Shaila Leafty and her young son have joined what is expected to be a growing number of people who are suing a California spinach producer blamed for a national E. coli outbreak. Her son Brayden’s illness is just one of an estimated 15 E. coli cases reported in Utah since the spinach-related outbreak was discovered.
While state and federal officials have traced the current outbreak to Salinas, California-based Natural Selection Foods’ fresh spinach, they haven’t pinpointed the sources of the bacteria.
"As the grower and producer, Natural Selection Foods should have been consumers’ first line of defense against E. coli entering the food supply," says attorney Bill Marler. "Instead, this company allowed contaminated produce to enter the marketplace and caused one of the largest fresh-produce-related outbreaks in recent history."
Marler is also representing the parents of two Wisconsin children who were also believed to have been sickened by contaminated spinach. According to the Wisconsin lawsuit, both children came down with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially deadly condition associated with E. coli infections. As of last Sunday, the daughter remained hospitalized.
An Oregon woman has also sued. According to her lawsuit, she ate spinach for lunch several times during the week of Aug. 21. She reports she was hospitalized at Salem Hospital for six days and required at least four blood transfusions and other medical procedures.
In all of the federal lawsuits, the plaintiffs have asked for unspecified damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, travel expenses, emotional distress and attorney fees.