In the Spring of 2016, the CDC reported that thirty-two people infected with the outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 12 states – Arizona 4, California 5, Florida 2, Illinois 1, Massachusetts 1, Maryland 1, Missouri 1, New Jersey 1, Oregon 11, Virginia 2, Washington 2 and Wisconsin 1. Twelve people were hospitalized. Nine people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported. Twenty-six (81%) of the 32-ill people in this outbreak were younger than 18 years. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicated that I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter manufactured by Dixie Dew was the likely source of this outbreak.
Both I.M. Healthy and Dixie Dew filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Each company paid their insurance proceeds into the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago for a total of $11,250,000. As part of that process twenty-six people filed claim and each of their claims were valued by a Court-appointed evaluator. The values of the cases ranged from $25,000 to $25,000,000 individually based upon the severity of the illnesses for a total of $70,000,000. Each person received a pro-rata share of $6,000,000 in October 2018. It is expected that the Court will order the balance, $5,250,000, to be disbursed by the Court on January 10, 2018.
Once the Bankruptcy Court rules, the 26 claimants will continue litigation against the supply chain and retailers who sold the product.