Header graphic for print
Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Supreme Court refuses to review E. coli verdict

The families of 11 children sickened by E. coli bacteria in a school lunch nearly five years ago will likely get the $4.6 million awarded by a jury.
A Benton County Superior jury awarded $4.6 million in early 2001 after finding the district at fault for serving undercooked meat in tacos to Finley Elementary School students in October 1998.

The district’s insurers had asked the state’s highest court to consider the case, but the justices refused on Thursday for the second time.

Marler Clark’s Denis Stearns said:

“The only option remaining is to ask the high court to reconsider, but succeeding in that bid would be highly unlikely in a case the justices have twice refused.”

The affected families are glad the court battle is over. Five years have passed since the kids ate the tainted taco lunch, and these families still have medical bills to pay.

2-year-old Faith Maxwell was awarded $3.6 million, plus past medical expenses, even though she didn’t eat the contaminated taco meal. She was infected by a child who ate the lunch and suffered serious kidney problems that are expected to cause her kidneys to fail.

The other 10 children’s awards started at $1,200 plus medical expenses. Children besides Faith who had kidney problems and were taken to Children’s Hospital in Seattle were awarded about $275,000, plus past medical expenses.

Most of the money not spent on medical expenses so far will be held in trust for the children’s education and medical expenses.