CHICAGO, IL—Seattle-based Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness, filed a lawsuit today against Los Burritos Mexicanos. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of DuPage County, Illinois resident Elizabeth Bernardi, who alleges she fell ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating food from the restaurant. Also representing Ms. Bernardi in the case is attorney Gary Newland the Chicago-area law firm Newland & Newland.
According to a complaint filed in DuPage County Circuit Court, Elizabeth Bernardi ate food from the Los Burritos Mexicanos restaurant on June 6, 2013 and fell ill with a gastrointestinal illness on June 9. Ms. Bernardi alleges that on June 11 she sought medical treatment for bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps and vomiting. Despite returning home from the doctor’s office, the plaintiff states that she awoke in great pain and distress and was rushed to the emergency department at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois the morning of June 12. Ms. Bernardi’s attorneys claim that she was hospitalized for 5 days due to infection with E. coli O157:H7 and that she continues to receive medical care as a result of her illness.
The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) announced Monday that it was investigating several reports of illness possibly associated with food consumption from the Lombard, Illinois Los Burritos Mexicanos restaurant location. The Chicago Tribune reported this week that 6 of 9 confirmed E. coli cases associated with the outbreak had been hospitalized, but that all 6 had been released.
“E. coli O157:H7 illnesses have fallen in the last decade, however, this outbreak shows what this pathogen can do to even healthy people,” said Marler Clark managing partner, Bill Marler.
BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illnesses in claims against restaurants and food manufacturers across the nation. The lawyers have recovered over $600 million for victims of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli, Salmonella, hepatitis A and Listeria.
1. See: DuPage County Health Department Investigates Cause of Cluster of Gastrointestinal Illnesses in DuPage County, DuPage County Health Department Press Release, June 17.
The list of Illinois residents that the attorneys at Marler Clark have represented in an E. coli outbreak is growing by the day. The Los Burritos Mexicanos E. coli outbreak, which has sickened at least 17 people (9 confirmed), is only one in a string of E. coli outbreaks to hit Illinois in the last decade. In fact, a Mexican restaurant E. coli outbreak in 2007, in which we represented a young boy who developed HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome) resulted in a successful jury verdict that compensated the boy for his medical expenses, pain and suffering, and future risk of developing kidney complications.
Here is a list of the many E. coli outbreaks past that we have litigated, involving Illinois residents:
National Beef Packing Co., a Liberal, Kan., establishment, is recalling approximately 22,737 pounds of raw ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The following products are subject to recall:
• 10 lb. packages of “National Beef” 80/20 Coarse Ground Chuck, package code “0481.”
• 10 lb. packages of “National Beef” 81/19 Coarse Ground Beef, package code “0421.”
• 10 lb. packages of “National Beef” 80/20 Fine Ground Chuck, package code “0484.”
All these products have a “USE BY/SELL BY DATE” of June 14, 2013. The products were produced on May 25, 2013, and shipped to various institutions and retail establishments. FSIS and the establishment are concerned that some product may be frozen and in shoppers’ freezers.
The problem was discovered through routine FSIS monitoring which confirmed a positive result for E.coli O157:H7. An investigation determined the firm was the sole supplier of the source materials used to produce the positive product. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.
A Washington state resident filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon, claiming he fell ill with a hepatitis A infection after eating the company’s frozen berry and pomegranate seed blend. The complaint was filed in Snohomish County Superior Court (Case No. 13-2-05597-8) by Marler Clark, the Seattle-based law firm that has filed 14 previous lawsuits against Townsend Farms.
According to the complaint, Brian Brothers consumed “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” on multiple occasions between January and April of 2013. He alleges that he became fatigued and experienced darker urine for several days before going to the Emergency Room with jaundice, nausea and a fever—all typical symptoms of hepatitis A infection—on May 22. His attorneys claim that blood tests revealed that his liver was not fully functioning and it was suggested that Mr. Brothers might need a liver transplant. Luckily, his condition improved; however, he alleges that during the acute phase of his illness he suffered from headache and fever, acute stomach ache and nausea, yellow skin and eyes, extreme fatigue, and cloudy judgment and that he continues to experience extreme fatigue.
“All of the people I represent in this outbreak have been fatigued for weeks,” said attorney Bill Marler, who represents dozens of individuals who claim to have become ill with hepatitis A after eating the Townsend Farms product. “Brian Brothers has been suffering the effects of his hepatitis A infection for a month now and likely won’t get back to his normal self for several more weeks.”
Marler noted that victims of hepatitis A infection can take up to 6 months to fully recover from their illnesses.
According to a June 18 update to the CDC website, “Multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A infections potentially associated with ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ frozen berry and pomegranate mix,” at least 118 people in 8 states have fallen ill with hepatitis A infections as part of the outbreak traced to the Townsend Farms product.
“I expect the numbers to continue to go up since people continued to eat this product until well into June,” added Marler. “Some people probably won’t start feeling ill until closer to the Fourth of July.”
BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness outbreaks, including hundreds of victims of hepatitis A outbreaks and thousands who were exposed to hepatitis A and were forced to receive inoculations against the virus. In the last 20 years, Marler Clark has recovered over $600 million on behalf of victims of foodborne illnesses such as hepatitis A, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria.