Marler Clark and Underberg & Kessler Sue Lettuce Supplier on Behalf of Niagara County E. coli Outbreak Victims

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3rd Lawsuit filed by Marler Clark and Underberg & Kessler alleges mother- and daughter-in-law became ill with E. coli infections after eating salad supplied by Massachusetts-based State Garden.

Bill Marler is the nation's leading attorney representing victims of E. coli outbreaks.

Bill Marler, E. coli Attorney

Consumers deserve—and should be able to expect—better from companies supplying our food.

Seattle-based Marler Clark and Rochester-Buffalo-based Underberg & Kessler filed a third lawsuit against salad supplier State Garden Tuesday on behalf of a mother-and daughter-in-law who allegedly became ill with E. coli infections after eating organic spinach and spring mix in October. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo (Case No. 12-CV-1197) on behalf of Sanborn, NY resident Beth Duerr and her daughter-in-law, Erica Duerr, of North Tonawanda, NY. Two previous lawsuits filed by the law firms* were brought on behalf of Rochester-area plaintiffs.

According to the complaint, Beth Duerr purchased an Organic Spinach and Spring Mix salad blend manufactured by State Garden on October 18, 2012. Erica Duerr, her husband and their 2 children—one an infant she had given birth to just 2 weeks before—visited Beth’s home the weekend of October 19. During the visit, both women consumed the salad mix.

The complaint states that by October 22, Erica had fallen ill with symptoms of E. coli infection, including nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. A registered nurse, Erica was aware of the risks of passing an infection to her newborn baby and was therefore unable to care for, nurse or even touch the baby. The following day, Erica’s stool became grossly bloody and her husband raced her to the emergency department. After treatment for dehydration and a CT scan, Erica was diagnosed with colitis. She declined to stay in the hospital overnight since she wanted to be home with her family, but her symptoms continued to worsen to the point where she was too weak to stand. Her husband brought Erica back to the ER later that same day for more treatment and an overnight stay.

Beth Duerr, who was helping take care of her grandchildren during Erica’s illness, allegedly fell ill with an E. coli infection on October 27. She too sought treatment at the ER, and while there learned that a stool sample Erica had submitted for testing was positive for the strain of E. coli O157:H7 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has associated with a 28-person E. coli outbreak among residents of 5 states.

“E. coli wreaked havoc on what was supposed to be a special time for this family that had just welcomed a second child and grandchild,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Erica Duerr was unable to provide many of her 2-week-old baby’s needs, not to mention those of her 4-year-old. Consumers deserve—and should be able to expect—better from companies supplying our food.”

Paul Nunes, a partner in Underberg & Kessler, added, “Suppliers of pre-washed salad greens should have testing procedures in place so contaminated product does not make it to grocery store shelves. More should be done to prevent E. coli outbreaks like this one from happening.”

BACKGROUND: Marler Clark and Underberg & Kessler have worked together to represent victims of foodborne illness outbreaks since 2002. The firms have together represented hundreds of victims of Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks.

Members of the news media who would like to receive a copy of the complaint should contact Suzanne Schreck at (206) 346-1878 or sschreck(at)marlerclark(dot)com.

*U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York Case Nos. 12-CV-6645 and 12-CV-6612CJS

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