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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Two E. coli Lawsuits Filed Against Wendy’s in Utah

After months of attempting to resolve these cases without litigation, after five days of mediation with no resolution, we filed suit against Wendy’s (perhaps now Arby’s) in Salt Lake City Federal Court on behalf of two victims who suffered severe hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).  We did settle with Wendy’s insurance companies several other claims of stool-culture positive victims.

As you might recall, in early August 2006, public health officials in Weber County, Utah, became aware of several people who attended a teachers’ conference luncheon that had contracted E. coli O121:H19.  On August 2, 2006, the Weber-Morgan Health Department (WMHD) issued a News Release indicating that three people had contracted E. coli O121:H19, and that two of the individuals had developed HUS.  WMHD stated that the evidence indicated that all three people contracted E. coli from the same source sometime during June 27-30 at a restaurant in the Ogden, Utah area.  By August 7, WMHD officials had revised the number of outbreak victims to four, including three who had developed HUS.  A final report was issued.  Three of the HUS patients with E. coli O121:H19 were laboratory confirmed by stool culture. DNA subtyping by Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) showed that one of the individuals that was not associated with the conference, but who had consumed cheeseburgers from Wendy’s during the outbreak period, was an identical genetic match to one of the previous confirmed E. coli cases associated with Wendy’s.  See also "Women sue Wendy’s for E. coli poisoning in 2006."