Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally-known for its successful representation of persons injured in food-borne illness outbreaks, today announced that it had obtained a $1.06 million settlement on behalf of 29 persons infected with the Hepatitis A virus as a result of eating contaminated food at two local Subway Sandwich franchises.
“This is truly a superior result,” said Denis Stearns, a partner at the Marler Clark law firm. “While no amount of money can ever give back the time lost by our clients to this painful disease, or erase their painful memories, we are confident that this settlement will go a long way toward putting our clients’ lives back on track.” Stearns added, “More importantly, this settlement sends a strong message to restaurant owners that they will be held accountable for the sale of food contaminated by hepatitis-infected food workers.”
Three months ago, the Marler Clark attorneys called on restaurants to voluntarily vaccinate all workers against Hepatitis A. At the time, the law firm’s managing partner, William Marler, noted that: “In the last six months there have been Hepatitis A outbreaks linked to two Seattle restaurants, a Carl’s Jr. fastfood restaurant in Spokane, a restaurant in Minnesota, and three restaurants in Northwest Arkansas. Even worse, more than 700 children are being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus in California after consumption of potentially contaminated strawberries.” Marler continued, “Restaurants and food manufacturers must take action and voluntarily vaccinate all of their employees.”
The CDC estimates that 83,000 cases of Hepatitis A occur in the United States every year, and at least 5% of these cases are related to foodborne transmission. While the CDC has stopped short of calling for the mandatory vaccination of food workers, it has repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of worker-contaminated food is a major cause of foodborne illness in the United States. In 1999 alone, over 10,000 people were hospitalized as a result of hepatitis A infections, and 83 people died.