Plaintiff is one of 21 people infected in 2014 Salmonella outbreak following countless health violations against Westlake Village restaurant
Ventura County resident Stephanie Wehr filed a lawsuit against Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant over a severe case of Salmonella poisoning she suffered after eating at the restaurant’s Westlake Village location. Wehr is represented by Trevor M. Quirk of Quirk Law Firm, LLP in Ventura, CA., and Bill Marler of Marler Clark, a Seattle-based firm specializing in food safety. See Outbreak Investigation Timeline. – See Inspection Reports.
In 2014, Wehr was one of 21 people who became seriously ill after eating food tainted with Salmonella serotype Montevideo from Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant in Westlake Village, which is located in Ventura County. Two of the victims were employees of Brent’s. Eight customers were hospitalized.
Wehr, who purchased and consumed a sandwich and potato salad from Brent’s Deli on August 2, 2014, began feeling ill the following day while at work. For the next several days, she experienced agonizing symptoms, including excruciating abdominal pain, uncontrollable diarrhea, high fever, nausea, and vomiting. She made several trips to see doctors at Kaiser Oxnard and was prescribed medication, but due to nausea and vomiting, she was unable to keep it down. She again contacted Kaiser on the morning of August 5 and was admitted.
By the time she was admitted to the hospital, she was lethargic and short of breath. Her heart rate was an astounding 118, nearly twice the normal resting rate for a healthy adult. Since seeing a doctor the day before, she had lost 10 pounds. Because of severe stomach cramps, her abdomen was too tender to undergo examination. Soon she was admitted to Ventura Community Memorial Hospital where she stayed for five days, and ultimately was diagnosed with Salmonella poisoning.
The County of Ventura Environmental Health Division conducted an on-site inspection at Brent’s Deli on July 9, 2014—more than three weeks before Wehr ate there. Multiple food safety violations were noted including improper sanitation, cooling, and storage issues. The restaurant manager was instructed to correct all violations immediately. A follow-up inspection was conducted on July 22. Major food safety violations were again noted. Specifically, potentially hazardous foods were not properly cooled, that is held at or below 41 degrees. In addition, wiping cloths were not kept in sanitizing solutions between uses and employees were not properly washing their hands before handling food or clean utensils, among other violations.
“Considering that the owners and management of Brent’s Deli had multiple opportunities to fix known health violations, we can only guess they willfully ignored the problems, said Bill Marler, who has been working to help improve food safety standards since representing victims of the Jack In The Box E. coli outbreak in the early 1990s.
“There is no excuse for the negligence of Brent’s Deli and the failure of its owners and management to perform to legal food safety standards,” said Trevor Quirk, who has been a victim advocate for close to a decade. “Brent’s may have a reputation for a family atmosphere, but they knowingly put their customers at risk over easily remedied health violations, like improper hygiene standards.”
During the August 2014 Salmonella outbreak, after continuing reports of sickened customers, the health department once again inspected the restaurant. Multiple violations—including issues noted in previous inspections—were found. During the investigation, no food or environmental samples tested positive with the outbreak strain of Salmonella, but stool samples from two employees did. Previous health department violations noted that employees were not properly washing their hands after using the restroom and before returning to work.
Salmonella is transmitted by food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with the feces of an infected animal or person. Symptoms develop 6 to 72 hours after infection. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of Salmonella is to have proper hygiene and hand washing practices in place, especially after using the bathroom and before handling or preparing food.
Quirk Law Firm, LLC was founded in 2006 in Ventura, California with offices in California and Nevada. 100% of the practice is devoted to representing people who have been injured or lost a loved one. Quirk Law Firm represents diverse clients including accident victims, homeowners’ associations, start-up and established businesses, professional skateboarders, professional models, employees, and everyday individuals.
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Salmonella outbreaks. The Salmonella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Salmonella 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.