William Marler, a nationally-recognized food safety advocate and attorney, today called on the spinach industry "to do the right thing and immediately pay the medical bills for the victims of this most recent outbreak traced to E. coli-contaminated spinach," according to the Associated Press. Marler noted that, in other large outbreaks, companies such as Jack in the Box, Odwalla, Chi-Chi’s and Sheetz advanced medical costs for outbreak victims whose illnesses were traced to their food products.

To date, the Food and Drug Administration has reported that 131 people have been confirmed as victims of the outbreak, 20 victims developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially lethal complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection. “With such devastating injuries, and so many of them,” Marler continued, “I hope that the people responsible for this outbreak will stop trying to shift the blame or think of more excuses. The FDA has warned the lettuce and spinach industry repeatedly about its problems and deficiencies.” Marler noted that this latest outbreak is the twentieth outbreak since 1995 associated with lettuce or spinach.

Marler’s Seattle-based law firm, Marler Clark, is representing 31 victims of the outbreak, including twelve people who developed HUS. The firm has filed three lawsuits to date—in Utah, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Since 1993, Marler has represented thousands of victims of E. coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella, Campylobacter and Norovirus illnesses in over thirty States. In 1998, Marler and his current law partners formed OutBreak, a non profit food safety organization. Marler dedicates one-fourth of his time to travel to food-industry conferences, giving speeches about how to prevent foodborne illness litigation.