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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

E. coli’s effects linger

This article at the Monterey Herald gives a comprehensive assessment on the problems faced by the lettuce and spinach industry of Salinas over the next year – a solution needs to be found.

From the article:

Bill Marler, a partner in the Seattle law firm Marler Clark, who has represented victims in high-profile foodborne illness lawsuits against Odwalla and Jack in the Box, said he doesn’t think San Juan Bautista-based Natural Selection has enough insurance to cover victims’ claims, which he estimates at more than $100 million.

The result, Marler said, is that Dole — for whom Natural Selection processed and packaged spinach and whose bagged spinach has been the only brand to which investigators have traced the E. coli strain — will eventually have to cover some claims.

"The problem for Natural Selection," he said, "is for every dollar Dole pays, they are going to want it out of Natural Selection’s hide."

To protect themselves from paying back Dole, Marler predicts that Natural Selection — parent company of Earthbound Farm, the largest grower-shipper of organic produce in the country — will need to file for bankruptcy.