On March 22, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case of a deadly E. coli outbreak at Milwaukee area Sizzler restaurants, paving the way for a trial. The court turned down a request from Excel Corp., a Wichita meat company that allegedly supplied restaurants with contaminated beef in 2000.
The meatpacker wanted the justices to overturn a state Court of Appeals ruling that the company can be sued. The appellate court decision reinstated 14 lawsuits, which have now been consolidated.
From the article:
Ten adults and four children filed suit last July after the appeals court overturned Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Michael Sullivan’s dismissal of claims against Excel. Among the plaintiffs are the parents of Brianna Kriefall, who died after she ate contaminated watermelon at the salad bar of the Sizzler at 789 W. Layton Ave.
Edward Robinson, an attorney representing the Kriefall family, said a jury will decide if Excel is responsible.
“We believe that everything starts with Excel Corp. shipping meat that contained E. coli. We believe the evidence will show the conditions in their meat plant were such that it permitted E. coli to get into the meat,” said Robinson.
But Ralph Weber, an attorney for Excel, said raw meat must be handled properly.
“This is a case about illnesses that came from a contaminated salad bar, not from eating meat. The case will now proceed in an effort to determine how and why that salad bar got contaminated,” said Weber.