WILLIAM D. MARLER
An accomplished attorney and national expert in food safety, William (Bill) Marler has become the most prominent foodborne illness lawyer in America and a major force in food policy in the U.S. and around the world . Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, has represented thousands of individuals in claims against food companies whose contaminated products have caused life altering injury and even death.
He began litigating foodborne illness cases in 1993, when he represented Brianne Kiner, the most seriously injured survivor of the historic Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, in her landmark $15.6 million settlement with the company. The 2011 book, Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak that Changed the Way Americans Eat, by best-selling author Jeff Benedict, chronicles the Jack in the Box outbreak and the rise of Bill Marler as a food safety attorney.
For the last 20 years, he has represented victims of nearly every large foodborne illness outbreak in the United States. He has filed lawsuits against such companies as Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, Cargill, ConAgra, Dole, Excel, Golden Corral, KFC, McDonald’s, Odwalla, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Sizzler, Supervalu, Taco Bell and Wendy’s, securing over $600,000,000 for victims of E. coli, Salmonella, and other foodborne illnesses.
Among the most notable cases he has litigated, Bill counts those of nineteen-year-old dancer Stephanie Smith, who was sickened by an E. coli-contaminated hamburger that left her brain damaged and paralyzed, and Linda Rivera, a fifty-seven-year-old mother of six from Nevada, who was hospitalized for over 2 years after she was stricken with what her doctor described as “the most severe multi-organ [bowel, kidney, brain, lung, gall bladder, and pancreas] case of E. coli mediated HUS I have seen in my extensive experience.”
New York Times reporter Michael Moss won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Smith’s case, which was settled by Cargill in 2010 for an amount “to care for her throughout her life.” Linda’s story hit the front page of the Washington Post and became Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s touchstone for successfully moving forward the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2010.
MORE THAN AN ATTORNEY
Bill Marler’s advocacy for a safer food supply includes petitioning the United States Department of Agriculture to better regulate pathogenic E. coli, working with nonprofit food safety and foodborne illness victims’ organizations, and helping spur the passage of the 2010-2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. His work has led to invitations to address local, national, and international gatherings on food safety, including testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
At little or no cost to event organizers, Bill travels widely and frequently to speak to food industry groups, fair associations, and public health groups about the litigation of claims resulting from outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria and viruses and the issues surrounding it. He gives frequent donations to industry groups for the promotion of improved food safety, and has established numerous collegiate science scholarships across the nation.
He is a frequent writer on topics related to foodborne illness. Bill’s articles include “Separating the Chaff from the Wheat: How to Determine the Strength of a Foodborne Illness Claim”, “Food Claims and Litigation”, “How to Keep Your Focus on Food Safety”, and “How to Document a Food Poisoning Case” (co-authored with David Babcock.) He is the publisher of the online news site, Food Safety News and his award winning blog, www.marlerblog.com is avidly read by the food safety and legal communities. He is frequent media guest on food safety issues and has been profiled in numerous publications.
In 2010 Bill was awarded the NSF Food Safety Leadership Award for Education and in 2008 earned the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association. He has also received the Public Justice Award from the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.
Bill graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 1987, and in 1998 was the Law School’s “Lawyer in Residence.” In 2011 he was given Seattle University’s Professional Achievement Award. He is a former board member of the Washington State Trial Lawyers, a member of the board of directors of Bainbridge Youth Services, former President of the Governor-appointed Board of Regents at Washington State University, and a member of the Children’s Hospital Circle of Care.
Bill is married to Julie Marler and has three daughters, Morgan, Olivia, and Sydney.
1987 – J.D. Seattle University School of Law
1982 – B.A.s Political Science, Economics, English, Washington State University
AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
2013 – Seattle University Distinguished Law Graduate Award
2011- Seattle University Professional Achievement Award
2011 to Present – ABA Journal “Blawg 100” Best Legal Blogs
2010 – NSF Food Safety Leadership Award: Innovation in Education
2009 to Present – Best Lawyers in America
2002 to Present – Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys
2008 – Public Justice Award, Washington State Trial Lawyer’s Association
2008 – Outstanding Lawyer Award, Seattle/King County Bar Association
1998 to Present – “Super Lawyer”, Washington State Attorneys
1998 – 2004 Governor Appointee, Washington State University Board of Regents Chairman
1997 – Distinguished Achievement Award, WSU College of Liberal Arts
Microbiologist Magazine, Vol 11, No 2
Food Safety and Quality Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 3
2009 – Serving Up Trouble
American Association of Justice Trial Magazine, Vol 45, No 2
2007 – Food Safety and the CEO:(PDF) Keys to Bottom Line Success
Food Safety Magazine
2005 – Food Claims and Litigation (PDF)
Food Safety In-sight Newsletter by Environ Health Associates, Inc
Paper presented at Defense Research Institute meeting on Food Liability
Food Safety Magazine
(co-authored with David Babcock) Trial Magazine
2015 – Profile in Obsession: Bill Marler, By Naomi Tomky
The New Yorker, Wil S. Hylton
The National Law Journal, Interview with Jenna Greene
Miami New Times, Interview with Ily Goyanes
Miami New Times, Interview with Ily Goyanes
2012 – Profiles in Public Health Law: Interview with William “Bill” Marler CDC Public Health Law News
2012 – Food Safety Lawyer Bill Marler On Sprouts, Raw Milk, and Why “Local” Isn’t Always Safer Blisstree.com, Hanna Brooks Olsen
Associated Press, Shannon Dininny
ABC News, Neal Karlinsky
The Atlantic, Barry Estabrook
New York Times, Mark Bittman
The Xemplar, Nicole Black
Good Food World, Gail Nickel-Kailing
Inspire Books, Jeff Benedict
Bainbride Island Review, Connie Mears
AOL News, Andrew Schneider
Seattle Times, Maureen O’Hagan
Kitsap Sun, Tristan Baurick
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Matt McKinney
Culinate, Miriam Wolf
2009 – Food Fight:Bill Marler’s Beef (PDF)
Washington Law & Politics, David Volk
The Meating Place, Ann Bagel Storck
CattleNetwork, Chuck Jolley
The Packer, Tom Karst
Seattle Health Examiner
The Southeast Texas Record, John G. Browning
Washington State Magazine, Hannelore Sudermann
Meat and Poultry News, Steve Bjerklie
2007 – Food Fight
Portland Oregonian, Alex Pulaski
2007 – Mr. Food Illness Esquire
QSR Magazine, Fred Minnick
The Wall Street Journal, Heather Won Tesoriero and Peter Lattman
King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin, Ross Anderson
MeatingPlace.com, Bryan Salvage
Meat & Poultry Magazine, David Hendee
The Wall Street Journal, Rachel Zimmerman
2001 – The Bug That Ate The Burger
Los Angeles Times, Emily Green
Seattle Post, Maggie Leung