I was up at 4:00 AM this morning to communicate with my colleagues in South Africa about the Listeria outbreak that has sickened over 1,000 – killing almost 200. I hope that the team at Marler Clark can bring our 25 years of experience to help these people and to try and limit something like this from every happening again (one paralegal is heading there next week and Bruce is heading there in early June).
As I was thinking about heading back to bed to wait for the sun to come up, my cell phone rang – It was the father of a 13 year old girl still on dialysis over three weeks after eat chopped romaine tainted with E. coli O157:H7. I promised the distraught father that I would take care of his kid and find the grower, shipper, processor and retailer (honestly, I know most of the chain already and the rest will flip shortly – perhaps I should offer a reward?) that did this to his daughter.
I was about to head back to bed – sun was not yet up – when this popped up on social media:
This man represented our case in the Peanut Corp peanut paste Outbreak of 2008. Christopher was the sickest child. Bill brought to me sanity at a time when Chris was still recovering and I was working in an inept way with the Dept of Health to sort of track down how and why Chris got so sick from something he ate. I had been upset, baffled and puzzled for 2 months until I met Bill Marler. He immediately took me and our family’s situation under his wing. He educated me and advocated for us. He created sanity for something that had been chaotic. Bill was my light. As a Mom, none of what had happened made any sense until I met Bill. Bill gave me a voice through national media to help others and educate others based up my experience. This entire outbreak which killed too many and sickened hundreds and probably thousands, if truth be told, was not handled efficiently at all. Bill helped me to get involved on a National level to advocate change in Food Safety laws. Through his efforts and others like STOP and PEW, we were able to finally push legislators to update the antiquated food safety laws and FSMA was finally passed and signed into law in January 2011. A monumental change to update how US food moves through the supply chain. Bill was quietly behind all of it.
Bill filed the first law suit against PCA on my Christopher’s behalf. Bill then quietly supported the victims efforts (as well as PEW) to bring justice to the company that knowingly poisoned the American public through 5,000 products their paste was sold in. And three years ago I was able to be part of the sentencing of the company’s executives and managers, and I was able to tell the judge my story/Christopher’s story and stare the responsible man in the face who was ultimately responsible. Justice was served that day. It had been a long long road.
Bill Marler you will always have a place in my heart. America is lucky to have a man like you out there fighting for what is right.
I think I’ll stay up and go to work.