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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Salmonella Lawsuit Filed On Behalf of Memphis Father and Son Hospitalized by Tainted Barbeque

A lawsuit stemming from the recent outbreak of Salmonella illnesses was filed today in the Circuit Court for Shelby County, Tennessee against A&R Bar-be-que, LLC. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Memphis father and son by Seattle foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark and by John Day of the Tennessee firm Day & Blair.

Foodborne illnesses reported to the Shelby County Health Department by patrons of the A&R Bar-be-que restaurant at 3701 Hickory Hill Road prompted the Health Department to launch an investigation on July 14. The restaurant closed voluntarily on July 25 and remains closed at this time.

Eric Phillips Sr. bought food at the Hickory Hill A&R Bar-be-que on July 9, 2009. He and his son ate food from the restaurant on July 9 and 10. On Friday, July 10, the 15-year-old began to feel nauseous and ill. His condition worsened over the weekend, and he was taken to the doctor on Tuesday. The doctor instructed the family to keep the boy hydrated, and he was sent home. However, his symptoms increased in severity and he experienced vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea over the next few days. On the following Monday, July 20, his mother took him to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted and diagnosed with Salmonella.

Meanwhile, Eric Phillips Sr. was experiencing similar symptoms over the same period of time. He was eventually admitted to Methodist Germantown Hospital in Memphis.

Both father and son suffered acute kidney failure as a result of their Salmonella infections, requiring extensive medical treatment, including dialysis. They both remain in the hospital.

“The impact on this father and son—and family—will be life-long,” said the family’s attorney, Andy Weisbecker. “No one can change that, but what we can do is to make sure that they have a way to pay for the care they will need.”

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal illnesses in the US: Salmonellosis. It can be present in uncooked or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or unpasteurized dairy products, as well as other foods contaminated during harvest, production, or packaging. Symptoms can begin 6 to 72 hours from consumption, and include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. Dehydration is a concern, especially with the elderly, very young, or immune compromised.

“Anyone experiencing these symptoms should ask their healthcare providers to culture a stool sample,” continued Weisbecker. “The culture will indicate if Salmonella is present and can assist in determining if the illness is part of a larger outbreak.”