Marler Clark has retained the Buffalo-Rochester based law firm Underberg & Kessler to assist with litigation resulting from the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to bagged spinach. Marler Clark has filed lawsuits on behalf of Wisconsin, Oregon, and Utah residents, and is currently investigating claims on behalf of New York residents who have contacted the firm in regards to potential legal claims stemming from the outbreak.
Nationally, the outbreak has already caused one death and made over 100 people ill. Two victims in the Buffalo area developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication of E. coli O157:H7 infection that can lead to kidney failure, central nervous system impairment, and death. The New York Department of Health has reported confirmed E. coli cases in Schoharie, Schenectady and Chemung counties as being part of the outbreak.
This appears to be one of the more significant outbreaks of the dreaded E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in fresh produce that has occurred in the US. Because fresh bagged spinach is often eaten without being cooked, the risk of infection is especially high.
The FDA and the fresh produce industry have been working on the issue of E. coli contamination for a number of years. It is unfortunate that efforts so far have not produced solutions that could have prevented this outbreak from happening in the first place.
Marler Clark and Underberg & Kessler have worked together in other New York litigation, including E. coli and Salmonella cases. Most recently, they were appointed by the New York Court of Claims to represent over 700 victims of cryptosporidiosis at the Seneca Lake State Park Spraypark during the summer of 2005. The case was recently designated a class action.