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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Marler Clark in the News – Salmonella, E. coli and Hepatitis A

Nearly 100 have been sickened by a rare serotype of Salmoenlla.  “East Vancouver eatery sued over salmonella outbreak” – Oregon couple sickened after eating at On The Border.

Marler Clark attorneys have represented thousands of people in lawsuits against restaurants and companies where the food was identified as the source of illness. The firm handled most of the litigation against Jack in the Box after an E. coli outbreak in 1993 sickened more than 700 people, most of whom lived in Washington.

“Vancouver restaurant’s owner sued after salmonella outbreak”  His case and that of another Vancouver man are expected to be filed today by the Seattle law firm of Bill Marler, a nationally recognized food poisoning litigator also representing the Maynards.   Marler said the outbreak is one of the worst he’s seen connected to a restaurant.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years and most restaurant outbreaks, especially for salmonella, tend to be in the 20 to 25 range,” Marler said. “To have 100 cases shows that significant contamination went on for a long period of time.”

After 38 sickened with one dead I asked from E. coli at a petting zoo, the LA Times asked in –  “Ban petting zoos? E. coli outbreak raises questions:”

Some experts used the outbreak to discuss the dangers of animal exhibits.

“Ban petting zoos?” wrote Seattle food safety lawyer Bill Marler in an email. “I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth over such an un-American suggestion.”

And, I left lawyer haters scratching their heads after reading the Fayetteville paper’s story –  “Fayetteville hepatitis lawsuit settlement approved; Olive Garden to pay $250 per claim:”

Eligible people can file claims over the next several weeks. Claims must be mailed and in the hands of the administrator by Nov. 27. If the settlement agreement is approved in a final hearing in Cumberland County Superior Court in December, payments would likely go out either later that month or in early January, said William D. Marler, a Seattle lawyer who represented the plaintiffs.

The amount of the payments may depend on how many people file claims. If no more than 1,500 eligible people file claims, they will receive $250 each. If more claimants file, their payments will be prorated based on the $375,000 total fund that is available. If fewer than 1,500 people file claims and money is left over, it will be donated anonymously to a charity, Marler said.

Marler said he and the other plaintiffs’ lawyers are doing the work for free.

He said that is partly because of the nature of the case. Fortunately, he said, no one got sick as a result of the infected restaurant worker. But many went to the trouble of getting immunized and will now get some compensation for their hassle.

“It’s obviously a really low amount,” he said. “If the lawyers got compensated, it would be an exponential amount more than the people.”

That just would not look fair, he said.

This way, he said, the claimants will likely receive more than they would have if the lawyers had not waived their fees and costs.

So much for today.