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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Settlements reached in Peanut Corporation of America Salmonella Outbreak

As everyone well remembers, on April 20, 2009, the CDC announced that 714 persons had been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in 46 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state was as follows: Alabama (2), Arizona (14), Arkansas (6), California (81), Colorado (18), Connecticut (11), Florida (1), Georgia (6), Hawaii (6), Idaho (17), Illinois (12), Indiana (11), Iowa (3), Kansas (2), Kentucky (3), Louisiana (1), Maine (5), Maryland (11), Massachusetts (49), Michigan (38), Minnesota (44), Missouri (15), Mississippi (7), Montana (2), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (14), New Jersey (24), New York (34), Nevada (7), North Carolina (6), North Dakota (17), Ohio (102), Oklahoma (4), Oregon (15), Pennsylvania (19), Rhode Island (5), South Dakota (4), Tennessee (14), Texas (10), Utah (8), Vermont (4), Virginia (24), Washington (25), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (5), and Wyoming (2). Additionally, one ill person was reported from Canada.

Illnesses began between September 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. Patients range in age from <1 to 98 years. The median age of patients is 16 years, which means that half of ill persons are younger than 16 years. 21% are age <5 years, 17% are >59 years. 48% of patients are female. Among persons with available information, 24% reported being hospitalized. Infection may have contributed to nine deaths: Idaho (1), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (1), Ohio (2), and Virginia (2).

Of the 714 people sickened, only about 100 people claims were made to the bankruptcy trustee. We represented 42 of those, that included several hospitalized and two deaths. The bankruptcy trustee divided the insurance policy ($12,000,000) between the claimants based on level of severity of the illness. In addition to that portion of the award, we also made claims against Kellogg and those claims were settled as well.