Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli O157:H7, hepatitis A, and Salmonella. In 1993, Bill Marler represented HUS survivor Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million E. coli settlement with Jack in the Box. Since that time, Marler Clark has represented thousands of individuals, mostly children, in litigation resulting from consumption of contaminated food and water, as well as exposures to contaminated swimming pools, petting zoos, and other recreational environments.
Marler Clark has brought claims on behalf of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks traced to ground beef, lettuce, sprouts, apple juice, and other foods. The firm has litigated against the meat producers, fresh produce firms, restaurants, supermarkets, and other entities responsible for such outbreaks.
Marler Clark represented a woman who became ill with Listeriosis and suffered a miscarriage after consuming Listeria-contaminated cheese while on vacation in Victoria, British Columbia.
Marler Clark represented the family of an 11-year-old Georgia boy who spent four days in the hospital after becoming ill with E. coli O157:H7 after eating a contaminated hamburger at Danielsville Elementary School in April of 1998.
The meat was traced to Bauer Meat Co. of Ocala Florida, leading federal officials to close down the company and recall 38,000 pounds of ground beef that had been distributed to schools, military bases and other institutions in Georgia and North Carolina.
At least 18 people in suburban New York and New Jersey were poisoned by E. coli O157:H7 that was eventually traced to bulk ground beef bought from BJ's Wholesale Club.
The Massachusetts-based wholesaler initially denied any responsibility, but eventually agreed to a limited recall of ground beef.
Marler Clark represented the most seriously ill children who were sickened by eating hamburgers made from the tainted beef in the summer of 2002.
Contaminated cannoli filling and cassata cakes from a popular local bakery poisoned nearly 200 people in Clinton Township - suburban Detroit - Michigan in early 2002.
State investigators blamed poor sanitation practices, lack of employee hand-washing, and cross contamination of Salmonella-contaminated eggs or dairy products in the kitchen. Of 196 people who were sickened, 24 were hospitalized with extreme diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting and other painful symptoms linked to E. coli. Investigators could not determine the precise origin of the contamination, but reported that the outbreak was worsened by poor kitchen practices.
Marler Clark represented many of those most-sickened by the toxin, which contaminated products sold at the bakery and served at a variety of events.
The Kent County Health Department announced on May 18, 2005 that approximately 125 people became ill with Norovirus infections after eating food purchased from a Grand Rapids Blimpie's restaurant in May, 2005.
In May of 2006, a norovirus outbreak was traced to food served at Bravo! Cucina Italiana restaurant in Lansing, Michigan. Over 500 people contacted the Ingham County Health Department to report experiencing symptoms of norovirus after eating at Bravo.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against Bravo on May 15, 2006. The firm plans to pursue litigation on a number of other plaintiffs.
In the summer of 2002, an outbreak of salmonella poisoning was traced to the restaurant at the Brook-Lea Country Club in suburban Rochester, NY. Nearly 100 people fell ill in the initial outbreak, which was followed by a second outbreak a few weeks later.
For a time, the country club board of governors attributed the outbreaks to "deliberate contamination of food." The specific cause was not identified, but the Brook-Lea restaurant was closed for some time.
Marler Clark settled the claims of 75 individuals who were ill with Salmonella infections.
The Saline County Health Department and Arkansas Department of Health investigated a Salmonella outbreak in Benton, Arkansas, in May, 2005. What was originally believed to be a small outbreak, with only nine ill people, ballooned into a large outbreak, with dozens of people reporting illness.
The Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) received a confirmed report of hepatitis A in a food handler employed at the Carl's Jr., Restaurant on February 16, 2000. Health Department staff sent out a public notice, and encouraged any person who consumed food at Carl's Jr. on days the food handler worked to receive IG treatment.
Marler Clark represented several people who contracted hepatitis A after eating at Carl's Jr. as well as those who received Immune Globulin shots to prevent infection.
Marler Clark represented a 10-year-old Minnesota boy poisoned by E. coli O157:H7 contamination in ground beef processed by Carneco Foods, of Nebraska, and sold by Sam's Club in Eagan, Minnesota, in the summer of 2004. The youth suffered more than a week of extreme pains and bloody diarrhea, followed by a month of weakness and exhaustion.
The outbreak eventually prompted federal authorities to recall nearly 500,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties manufactured by Carneco, some of which was branded as "Northern Plains" and sold at Sam's Club stores in Minnesota.
Over 400 diners became ill with Norovirus after eating at Carrabba's Italian Restaurant in Lansing, Michigan, after eating there on the weekend of Jan. 28-29. Ill food workers for the restaurant, which has a history of critical food safety violations, were the likely cause of the outbreak, according to an investigation by the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against Carrabba's on February 14, 2006, and will pursue claims on behalf of all victims of the outbreak who contact the firm.
In June of 2002, the Tarrant County Public Health Department Disease Control Section was notified of the hospitalization of a 2-year old child with a diagnosis of hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, a complication of an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Over the following days, the Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPHD) was notified of several additional cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections, which included five positive stool cultures. All of the identified cases were associated with the CCC Alternative Learning Program Daycare in Fort Worth, Texas.
In the end, the TCPHD identified 15 cases of E. coli O157:H7 associated with the daycare, including 12 children, one daycare staff member and one parent of a daycare attendee. TCPDH conducted an investigation into the source of the infections. TCPDH reported that the investigation identified "several breaches in food preparation and procedures at the daycare facility."
TCPDH reported that "many parents report food being prepared and served (at the daycare), which was prior to city permitting." TCPDH also stated that appropriate sources of drinking water were not available in the building housing the smaller children. Staff reported to TCPDH that water jugs were filled using the bathroom sink. TCPDH stated that a swimming pool at the facility was reported in use with murky water prior to chlorination and without permitting for use by the city.
Perhaps most importantly, staff, parents and children reported the frequent practice of having portable lunches out on the daycare grounds by a pond, which collected pasture run off of nearby grazing cattle. TCPDH reported that several water samples of pond water confirmed a heavy concentration of E. coli O157:H7.
The City of Fort Worth Consumer Health Division cited the facility for multiple violations.
Marler Clark represented the family of a little girl who became ill with E. coli and HUS in litigation against the daycare facility.
Twelve Rochelle Foods workers tested positive for Salmonella between April 5 and April 22, 2005. Two of the twelve individuals were plant cafeteria workers, and employees of C.L. Swanson Corporation.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against C.L. Swanson on behalf of a Rochelle Foods worker who became ill with a Salmonella infection after eating at the cafeteria.
In November, 2003, at least 660 people were sickened, and four died from Hepatitis A contracted from Mexican-grown green onions served at the Beaver Valley Mall Chi-Chi's Restaurant near Pittsburg. The Food and Drug Administration attributed the outbreak to poor sanitation that allowed the Hepatitis A move from Mexican fields to the salsa and condiment tables at Chi-Chi's. The outbreak, linked to similar outbreaks in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina, is considered the largest single-source epidemic of Hepatitis A in U.S. history.
Marler Clark represented many of the approximately 300 victims who were seeking compensation from Chi-Chi's and four companies that supplied the green onions.
Chi-Chi's, a chain of about 100 restaurants was already in bankruptcy before the outbreak, but claims were paid by its insurance carrier. About 76 of the restaurants were purchased by Outback Steakhouses Inc, which plans to convert them to its own brands.
Nearly 50 people represented by Marler Clark received substantial settlements after contracting salmonella poisoning at Chili's Grill and Bar in the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills, north of Chicago, Illinois.
More than 300 patrons and restaurant employees suffered stomach pains and other symptoms after eating at the restaurant in late June of 2003. Health authorities reported that the restaurant continued to operate even after a dishwashing sanitizer broke down and the kitchen lost its fresh water supply.
County officials called it the worst salmonella outbreak in nearly 20 years. Among those sickened were 29 restaurant workers, and authorities blamed the outbreak on poor sanitation, including the lack of safe water for hand-washing.
Marler Clark represented Iva Hayes, a woman who became severely ill with an E. coli infection after eating at a China Buffet restaurant in Alexandria, Minnesota. She suffered from Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP), and was hospitalized for months.
In the early summer of 2002, hospitals saw a sudden increase of patients, most young children, with acute food poisoning - illnesses that eventually were diagnosed as E. coli O157:H7. The E. coli outbreak sickened people across the Midwest, in cities and towns ranging from Colorado and South Dakota to Missouri and Ohio. In late June, the E. coli was traced to ground beef from a sprawling ConAgra meat-packing plant in Greeley Colorado, a short drive north of Denver. That disclosure eventually led to the recall of 18 million pounds of ConAgra ground beef, the largest such recall in history.
Marler Clark represented most of the victims of the outbreak, which led to at least 46 illnesses and one death. Among the victims were an Ohio childcare worker, a Colorado security officer who was battling forest firefighters, and young children in Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota. Several of them were hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney disease caused by E. coli O157:H7.
A Cuyahoga County Health Department investigation revealed that twenty-one customers who had eaten at Corky & Lenny's Restaurant in Woodmere, near Cleveland, Ohio, between January 29 and February 10, 2006, were hospitalized with Salmonella infections. At least twenty individuals were confirmed ill with Salmonellosis, and 61 probable cases were reported to the health department. Corky & Lenny's closed on February 10th, and reopened on February 17th, after it had been deemed safe by the health department.
Marler Clark filed suit on behalf of a Cleveland-area woman who contracted Salmonella after consuming food from Corky and Lenny's. The firm represents twelve patrons of the restaurant, most of which were hospitalized as a result of their Salmonella infections.
On November 20, 2002, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) was notified of seven confirmed hepatitis A cases in the area. All local boards of health were notified, and an investigation of a hepatitis A outbreak linked to two D'Angelo's Delis began. Ultimately, the investigation yielded a total of 53 cases meeting the outbreak case definition.
Two of the confirmed cases were food workers employed at Rudy's Country Store. Both employees had eaten at the Swansea D'Angelo's three to four weeks prior to the onset of their respective symptoms. Both of the Rudy's employees who tested positive had contact with food served to customers.
Approximately 1600 persons obtained Immune Globulin shots to prevent hepatitis A infection. No hepatitis A cases were linked to the consumption of food sold at Rudy's.
In December, 2005, raw milk produced at Dee Creek Farm as part of a cow share program was pinpointed as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened at least 18 people. Over a dozen children were hospitalized with E. coli infections after drinking the unpasteurized milk.
In September, 2005, the Minnesota Department of Health warned consumers not to eat Dole-brand prepackaged lettuce products sold at stores throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area because the lettuce had been traced as the source of an E. coli outbreak that had sickened 23 consumers.
Marler Clark filed lawsuits on behalf of Minnesota and Oregon residents who became ill with E. coli infections after eating the Dole-brand lettuce, including an eleven-year-old girl who was hospitalized for over a month with hemolytic uremic syndrome secondary to her E. coli infection.
On September 5, 2002, a statewide notice was issued to local health departments, and regional offices of the Wisconsin Department Public Health, reporting a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses, and announcing the initiation of a case-control study. This was the first in a series of events and investigations that would ultimately result in the recall of 2.8 million pounds of Emmpak-manufactured ground beef that was suspected of being adulterated with E. coli O157:H7.
One Emmpak plant was closed for what was deemed by the USDA-FSIS to be inadequate sampling and testing procedures.
In all, 57 people were sickened by the consumption of adulterated ground beef, 35 of them in Wisconsin.
Marler Clark represented the family of a 12-year-old Norcross, Georgia, boy, who was infected with a strain of E. coli bacteria after eating a tainted hamburger, in litigation against Excel Corp. meatpacking company in 2001.
Alexander White became sick and was hospitalized for four days after eating a hamburger made from meat purchased at a Sam's Club store in Duluth. Three other Georgia children also became ill with the same strain of E. coli after eating contaminated meat produced by Excel.
After the illnesses were discovered, Excel recalled 190,811 pounds of ground beef and ground pork it supplied to Kroger supermarkets in the Southeast.
On September 1, 2006, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (SDHHS) and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health announced that they were working together to investigate an apparent Shigella outbreak among customers who had eaten at the University Avenue Filiberto's. The restaurant was closed on August 31, and according to a news release issued by SDHHS , at least ten people had become ill with apparent Shigella infections after eating at Filiberto's in late August, three of whom were hospitalized.
In 2001, Marler Clark won a record $4.6 million judgment on behalf of 11 children sickened by E. coli O157:H7 in undercooked taco meat served at a school lunch at Finley Elementary School in southeast Washington State. The jury award was subsequently upheld, and the state Supreme Court declined to review that decision.
A jury agreed with state Health Department investigators who concluded that the E. coli infections came from hamburger meat that had been frozen, then inadequately thawed and cooked for the school lunches. Most of the award went to a young girl, then just 2 years old, who didn't eat the meal but was later infected by one of the older victims. The youngster underwent kidney dialysis and is expected to have lifelong aftereffects from the E. coli toxins.
Marler Clark also reached an out-of-court settlement with Northern States Beef, the company that provided the raw meat to the school district.
Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of customers and employees of a Boston-area restaurant who were exposed to the dangerous hepatitis A virus in June, 2004.
Health officials estimate that more than 3,800 people were at risk after dining at Friendly's Restaurant in Arlington, west of Boston. In mid-June, more than 3,000 of those people lined up at an area clinic to receive immune globulin ("lg") shots. Many were initially turned away and had to return later.
Hepatitis A is spread as a result of fecal contamination, often by food handlers. Officials sounded the alarm after a food handler at Friendly's was diagnosed with hepatitis A.
The Hawaii Department of Health investigated a Shigella outbreak that effected as many as several hundred passengers on twelve flights that departed from Honolulu airport August 22 through August 24, 2004.
Passengers traveling to Australia, Japan, and American Samoa as well as 22 US states were confirmed by laboratory testing as having a genetically identical strain of Shigella. All passengers had traveled on flights with meals catered by Gate Gourmet's Honolulu location.
Marler Clark represents over a dozen people in litigation against Gate Gourmet.
Marler Clark represented 35 students and teachers who suffered food poisoning from ammonia-tainted chicken in a Joliet, Illinois, school lunch in 2002.
Hundreds of children and teachers ate the lunch of chicken tenders which were contaminated with ammonia up to 133 times the level considered acceptable. Investigators learned that the chicken had been contaminated by an ammonia leak at Gateway Cold Storage in St. Louis, Missouri. Once discovered, the plant planned to throw out the tainted food, but hundreds of cases of chicken were fumigated and repackaged and shipped to schools.
In a rare criminal follow-up, state authorities indicted two Illinois Board of Education members and an operations manager at a food distribution warehouse.
Gold Coast Produce and Family Tree Produce Packaged Lettuce / Pat & Oscar's E. coli Litigation - California
Marler Clark represented many of the dozens of consumers sickened by potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 poisoning after eating pre-packaged lettuce served at Pat & Oscar's, a Southern California restaurant chain, and in school lunches, in October, 2003.
Most of the victims were young children who ate salads at Pat & Oscar's restaurants in San Diego and Orange Counties. State officials traced the E. coli to lettuce grown by Gold Coast, of Oxnard, CA, and distributed by F.T. Produce Inc. of Anaheim.
A Carlsbad High School student was hospitalized twice after contracting hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure.
In 1999, a Golden Corral restaurant in central Nebraska was the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened nearly 80 people. The outbreak was linked to contaminated lettuce served at the restaurant.
A four-year-old girl and her grandmother were among at least 23 people stricken with salmonella poisoning traced by state health authorities to the Golden Corral buffet restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Kennesaw, Georgia , in the summer of 2003.
Marler Clark represented several of the victims of the outbreak, which was probably caused by an infected food handler. The restaurant was closed for several days while health inspectors searched for the source. Salmonella bacteria was found in the floor drain.
A 20-year-old St. Louis woman nearly died from E. coli O157:H7 poisoning contracted after eating a $5 burrito at Habaneros, a once-popular Mexican restaurant at the St. Clair Square Mall in the St. Louis suburb of Fairview Heights.
Marler Clark represented five individuals who became ill with infection in E. coli litigation against Habaneros. Four of the cases were filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, but all settled in August, 2004 without going to trial.
Marler Clark represented several victims of the outbreak of Salmonella that was traced to alfalfa sprouts produced by Harmony Farms, of Auburn, Washington. The sprouts were blamed for back-to-back outbreaks of Salmonella poisoning that sickened at least 16 people in Oregon and Washington in 2003.
As a result, state health authorities ordered a recall of the alfalfa sprouts, which had been distributed to wholesalers, stores and restaurants throughout the West Coast. Even after Harmony Farms changed its procedures, there was a second outbreak later in the year that sickened more people and led to another state recall.
More than 600 people were sickened, and four children died, following a 1993 outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 that was blamed on undercooked hamburgers purchased from Jack in the Box restaurants in Washington and other Western states.
The outbreak was traced to ground beef from wholesaler Von Companies of California, and sold by Jack in the Box franchises across the West. Documents from Foodmaker, the San Diego-based parent company, showed that the company had been warned by local health departments and by their own employees that they were undercooking their hamburgers. But the company had decided that cooking beef to the Washington State standard of 155 degrees made the meat too tough.
Lawyers now at Marler Clark handled most of the litigation, which resulted in individual and class-action settlements totaling more than $50 million - the largest payments ever involving food-borne illness. The sickest victims were mostly younger children, including four who eventually died. A nine-year-old Seattle girl, who recovered after being in a coma for 42 days, won a $15.6 million settlement from the company.
A 20-month-old New Jersey boy died of E. coli poisoning in August, 2000, ten days after eating barbecued ground beef purchased at Karl Ehmer Meats in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey. Marler Clark represented the family, who were also sickened by the outbreak, but recovered.
The butcher shop, part of an East Coast chain, recalled its ground beef after health officials tested frozen hamburger in the family's freezer and traced the meat to the local shop.
E. coli-contaminated coleslaw was determined to be the source of an outbreak that sickened twelve people near Cincinnati. Marler Clark represented a woman who spent over a month in the hospital.
Marler Clark represented two small children who contracted Salmonella from "popcorn chicken" at a Colorado KFC restaurant in January of 2002. Health authorities identified two areas in the restaurant kitchen where cross-contamination could have occurred.
As many as 26 children were sickened, several of them critically, by an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 at the Kid's Korner Day Care Center in Joplin, in southwest Missouri in 2004. Marler Clark represents the family of a two-year-old who suffered kidney failure from hemolytic uremic syndrome, or "HUS."
Investigators traced the outbreak to the daycare center after several cases of E. coli poisoning were reported in the Joplin area.
The two-year-old toddler was hospitalized for nearly three weeks, including a full week of kidney dialysis, seven blood transfusions and three surgeries.
In August of 2000, the Kindercare facility located on Lexington Drive in Folsom, California, was traced as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. Health department officials who investigated the outbreak determined that the probable "index case" - a child who unknowingly brought the bacteria into the facility - experienced "explosive diarrhea at the daycare on the afternoon of 8-3-00."
Shortly thereafter, four other children became infected with E. coli O157:H7 on successive days, the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th of August, 2000. All of the children were in the same day care group. In addition to the illnesses of the children, the mother of one child, and another child's sibling became ill and tested positive for E. coli. Another toddler also became ill.
According to the Facility Evaluation Report by the Department of Social Services dated November 7, 2000, "[t]he cause of the [E. coli O157:H7] outbreak [at the Lexington Drive Kindercare] was due to a sponge being used simultaneously for wiping down a changing table and wiping down a table used for serving meals."
Marler Clark represented the families of children who became ill with E. coli as part of the Kindercare outbreak in litigation against Kindercare.
Marler Clark represented three Ohio families devastated in 2002 by an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 traced to the King Garden restaurant in Wooster, Ohio. At least 11 people, most of them young children, were seriously sickened by the contaminated food - probably Jell-O that had been stored in a refrigerator directly beneath contaminated meat.
The young victims suffered long periods of bloody diarrhea, cramps, stomach pains and more. One child suffered kidney failure.
Health officials said the restaurant had a long-standing problem with sanitation, including improper hand washing, lack of hot water at the hand-washing sink, failure to use hair restraints, meats and vegetables stored in uncovered containers, failure to clean knives and other utensils, rodent droppings and more.
Marler Clark represented an 84-year-old Goldendale, WA, man who spent 18 days in the hospital in 2002 after being poisoned by Salmonella in a cantaloupe grown in Mexico and distributed by Kunick Company of Texas.
The Salmonella outbreak sickened dozens of people in Western states and led to the recall of more than a quarter million cantaloupes. The melons were sold by Safeway and other stores and restaurants.
Cantaloupes have been increasingly associated with Salmonella outbreaks affecting consumers across the country. In 2001, a similar outbreak sickened people in 14 states from California and Washington to New York and Georgia.
As many as 250 people reported getting sick in the outbreak that happened around the weekend of April 7 and that health officials blame on salmonella contamination from a sandwich spread made with raw eggs.
Henrico County health officials pulled Linh's food-service permit after dozens of people filled hospital emergency rooms the weekend of April 7 complaining of diarrhea, chills, nausea and stomach pains. At least 25 people were hospitalized in the outbreak.
In 1998, Malt-O-Meal on recalled as much as 3 million pounds of its plain toasted oat cereal after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that it was the likely source of Salmonella food poisoning. At least 17 Washington state children became ill with Salmonella infections, and litigation resulted.
A hepatitis A outbreak in Chemung County, New York was traced to food served at the Maple Lawn Dairy Family Restaurant in October, 2004. One man died after suffering from liver failure and several secondary infections while at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where he stayed for months before his death.
Marler Clark represented two people sickened with hepatitis A after eating at a Mount Vernon McDonald's restaurant in February 1999.
Health officials reported nine cases of hepatitis A and traced them to the McDonald's, where an assistant manager continued to work after contracting the disease.
On September 14, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a nationwide E. coli O157:H7outbreak had been associated with the consumption of baby spinach. Multiple spinach recalls ensued, and on September 19, 2006, FDA announced that all spinach implicated in the outbreak had been traced back to Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California, a company located in the Salinas Valley.
As of October 12, 2006, FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 204 E. coli illnesses associated with the outbreak, including thirty-one cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, 104 hospitalizations, and three deaths. Victims of the E. coli outbreak were identified in 26 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wisconsin was the state hardest-hit in the outbreak, with 49 confirmed cases of E. coli. Canada reported one confirmed case.
A joint traceback by FDA and the State of California revealed that four spinach fields were the possible source of the E. coli contamination. The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from cattle fields nearby the implicated spinach fields, as well as from a wild boar that was killed in one of the fields. The investigation into how the outbreak originated is ongoing.
Marler Clark represents 93 victims of the E. coli outbreak, and has filed lawsuits on behalf of individuals from Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, New York, Utah, and Wisconsin.
Marler Clark represented most of the seriously-effected victims of an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 traced to Odwalla apple juice in 1996. At least 70 persons were sickened, and a 16-month-old Colorado girl died, from drinking Odwalla juice that was not pasteurized. The apple juice is believed to have become contaminated via apples that fell off trees and into cow manure before being harvested for juice. The case had a nationwide impact, demonstrating that foodborne illness can be contracted from fresh produce as well as meats.
Odwalla had built its reputation for producing "fresh" juice with no preservatives. But investigators eventually concluded that its juices contained dangerously high bacterial contamination - so much that prior to the outbreak, the U.S. Army had refused to buy Odwalla products.
The sickest victims were children in Seattle, Colorado and Washington, D.C., several of whom suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome and permanent kidney damage. Odwalla, based in Half Moon Bay, California, eventually paid a multi-million-dollar settlement to the victims and their families. Odwalla began pasteurizing its juices after the 1996 outbreak.
At least 300 people became ill with Salmonella infections after eating at the Old South Restaurant in Camden, SC in May, 2005. Fifty-one people were hospitalized as a result of their infections, and one person died. The South Carolina Department of Environmental Health traced the illnesses to undercooked turkey served in the buffet at the restaurant.
The Gresham, Oregon Olive Garden Restaurant was the source of at least 18 E. coli infections during April, 2005. Marler Clark represented a woman who became ill with an E. coli infection and was treated at the ER for severe symptoms of E. coli infection.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on July 8, 2005, that Orchid Island Juice Co. of Fort Pierce, Florida, was recalling unpasteurized orange juice. The recall came after at least fifteen people were confirmed as being ill with Salmonella Typhimurium infections, and epidemiological evidence linked the outbreak to consumption of Orchid Island orange juice.
Hundreds of consumers across the country may have been sickened in early 2004 by salmonella linked to almonds packaged by Paramount Farms in California and sold by Costco warehouses and other stores nationwide.
Marler Clark represented many of those customers, including a mother and two young children in Kennewick, Washington, who became ill after eating the raw almonds packaged by Paramount.
The company recalled 13 million pounds of its packaged almonds after health officials reported 25 cases of Salmonella poisoning traced to the product. Health officials believe far more people have fallen ill, but that their illnesses were not linked officially to the almonds. Paramount had not pasteurized its raw almonds, but began using a gas pasteurizing process following the outbreak.
A CDC investigation in 1999 determined that the source of an E. coli outbreak at Peninsula Village was food prepared in the cafeteria. Catherine Russe, a resident at Peninsula village, was hospitalized after she began suffering from Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome. Marler Clark is representing her in a lawsuit against Peninsula Village.
Marler Clark represents a Clarkston, Washington, man who was one of 58 people infected with Salmonella Enteritidis at a company banquet at the Clarkston Quality Inn in March, 2003. The victim suffered extreme diarrhea, stomach cramps, high fever and vomiting in the days following the banquet, which also affected at least 25 of his fellow employees. His illness led to arthritis which left him unable to work and he was eventually terminated by the company.
Health officials concluded that the most likely source of the contamination was undercooked eggs used to make "fried ice cream." The incidence of Salmonella is believed to be increasing in the U.S.
A Boston Quizno's employee was diagnosed with hepatitis A in June, 2004. Upon notification of the potential for a hepatitis A outbreak, the Boston health department advised consumers who had eaten at the Quizno's Subshop located at 74 Summer Street in Boston to receive Immune globulin shots to prevent infection.
Marler Clark filed a Class Action lawsuit against Quizno's on July 9, 2004. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all persons who were required to be inoculated against hepatitis A following possible exposure to the virsus at the Quizno's restaurant.
A questionnaire the attorneys will use in evaluating claims brought by persons who received Ig shots to prevent infection with the hepatitis A virus are available here to be downloaded, filled out, and mailed to us at www.hepatitislitigation.com.
Los Angeles County health officials traced the source of a Norovirus outbreak that hit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Awards in 2002. At least 550 guests at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles became ill with Norovirus infections after consuming foods catered by the hotel kitchen.
Homemade, unpasteurized butter was the probable source of E. coli O157:H7 contamination that sickened at least 200 people at Prospect Elementary School in rural Robeson County, North Carolina, in the fall of 2001. State officials called it the largest such outbreak in state history.
Marler Clark represented 34 of the people most-effected by the outbreak, including the family of an 11-year-old sixth-grader who spent six days in the hospital with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which frequently leads to kidney failure.
An epidemiological report blamed the outbreak on homemade butter served to students as a classroom demonstration. The butter was not pasteurized.
A Shigella outbreak was traced to the Royal Fork restaurant in Mount Vernon, Washington, in January of 2001. Nine cases were confirmed and two people displayed the symptoms, but did not go to the doctor for a checkup to confirm their cases.
The outbreak was traced back to a female food service worker at the restaurant, who failed to properly wash her hands after using the bathroom.
Marler Clark represented plaintiffs in litigation against San Antonio Taco Co. after they became ill with Salmonella infections after eating at the San Antonio Taco restaurant near Vanderbilt University.
The Metro Health Department received calls from more than 200 people who said they had symptoms of food poisoning after eating at the popular restaurant. Health officials subsequently confirmed that 11 of those people were infected with salmonella, but officials said they could not pinpoint the exact food-source that was the cause of the outbreak.
More than 50 guests and employees were sickened with Salmonella Newport poisoning during an outbreak at the Seasons at the Pond restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in December of 2002. Marler Clark represents a 43-year-old mother who had eaten lunch with friends at the restaurant, and suffered more than a week of nausea, cramping, dry heaves and weakness.
Health authorities belief the poisoning originated with a fruit salad served as a side dish or breakfast entrée. Of the 50 victims, nine were restaurant employees, and three were hospitalized.
An outbreak of shigellosis in Washington and six other Western states stemming from a contaminated Mexican-style dip developed into a major epidemic of food-borne illness in 2000.
More than 335 people in Washington, California, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska had confirmed or suspected cases of the bacterial illness, characterized by severe diarrhea, nausea, fever and stomach cramps. At least 122 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Washington, including 76 in King County. As many as 32 other cases statewide were suspected.
Marler Clark represented several plaintiffs in litigation against Senor Felix.
In the summer of 2004, more than 400 in Pennsylvania and four other Eastern states suffered salmonella poisoning that was traced to contaminated Roma tomatoes in sandwiches sold at Sheetz convenience stores. Marler Clark represented more than 90 of the victims.
The tomatoes are believed to have been grown in Florida and distributed by Coronet Foods of Wheeling, West Virginia. Investigators suspect that the pre-sliced tomatoes contained up to four different bacterial strains of salmonella. The Wheeling plant, which supplied bagged salads, vegetables and fruits to about 20 states, was subsequently closed.
In May 2001, the FDA issued a press release warning consumers about Viva Brand imported cantaloupe. The FDA advised consumers of an outbreak of Salmonella Poona linked to cantaloupe imported to the U.S. by Shipley Sales Service of Nogales, Arizona.
The cantaloupe was implicated in a Salmonella outbreak that caused numerous illnesses and two deaths in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington State.
Marler Clark represented several families who had members that became ill with Salmonella infections after eating the cantaloupe.
At least 32 people became ill with Norwalk Virus (Norovirus) after eating at Si Casa Flores in Grants Pass, Oregon in early January, 2005. The Oregon Department of Human Services traced the outbreak to the restaurant after the outbreak was identified.
In September, October, November, and December of 2005, Los Angeles County witnessed a significant increase in reported hepatitis A illnesses among its residents. Investigations by state and local health agencies identified at least three point-source hepatitis A outbreaks:
The first point-source outbreak was at a Mexican restaurant on Olivera Street, Los Angeles, California. Fifteen people suffered confirmed hepatitis A infections after consuming contaminated food at the restaurant on September 14, or 15, 2005. Two individuals were hospitalized as a result of their illnesses.
The second point-source outbreak occurred among cast and crew on a movie set in north Hollywood. During their investigation into the outbreak, health officials identified October 3, 2005, as the date that the cast and crewmembers were exposed to hepatitis A-contaminated food. Catering services were provided by Defendant Silver Grill Catering, and others.
The third point-source outbreak occurred in late November 2005 at an upscale Los Angeles restaurant on West Fifth Street. At least four of the restaurant's workers were found to have been ill during the exposure period. The health department advised people who had dined at the restaurant during the exposure period to receive immunization injections to protect against illness.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against Silver Grill Catering, and has been contacted by several more individuals who became ill after eating hepatitis A-contaminated lettuce, which was ultimately determined to be the source of the three point-source hepatitis A outbreaks.
The City of Milwaukee Health Department was contacted by Children's Hospital on July 24, 2000 regarding a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 cases. Eventually, sixty-four confirmed cases were discovered - 62 linked to the Layton Sizzler and two linked to the Mayfair Sizzler. Dozens of these individuals were hospitalized; four developed HUS and one died. In addition to the confirmed cases, the State noted that there were reports of 551 probable cases, and another 122 possible cases.
The Wisconsin State Department of Health set forth determined the outbreak's source to be fresh watermelon that had been cross-contaminated with raw meat products. Sirloin tri-tips were the source of the E. coli bacteria, and the Department of Health concluded that employees at Sizzler restaurants may have contributed to the outbreak.
Marler Clark represented seventeen individuals in lawsuits against Sizzler USA, and continues E. coli litigation against Excel Corp., who supplied the contaminated tri-tips to Sizzler. All pending lawsuits were settled in 2006.
Two elderly women died and dozens more residents and employees were sickened by E. coli O157:H7 traced to pre-packaged spinach served by a food service at the Sequoias Portola Valley retirement home in California in October, 2003.
Marler Clark settled the cases of two victims of the outbreak at the 315-resident complex near Palo Alto, California. The spinach was served by Sodexho USA, a multinational food service that provides more than 1 million meals per day to a wide variety of institutions.
Health officials traced the source of the E. coli O157:H7 to packaged spinach which was marketed as "pre-washed," but was not rinsed by the Sodexho kitchen staff.
In the summer of 2002, more than 50 high school dancers contracted E. coli O157:H7 from pre-packaged lettuce served at a dance camp in Spokane, Washington. Marler Clark represents several of the victims, including a Spokane teenager who had to endure dialysis treatments because her kidneys were severely damaged by the E. coli.
The Spokane outbreak illustrates the widespread misconception that E. coli is transmitted only in tainted meats. Federal and state authorities agree that the pathogen is frequently transmitted to lettuce, onions and other vegetables and fruits, probably by way of irrigation water contaminated with cow manure.
In the aftermath of the outbreak, the federal Food and Drug Administration issued a rare warning that consumers should throw out prepackaged bags of Romaine lettuce packaged that summer by Spokane Produce.
Marler Clark filed an E. coli lawsuit against Stop & Shop on behalf of an eight-year-old New Hampshire boy who became ill with an E. coli infection after eating a contaminated hamburger made from meat purchased at a Stop & Shop in Manchester, New Hampshire.
In mid-October, 1999, health officials in King and Snohomish counties became aware of a hepatitis A outbreak. By November 5, 1999, the outbreak was traced to two Subway Sandwich outlets.
It is estimated that over 40 persons became ill as a result of eating contaminated food sold at the two Subway outlets implicated in the September 1999 hepatitis A outbreak.
Marler Clark represented individuals who became ill with hepatitis A infections after eating foods from the Subway outlets. The firm also filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all people who were forced to receive Immune Globulin shots to prevent infection after they were exposed to the virus at Subway.
During June and July of 1999, 15 states and two Canadian provinces had reported 207 confirmed cases of Salmonella infection associated with a single source. By early July 1999, 85 persons with this illness were identified in Washington State alone.
Epidemiological investigations by the health departments linked the outbreak of a relatively rare strain of Salmonella to unpasteurized orange juice products produced by Sun Orchard, Inc., an Arizona based company. Similar strains of Salmonella were eventually detected in unopened containers of Sun Orchard juice products, and in blenders where smoothies were made. Genetic matches were quickly established between the lab results of the stool cultures from victims and the Sun Orchard product.
Sun Orchard voluntarily announced a recall of all of its unpasteurized orange juice products on June 25, 1999. The Food and Drug Administration, on July 10, 1999, issued a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking unpasteurized orange juice products distributed under a variety of brand names by Sun Orchard, Inc. due to the continuing reports of illness related to the product.
In 2000, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to AFG ground beef sold by Supervalu and Cub Foods devastated families throughout the Midwest. Marler Clark represented several Wisconsin families who sued the companies.
In February of 2006, the Arkansas Department of Health and Benton County Health Department reported that 52 individuals had cultured positive for Salmonella infections after eating at the Sushi King restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas. At least 152 people reported experiencing symptoms of Salmonella infection, with the last date of symptom onset reported as February 14th.
Marler Clark represents 35 individuals who became ill with Salmonella infections after eating at the Sushi King restaurant.
During the last week of November and the beginning of December, 2006, state and local health departments in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware began receiving reports of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses among patrons of Taco Bell restaurants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined an investigation into the outbreak, and on December 13, 2006, announced that at 71 people had become sick with an illness associated with the Taco Bell restaurant outbreak. Of those 71, 53 people had been hospitalized, 52 people were confirmed ill with E. coli, and 8 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.
The investigation into the Taco Bell E. coli outbreak focused first on green onions as the source, but CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators later changed their focus to lettuce. According to an FDA news release on December 13, FDA investigators were working to trace back the potentially contaminated lettuce that had been served at Taco Bell restaurants to the farm where the lettuce was grown.
Marler Clark has filed lawsuits against Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in connection with this E. coli outbreak. The firm also named Ready Pac Produce, the fresh produce supplier for Taco Bell, as a defendant in both lawsuits.
In early December, 2000, the Lake County, Florida, Health Department (LCHD) notified the Florida Department of Health of a potential hepatitis A outbreak in Lake and Sumter counties. At least 23 people were identified as having suffered hepatitis A infections after eating at Taco Bell locations, and health officials concluded that green onions were the likely vehicle for transmission of the hepatitis A virus.
The LCHD further concluded that "[a]lthough most foodborne outbreaks of hepatitis A are due to food contaminated by an infected food preparer, we believe the ingredients were contaminated prior to arrival at the outlet in this outbreak. . . . The most likely contaminated ingredient is green onion."
Marler Clark represented three individuals who contracted hepatitis A after eating at Taco Bell in claims that stemmed from the Taco Bell hepatitis A outbreak.
In December 2006, Iowa and Minnesota health officials investigated an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among patrons at Taco John's restaurants in Ceder Falls, Iowa, and Albert Lea and Austin, Minnesota. As of December 13, 2006, the Iowa Department of Health had confirmed that at least 50 Iowans had become ill with E. coli infections after eating at Taco John's, and the Minnesota Department of Health had confirmed that at least 27 Minnesotans were part of the outbreak.
Although the outbreak occurred at the same time as the Taco Bell E. coli outbreak on the East Coast, the Taco John's outbreak had not been linked to the Taco Bell E. coli outbreak by mid-December; however, health officials were investigating lettuce as the potential source of both E. coli outbreaks.
Marler Clark filed an E. coli lawsuit on behalf of a Cedar Falls, Iowa, family whose nine-year-old daughter was hospitalized with an E. coli infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome on December 14, 2006. The firm filed a second E. coli lawsuit against Taco John's on December 19, 2006, and has been contacted by several other individuals who became ill with E. coli infections after eating at Taco John's restaurants in Iowa and Minnesota.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit on behalf of an 8-year-old Albany, New York, girl who became ill with an E. coli infection and hemolytic uremic syndrome after eating a hamburger produced by topps Meats and purchased at Price Chopper.
The Redwood City, California, Viva Mexico Mexican restaurant paid $55,000 in fines and agreed to make sure that employees washed their hands as part of an agreement struck with the San Mateo County district attorney after a Shigella outbreak linked to the restaurant sickened hundreds.
At least 250 patrons got sick, and one died in October, 2000, after suffering from Shigellosis.
Marler Clark represented a number of clients in litigation against Viva Mexico.
In May 2006, Indiana's Johnson and Marion County Health Departments began receiving reports of an apparent Salmonella outbreak among patients at local hospitals. As of August 28, 2006, the Indiana State Department of Health reported that at least 84 individuals had been confirmed ill with Salmonellosis between May and August 2006. An investigation into the outbreak revealed the source to be foods purchased from the bakery and deli at the Wal-Mart store located at 1133 North Emerson in Greenwood, Indiana.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart on behalf of a child who became ill as part of the outbreak and was hospitalized on September 7, 2006. The firm has been contacted by additional individuals who developed Salmonellosis after consuming foods from Wal-Mart, and will pursue legal claims on their behalf.
Two Oregon Wendy's restaurants were determined to be the source of an E. coli outbreak that devastated families. Children developed HUS, and were on kidney dialysis. Marler Clark represented several individuals and the families of individuals sickened in the outbreak.
On August 7, 2006, the Weber-Morgan Health Department (WMHD) announced that four people had become ill with E. coli O121:H19 infections after eating iceburg lettuce prepared at the Wendy's restaurant located at 2500 N 400 E in North Ogden, Utah. WMHD announced that three of the four people confirmed ill with E. coli infections had developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.
WMHD's investigation into the outbreak revealed that Wendy's had catered a CORE Academy luncheon held at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville, Utah, on June 30 and that more than 300 people were potentially exposed to the E. coli O121:H19 bacterium. Two individuals who ate salads at the CORE luncheon were confirmed ill with E. coli O121:H19 illnesses; one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Further investigation revealed that one ill individual consumed hamburgers purchased at the Wendy's restaurant on June 27, 28, and 29 and also developed HUS.
Marler Clark filed a lawsuit against Wendy's on August 11, 2006. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a family who became ill with E. coli O121:H19 infections after the mother attended the CORE Academy conference in Harrisville and became ill. One child was hospitalized with HUS. The firm also represents two women who became ill with E. coli infections and HUS and suffered acute kidney failure.
Marler Clark represented 35 clients poisoned in April 2002 by salmonella at a Western Sizzlin' restaurant in Spruce Pine, Mitchell County, near Asheville, NC.
The Wyndham Anatole, a Wyndham International Hotel property, exposed over 3,000 individuals to Salmonella Enteritidis during a three-week period from mid-April 2002. Several hundred people, from all over the United States, are believed to have become ill.
Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all individuals who became ill with Salmonella infections after eating contaminated foods at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel.
To learn more about Marler Clark and our efforts on behalf of the victims of foodborne illness, visit www.marlerclark.com.