husband brought Erica back to the ER later that same day for more treatment and an overnight stay.

Beth Duerr, who was helping take care of her grandchildren during Erica’s illness, fell ill with an E. coli infection on October 27. She too sought treatment at the ER, and while there learned that a stool sample Erica had submitted for testing was positive for the strain of E. coli O157:H7 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has associated with a 28-person E. coli outbreak among residents of 5 states – Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (2), New York (22), Pennsylvania (1), and Virginia (1).