Underberg and Kessler, a western New York law firm, has been hired to represent people who got sick after eating spinach contaminated with the E. coli bacteria. They are the same firm that represented more than 700 people who got sick last summer from the cryptosporidium parasite after a visit to the Sprayground at Seneca Lake State Park.

Lawyer Paul Nunes says Underberg and Kessler has been retained by Marler Clark of Seattle in the E. coli outbreak. The two firms also worked together on the sprayground case and they represented victims of several large-scale salmonella outbreaks in central New York.

Marler Clark is suing growers and produce companies on behalf of people in Wisconsin, Oregon and Utah who got E. Coli infections after eating bagged fresh spinach. Underberg and Kessler plans to do the same on behalf of New Yorkers who claim injuries from the outbreak.

The New York State Health Department has confirmed seven E. coli cases as part of the current outbreak. Four are in Erie County plus one case each in Schoharie, Schenectady and Chemung Counties. State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello says anyone who has fresh spinach in their fridge should toss it. She says washing won’t make it safe.

Usually E. coli causes diarrhea and cramps, but in some cases it can lead to kidney failure and death due to the complication hemolytic uremic syndrome.