Marler Clark LLP has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of at least 1000 people exposed to hepatitis A; Exposure would have been avoided had the hep A vaccination been required for McDonald’s employees.
As of November 18, 2015, The Food Safety Law Firm, Marler Clark LLP of Seattle and Underberg and Kessler LLP of Rochester have filed a class action lawsuit against the fast-food corporation, Jascor, Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s Restaurant. The plaintiff, Christopher Welch, a Waterloo, New York resident, is a victim of hepatitis A virus (HAV) exposure after eating at the 2500 Mound Road, Waterloo location of McDonald’s on November 3 and November 7, 2015. He has filed on behalf of himself, as an individual, and on behalf of all those similarly situated. The case number is 49796.
On November 13, 2015, The New York State Department of Health and The Seneca County Health Department announced that customers who had visited the Mound Road McDonald’s location between October 31, 2015 and November 8, 2015, had been exposed to hepatitis A through an infected employee. The Health Department urged exposed individuals to obtain HAV vaccinations, as they were at risk to develop infections relating to the exposure.
As a result, upwards of 1000 individuals received post-exposure treatment, including plaintiff Christopher Welch. Post-exposure treatment is recommended for individuals who consumed McDonald’s food for up to two weeks after their date of consumption.
McDonald’s may be found at fault for allowing an employee to work while infected with HAV, for failing to properly supervise, train, or monitor their employees who prepare food for consumption, or for failing to require its food-service employees to obtain HAV immunizations.
Bill Marler, foodborne illness expert and food safety attorney, has been an avid advocate for strengthening preventative measures within the food industry. “Exposure to hepatitis A is entirely preventable,” Marler said. “McDonald’s should have required its employees to be vaccinated against the virus. But because they didn’t, McDonald’s has put itself and all of its customers at risk. Now,” he continued, “McDonald’s has to worry about identifying HAV positive employees, and customers are panicking to receive treatment.” In addition, Marler said, “McDonald’s should reimburse County for the cost of administering the vaccines.”
Exposed employees and customers are filing for damages that include wage loss, medical-related expenses, travel expenses, emotional distress, fear of harm and humiliation, and physical pain and injury.
The acute symptoms of hepatitis A are a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms about a month after the virus is contracted. Muscle aches, headaches, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever, and jaundice are all typical symptoms of the infection. Urine may turn a dark color and stool could be light or clay-colored. The illness typically lasts a few weeks, but recovery could take up to a year. Most affected individuals show complete recovery within three to six months of the onset of illness. Relapse is possible, although it is more common in children than adults.
The best protection against a hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated. An estimated 80,000 cases of HAV occur each year, although much higher estimates have been proposed. Hepatitis A is a virus that primarily infects the liver, and an estimated 100 people die each year as a result of acute liver failure in the U.S. due to hepatitis A. However, the rate of infection has dramatically decreased since the hepatitis A vaccine was licensed and became available in the U.S. in 1995.
Because HAV is so readily transmitted, Bill Marler encourages restaurants and food handlers to adhere to strict sanitary protocols. He warns, “The virus is almost exclusively transmitted through fecal-oral contact, so I can’t stress how important it is that all employees thoroughly wash their hands after using the restroom.” For more information about hepatitis A, please visit www.about-hepatitis.com.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has represented thousands of individuals in class action lawsuits related to HAV, and have brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quizno’s and Carl’s Jr.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.