Investigation by the MN Dept. of Health finds food served by Jim-N-Jo’s Northland Katering responsible for sickening dozens.

Marler Clark, a Seattle-based law firm specializing in food safety, has filed suit against House of Prime on behalf of Robert Danielson, a resident of Cloquet in Carlton County. Danielson became ill with E. coli O157 after consuming food prepared by Jim-N-Jo’s Northland Katering, which is wholly owned and operated by House of Prime. Local co-counsel on the suit is Jardine, Logan, & O’Brien of Lake Elmo, MN.

Danielson is just one of as many as 60 people who became ill with E. coli O157 after consuming food served at an Elder’s Picnic hosted by the Chippewa Indian Tribe on July 11, 2014.  All the food served at the event was prepared by Jim-N-Jo’s Northland Katering, which is headquartered in Cloquet.

Several days after the Elders Picnic, Danielson fell ill with nausea, fatigue, and a general feeling of malaise. His symptoms worsened that night and over the course of the next day to include severe and bloody diarrhea. Eventually he sought emergency medical treatment at the Cloquet Community Hospital where he was rehydrated and given medications to ease his discomfort. While Danielson was receiving treatment about a dozen other attendees of the Elders Picnic were in that same emergency room.

Danielson—and others who attended the Elders Picnic—tested positive for E. coli O157, which, in the most severe cases, can result in Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life threatening disorder.

This launched an investigation by local health officials and the Minnesota Department of Health. Marler Clark and their team of epidemiologists trained to trace back the causes of food borne outbreaks, was retained to help with the investigation.

Eventually the cause of the outbreak was linked to the Elder’s Picnic and the food from Jim-N-Jo’s Northland Katering. The most likely cause was found to be the potato salad or one of the raw ingredients that goes into it.

“Catered food is often the first place to look after an outbreak that can be tied to any event. Like restaurants, caterers are supposed to follow basic food safety standards, but sometimes these businesses are a bit more relaxed than they should be, which can result in cross contamination, not cooking or keeping foods at their appropriate temperatures, or other issues that can easily turn a good event into a nightmare for attendees,” said Bill Marler, founding partner of Marler Clark.

Marler has been on the front lines of food safety for more than two decades. Some of his first related clients stemmed from the outbreak E. coli O157: H7 traced back to the fast food chain Jack in the Box in the early 1990s.  More recently, he represented Minnesota-native Stephanie Smith whose dreams of being a dancer were shattered after she ate a hamburger tainted with E. coli O157: H7.

Since being discharged from the hospital, Danielson’s health has steadily improved, but he still continues to recover from his illness.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections 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 E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products.  The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.