When defense counsel for multi-billion dollar Cargill (who I sued on behalf of Stephanie Smith and others in a 2007 E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak – and in earlier outbreaks) paints me as the industry Bogey Man in his presentation before the American Council for Food Safety & Quality: “Lessons Learned from Recent Foodborne Illness Outbreaks and Recalls,” I clearly am doing my job, and doing it well:
The ambulance chaser B.S. aside, I appreciate the compliment on my effectiveness is scaring the $#&^ out of the industry. The reality is that Cargill and my clients reached out of court settlements, not becasue I chased an ambulance, but because Cargill’s product left some of its customers horribly injured with hemolytic uremic syndrome. Here was the press release:
Stephanie Smith and Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation announce jointly that they have settled the lawsuit filed by Ms. Smith in December 2009. Ms. Smith, a twenty-two year old former dance instructor from Cold Spring, Minnesota, sued for the severe injuries she suffered as a result of an E. coli O157:H7 infection in Fall 2007. Cargill acknowledged responsibility for her injuries since first learning of them and has been providing financial help to her and her family.
Ms. Smith and Cargill agree that the confidential settlement will provide for Ms. Smith’s care throughout her life. She is presently paralyzed from the waist down, but her goal is to dance again. “This settlement will allow Stephanie to continue her fight to return to her greatest passion, dance,” said William D. Marler, food safety advocate and Ms. Smith’s attorney. “The Smith family appreciates this resolution and looks forward to Stephanie’s continued rehabilitation,” added Marler.
Cargill deeply regrets Ms. Smith’s injuries and is also hopeful for her continued rehabilitation. Cargill has invested more than $1 billion in ongoing meat science research and new food safety technologies and interventions to eliminate E. coli and other naturally occurring pathogens that can lead to food-borne illnesses.
Perhaps next year the American Council for Food Safety & Quality will invite me?