It is said that it is always hard to get the first olive out of the jar and it is the same in settlements.  It was hard fought, but the resolutions of the cases were fair and my hope is that these corporate defendants and their insurers see that it is in everyone’s best interest to take care of customers who were sickened by their product sooner rather than later.

Although litigation is always my preferred option, resolving cases that are backed up by solid epidemiology and genetic fingerprinting of both E. coli and Salmonella, makes the most economic sense for the defendants and insurers and it is far fairer  to the injured.

Here was the case lineup:

The Spring 2018 E. coli O157:H7 Romaine Lettuce Outbreak:  In 2018 in the United Sates, 210 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157 were reported from 36 states. 96 people were hospitalized, including 27 people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). 5 deaths were reported from Arkansas, California, Minnesota (2), and New York. In Canada, 8 cases of E. coli O157 that were genetically similar to the U.S. outbreak linked to romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma growing region in the U.S. The 8 Canadian illnesses were reported in 5 provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. 1 of the Canadian cases was hospitalized with HUS and no deaths were reported in Canada. Through our own traceback, we have uncovered numbers restaurant clusters which have led to processor clusters, and in some instances, farms.

The Summer 2018 E. coli O26 Ground Beef Outbreak:  As of September 19, 2018, 18 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 were reported from 4 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 5, 2018 to July 25, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from one year to 75, with a median age of 16. Sixty-seven percent of ill people were male. Of 18 people with information available, 6 (33%) were hospitalized, including one person who died in Florida. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that ground beef from Cargill Meat Solutions was a likely source of this outbreak.

The Summer 2018 Salmonella Adelaide Cut Fruit Outbreak: As of July 24, 2018, 77 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Adelaide were reported from nine states – Arkansas 1, Florida 1, Illinois 7, Indiana 14, Kentucky 1, Michigan 39, Missouri 11, Ohio 2, Tennessee 1. Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 30, 2018, to July 2, 2018. Ill people ranged in age from less than 1 year to 97, with a median age of 67. Among ill people, 67% were female. Out of 70 people with information available, 36 (51%) were hospitalized. No deaths were reported. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that pre-cut melon supplied by the Caito Foods, LLC of Indianapolis, Indiana was the likely source of this multistate outbreak.

And, I get to fly home on my birthday.