Marler Clark will be representing two families victimized by the recent E. coli outbreak with an eye toward suing the farm that provided the raw milk that sickened their children.
Eighteen people, 15 of them children ages 1 to 13, have been sickened in the outbreak, and all 18 consumed raw milk from Dee Creek Farm near Woodland. Two children remain hospitalized but their conditions are improving.
Clark County and state health officials have been testing and cross-testing milk samples and E. coli victims to determine the scientific link between the milk and the bacteria.
Tests so far confirm seven have the 0157:H7 E. coli strain, which is safe for cows but dangerous in people. The four completed tests all show an identical DNA fingerprint, indicating a common source of infection, said Marni Storey, Clark County public health manager.
On Tuesday, Clark County officials also said samples of raw milk taken home by Dee Creek Farm consumers tested positive for E. coli. The samples will be sent to the Washington State Public Health Laboratory to determine whether it’s 0157:H7, the strain that sickened the raw milk drinkers.
Two families, each with a child suffering from exposure to E. coli, have retained us to represent them in any possible claims that may arise from the outbreak. We’re still investigating the case, but litigation is possible.
I suspect we’ll file a lawsuit against the farm. I think that’s where this is headed.
The law firm is also looking into suing the state of Washington for not doing more to protect consumers of the farm’s raw milk. The farm was operating without a license, as required under state law. In August, the state ordered Dee Creek Farm’s owners, Anita and Michael Puckett, to stop distributing the raw milk. The Pucketts refused but said they were preparing to apply for a license.
Is there any blame the state must bear in this? It’s a possibility, and we’ll delve into all areas of inquiry before we decide on any course of action.
Previously: Eighteen people have been infected with the bacteria E. coli, an outbreak linked by authorities to raw milk from a Woodland dairy.
What’s new: Two families with children injured in the outbreak retained a Seattle law firm specializing in personal injury lawsuits.
What’s next: Health officials will continue testing to see if there’s a conclusive link between the dairy’s raw milk and the E. coli.