St. John’s University awarded Sodexho USA its dining services contract on June 3, officially replacing Aramark. The five-year deal will pay Sodexho, the leading food service provider in North America, a portion of the estimated $11 million in food revenue generated over St. John’s campuses in Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan and Oakdale. The agreement also includes renovation plans for the four campuses that will take place over the next five years.

Continue Reading University overhauls food services

As Tim Hay of the San Mateo County Times reported today, a multinational food company and a Salinas vegetable farm have been ordered to pay an undisclosed amount to an elderly woman who was sickened in an outbreak of E. coli in a local retirement home, as well the son of a woman who died after eating the same tainted spinach in October 2003.
Marler Clark sued Sodexho USA and River Ranch Fresh Foods after an outbreak of the food-borne illness sickened at least 16 people and caused the deaths of two others at the Sequoias Portola Valley retirement community.
County health officials said the outbreak was most likely caused by pre-packaged spinach that Sodexho bought from River Ranch and served at the 315-bed home.
Marler Clark represented Keith McWalter, whose 85-year-old mother, Alice McWalter, died when the E. coli caused kidney failure. Mrs. McWalter was hospitalized on Oct. 14, and suffered 12 days of fever and nausea before she died.
The other Marler Clark client was Sequoias resident Sarah Ish. She was hospitalized with severe nausea during the outbreak, but pulled through.

As Joshua L. Kwan reported in his San Jose Mercury News story Woman’s son sues over E. coli death, the son of an 85-year-old woman who died last year during an E. coli outbreak at a Portola Valley nursing home has sued the food service company that supplied contaminated spinach to the home.

”The wrong is that someone got sick,” said Bill Marler, an attorney for McWalter’s family. ”And it came from food that these people served,” he said about Sodexho. ”In a sense, it’s case closed.”

Keith McWalter said his mother complained of abdominal pain when he visited her Oct. 12. She was hospitalized Oct. 10, but residents weren’t warned of a possible E. coli outbreak until Oct. 13. Matsumoto said the home did not receive test results indicating an E. coli problem until Oct. 13.

On Thursday, Marler Clark filed a second E. coli lawsuit against Sodexho, Inc., the food provider for Sequoias Portola Valley retirement facility. This second lawsuit was filed by Sarah Ish, one of thirteen Sequoias residents and employees who confirmed positive with E. coli infections during the outbreak, and one of seven residents who were hospitalized for treatment of their E. coli infections. Health officials traced the outbreak to contaminated raw spinach which was served to Sequoias residents by Sodexho.

“Senior citizens are more at-risk for foodborne illness because, as we age, our immune systems weaken. Ms. Ish’s body had to fight harder to rid itself of the E. coli bacteria,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Ms. Ish continues to suffer from confusion and loss of energy as a consequence of her E. coli infection, nearly a year after she was hospitalized.”

This is the second E. coli lawsuit brought against Sodexho by Marler Clark and Keeney, Waite & Stevens. The first was brought on behalf of the family of Alice McWalter, a Sequoias resident who died as a result of her E. coli infection. “Sodexho to date has shown no interest in discussing a fair resolution to this or any of the cases, it is time to force them to be responsible,” said Marler.

“I’ve said it before, but the food industry in California was, or should have been, extremely concerned with fresh produce safety at the time of this outbreak, since an outbreak in the San Diego area had been traced to E. coli-contaminated lettuce just weeks before,” Marler concluded.

Forty-six residents and employees at the Sequoias reported symptoms of E. coli infection during the San Mateo County Health Services Agency investigation of the outbreak.

As Joshua L. Kwan reported in his San Jose Mercury News story Woman’s son sues over E. coli death, the son of an 85-year-old woman who died last year during an E. coli outbreak at a Portola Valley nursing home has sued the food service company that supplied contaminated spinach to the home.

”The wrong is that someone got sick,” said Bill Marler, an attorney for McWalter’s family. ”And it came from food that these people served,” he said about Sodexho. ”In a sense, it’s case closed.”

Keith McWalter said his mother complained of abdominal pain when he visited her Oct. 12. She was hospitalized Oct. 10, but residents weren’t warned of a possible E. coli outbreak until Oct. 13. Matsumoto said the home did not receive test results indicating an E. coli problem until Oct. 13.

As Tim Hay of the San Mateo County Times reported in his story Firm sued over E. coli outbreak, my firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the son of 85-year-old Alice McWalter, one of at least 16 Sequoias Portola Valley residents and workers sickened with E. coli from eating spinach purchased and served by Sodexho. Alice McWalter was hospitalized for stomach pains on Oct. 14, and suffered through 12 days of fever, nausea and seizures before she died of kidney failure.

“That [they] died after eating contaminated spinach is particularly disturbing,” attorney Bill Marler said in a prepared statement. “The whole state of California was, or should have been, paying special attention to food safety — especially fresh produce safety — at the time of this outbreak, since an outbreak in the San Diego area had been traced to E. coli-contaminated lettuce just weeks before.”