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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

More Peanut Butter Press Quotes – Friday, January 30, 2009

Peanut Product Recall Took Company Approval  The F.D.A. can seize a product that it suspects is contaminated, and it can ask a federal judge for authority to recall products if a maker refuses to do so. The agency can also announce that it suspects problems with a product before the company agrees to a recall. But it rarely does any of these.  Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer in Seattle, said the agency had neither the authority nor the courage it needed to keep the food supply safe.

Feds rarely file charges in tainted food cases   "There have been innumerable times they could have prosecuted but didn’t," said Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has filed two lawsuits against Peanut Corp. of America over the recent outbreak. "My sad speculation, frankly, is that prosecutors in the U.S. on the Justice Department side or state side don’t see poisoning people with food for profit as a crime."

Salmonella outbreak: What you need to know
  "Has most of it been consumed? Probably. Or is it in some broker’s warehouse? Some of these products have a [two-year] shelf life," said Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in food poisoning lawsuits and has become a food safety expert.

Punitive Claims Added to Peanut Butter Suit in Light of FDA Report  Bill Marler, a partner at Marler Clark in Seattle, who filed the suit, said the recent FDA report indicates willful intent. "Based on the fact that the plant was having pretty severe problems and was pretty clearly shipping product knowing it may likely be contaminated, it certainly, in my view, reaches to the level of a punitive claim," he said, especially if criminal charges are to be brought.

Federal officials want criminal investigation of peanut company
  "It’s an unusually high number of deaths for a salmonella outbreak," said Bill Marler, a Seattle lawyer and expert on food poisoning cases.

Lawsuits saddle peanut butter industry  "We do not allege punitive damages in most cases," attorney Bill Marler (of the firm Marler Clark) says in a press release. "Just the most egregious. In fifteen years of litigating food cases, this is one of the worst examples of corporate irresponsibility I have ever seen. Not only does the plant appear to have had atrocious practices, but the product that seems to have repeatedly tested positive for Salmonella but was shipped to hospitals, nursing homes and schools regardless."

Congress to hold hearings on peanut product recall
  Meanwhile, a third lawsuit was filed on behalf of a victim against PCA yesterday. Seattle attorney Bill Marler, a 15-year veteran in litigating food-borne illness cases, filed in the U.S. District Court of California, Northern District, on behalf of the Trone family of Crescent City, Calif.‚Ä®‚Ä®The suit alleges that up to and including Christmas Day, Bryson Trone, 3, ate peanut butter cracker sandwiches made with PCA’s peanut butter product. He fell ill Dec. 26, and when symptoms worsened, was admitted to the hospital, where he remained for 5 days. While hospitalized, he tested positive for the strain of Salmonella Typhimurium associated with the PCA outbreak.

McGuire Says No Thanks to Peanut Corporation of America  Marler, who is filing another lawsuit today on behalf of the family of a boy who fell ill, says he’s now in contact with a new PCA attorney: Alan Maxwell, a partner of the Atlanta-based firm Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial. According to his bio, Maxwell has cornered the market on food-borne illness defense work, having represented, among others, spinach producers suspected in E. Coli outbreaks and other peanut butter producers sued over salmonella outbreaks.

Latest peanut scare may be linked to previous outbreak  One logical explanation could be the raw peanuts supplied to ConAgra before its salmonella contamination in late 2006-early 2007 came from the same farmer who supplied PCA during the current contamination, said Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who sued ConAgra on behalf of sickened people in 2007 and last month filed two suits on behalf of people sickened by PCA.