Bill Marler is the nation’s leading attorney representing victims of foodborne illness and a stalwart advocate for improved food safety in the United States and abroad. His work began in 1993 when, as a young lawyer, he won record settlements for the families of children made seriously ill in the infamous Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. He has since lead his law firm, Marler Clark, to the apex of the legal world by representing thousands of victims of food poisoning.
Bill has continued to litigate against the food industry and to attract clients who need his services. In 2007, a 19-year-old dancer, Stephanie Smith, sickened by E. coli-tainted hamburger was left brain damaged and paralyzed. Her story found its way to the front page of the New York Times in 2009 and landed the paper and its investigative reporter, Michael Moss, a Pulitzer Prize. Her case against Cargill settled shortly before trial in 2010 for an amount “to care for her for life.”
In 2009 Linda Rivera, a 57 year old mother of six from Nevada was stricken with what Dr. Siegler described as “the severest multi-organ (bowel, kidney, brain, lung, gall bladder, pancreas) case of E. coli mediated HUS I have seen in my extensive experience.” Linda’s story hit the front page of the Washington Post and became Senator Harry Reid’s touchstone for moving the Food Safety Bill in 2010.
Working with industry, academia, and government, Marler’s efforts to create a safer food supply have transcended the courtroom. His spends roughly half his time speaking around the world on the need for improved food safety. To bring discussion to the public, he publishes the acclaimed online newspaper Food Safety News and shares his own opinions and insights on his blog, http://www.marlerblog.com which is read by over one million people annually.
He has petitioned the USDA to increase foodborne pathogen regulation and has commissioned private studies to test for unregulated pathogens in the food supply. In Congressional testimony, he has asked the United States government to “Put me out of business”, calling on it to pass updated, meaningful food safety laws. In 2011 his work was credited in the passage and signing of the Food Safety Modernization Law– the first major food safety update in decades.
Though his efforts to reform the food industry have come at the price of long hours and frequent travel, when he is at rest he can be found spending time at his Bainbridge Island home with his wife Julie and three daughters, Morgan, Olivia, and Sydney.