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2017 Press Releases

Browse Marler Clark press releases dating back to 1998. Topics cover a broad range of topics including announcements that lawsuits have been filed or settlements reached, and calls on food industry groups and government to improve the safety of our food supply.

First Lawsuit filed after Listeria-contaminated cheese leads to death of Vermont man

03.11.2017

Vulto Creamery faces lawsuit from the outbreak that originated from their New York facility.

Vermont resident Veronica Friedman, widow of Richard Friedman, has filed suit against Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York, after raw milk cheese tainted with Listeria hospitalized her husband and led to his death. Ms. Friedman is alleging wrongful death as well as emotional and financial damage. She is represented by food safety advocate William D. Marler, managing attorney at Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm, based in Seattle, along with Underberg & Kessler, LLP. The case number is CASE NUMBER.

The Friedmans purchased raw milk cheese that was manufactured by Vulto Creamery, cheese contaminated with Listeria, sometime in early October. Mr. Friedman’s symptoms began to take hold around October 11, 2016, when he went to the Emergency Room at Brattleboro Hospital. He was transferred to Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical center on October 12, where he stayed for a week and a half before being transferred to Mt. Ascutney Rehab in Windsor, Vermont. On October 31, at the rehab facility, Richard Friedman suffered a massive stroke, and was airlifted back to Dartmouth-Hitchcock where he died on November 2, 2016. The stroke was caused by the Listeriosis infection.
 
“People think of food poisoning as inconvenient rather than really dangerous,” said Bill Marler, attorney for the plaintiff and top food safety attorney. “But the reality is that what you eat can seriously damage or even kill you. Food providers have a responsibility to protect the lives of their customers, especially when producing raw milk products, which pose a higher risk to consumers.” 

The CDC reports that six people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from Connecticut, Florida, New York and Vermont. Illnesses started on dates ranging from September 1, 2016, to January 22, 2017. All six people were hospitalized and two people died. Ill people ranged in age from less than one year to 89, with a median age of 55.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials, has identified Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery of Walton, New York, as the likely source of an outbreak of listeriosis in six people from four states. Two of the six people have died.

The agencies have been investigating this outbreak since January 31, 2017. After gathering evidence about various cheeses eaten by the people who became ill, CDC identified Ouleout cheese from Vulto Creamery as the likely cause of the outbreak.

After being informed of a positive test conducted on a retail sample of Ouleout cheese by the FDA, Vulto Creamery began contacting its customers to return Ouleout cheese on March 3, 2017, and on March 7 announced a recall of its Ouleout cheese along with its Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc cheeses.

On March 8, 2017, FDA received positive test results from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets confirming samples of Ouleout cheese that matched the genetic fingerprint of Listeria monocytogenes in the outbreak.

Listeria causes an estimated 2,600 cases per year of the severe invasive illness called listeriosis. Unlike other pathogens, Listeria can multiply at refrigerator temperatures, which makes produce an ideal host for its spread and transference. Other foods commonly associated with Listeria outbreaks are improperly pasteurized dairy products, deli meats, and ready-to-eat, prepackaged foods.  Pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are much more likely to become seriously ill when exposed to Listeria. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis; 22% of Listeria infections while pregnant result in stillbirth or neonatal death. Persons with AIDS are 300 times more likely to be diagnosed with listeriosis.

Symptoms of Listeria infection are sudden development of chills, severe headache, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms. Most healthy adults and children who contract Listeria infection only experience mild to moderate symptoms.  Severe complications include blood infection, meningitis, and death. To learn more about Listeria, please visit http://www.about-listeria.com.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of food-borne illness outbreaks. The lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation, and has litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to cheese, cantaloupe, pasteurized milk, and other food products.

If you would like more information regarding the Vulto Creamery Listeria outbreak, or would like to schedule an interview with Bill Marler, please contact Colleen McMahon (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)), or call (206) 842-8922.

First Lawsuit Filed in SoyNut E. coli Outbreak

03.10.2017

A lawsuit is being filed against The SoyNut Butter Company of Illinois. The minor child. T.S., of Plaintiffs Mosby and Erin Simmons, residents of Santa Clara County, CA, contracted E. coli O157:H7 after eating SoyNut Butter that originated from the Illinois company. The Plaintiffs, parents of minor child T.S., one of twelve affected by the multi-state outbreak, have filed a lawsuit for damages caused by the illness, from which T.S, is still recovering, and is represented Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm and by Newland & Newland, LLP.

The case number is 1:17-cv-01756.

The Plaintiffs purchased SoyNut Butter, which T.S. consumed regularly in the days preceding his E. coli illness. On or about January 25, 2017, T.S. developed abdominal symptoms that worsened over the following days. After multiple visits with his treating physicians, T.S. was admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California on January 30, 2017.

His condition continued to deteriorate and he was transferred to Lucille Packard Stanford Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto on February 2, where he would remain until being discharged on February 23, 2017. While there, he was diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection and treated with dialysis and blood transfusions for life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome. T.S. continues to recover at home and faces uncertain future medical complications.

“E. coli O157:H7 is a deadly pathogen, especially harmful to children,” said Bill Marler of Marler Clark, LLP. “Parents should feel confident that the food they purchase and give their children is safe to eat and is free of potentially lethal toxins. This is an unfortunate step backwards.”

The FDA and the CDC, along with state and local health officials, are investigating the outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to the consumption of I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter produced by The SoyNut Butter Company of Glenview, Illinois. According to the CDC, as of March 2, 2017, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from five states.

Thus far, the number of ill people identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (4), California (4), Maryland (1), New Jersey (1), and Oregon (2). Six ill people have been hospitalized, and four people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening type of kidney failure. Eleven of the 12 illnesses were reported in children under the age of 18. No deaths have been reported.

An estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure. Symptoms of E. coli include the sudden onset of abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed by watery, sometimes bloody, diarrhea. Vomiting can also occur, but there is usually no fever.

A severe, life-threatening complication of E. coli O157:H7 is Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Although most people recover from this infection, about 5-10% of infected individuals goes on to develop HUS. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. To learn more about HUS, please visit http://www.about-hus.com.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

The Marler Clark Network