As the Herald Salinas Bureau reported today, Marler Clark has been settling claims for victims of an E. coli outbreak involving contaminated vegetables grown in Salinas Valley. While we settle claims against the establishments — Pat & Oscars restaurant and The Sequoias, a retirement facility in Portola Valley — that served the tainted vegetables, legal cases continue while the restaurant owners attempt to pin the blame on Salinas Valley produce companies, and operators of those produce companies blame the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.
Terms of the settlement agreement between the restaurants and the approximately 49 victims of the outbreak are confidential right now. Not all those claims have been settled, but most have. Once the final claims are settled, the terms of the agreements will be public.
We’ve resolved our differences. Both restaurants agreed to settle the claims with the victims and are now going upstream after the suppliers.
In turn, the suppliers have filed claims against Monterey County, alleging the county failed to maintain Santa Rita Creek, resulting in flooding that contaminated a field with toxic substances and animal waste.
Dozens of customers at Pat & Oscars, a Southern California chain, and about a dozen residents at The Sequoias were sickened after eating tainted vegetables.
One of our clients, 85-year-old Alice McWalter, died after eating raw spinach she got from a self-service buffet at at The Sequoia. She died on Oct. 14, 2003 at Stanford Medical Center, two days after she became violently ill after eating a salad from the buffet.
At least 16 others at The Sequoias also got sick, but they all survived.
In Southern California, health officials concluded that Pat & Oscars customers treated for E. coli had all consumed salads provided in pre-mixed, pre-washed packaged lettuce mixes. Those bagged salads were tracked back to Salinas Valley.