Minnesota woman one of 285 people from 27 states to become ill from eating Mexican-grown cucumbers imported by California company.
Marler Clark, the food safety law firm based in Seattle, has filed a lawsuit against Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, Inc. on behalf Kathleen R. Dvergsten, a resident of Farmington, MN. Dvergsten became ill with Salmonella after eating cucumbers imported from Mexico by the defendant and served at Red Lobster. The suit was filed in federal court and its case number is 0:15 cv 03540.
This is the first lawsuit in a nationwide outbreak of Salmonella traced back to cucumbers imported and distributed by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, Inc., a corporation headquartered in California. To date, 285 people from 27 states have become sickened with Salmonella from Andrew & Williamson cucumbers. Twelve victims are from Minnesota and one death has been reported in California.
The plaintiff in this first lawsuit, Dvergsten, became will after eating a salad containing Salmonella-tainted cucumbers from a Red Lobster restaurant in Maplewood, MN.
The day after her meal, on August 12, she was seen and treated by her doctor for symptoms consistent with the stomach flu. She was sent home to deal with what she thought was a common illness.
Over the next several days, however, Dvergsten’s symptoms worsened to include severe cramping, vomiting, and near constant diarrhea. On August 14, she was transported by ambulance to Northfield Hospital, where she was admitted.
While in the hospital, Dvergsten’s symptoms intensified to include nausea and fever as well as muscle pain and weakness. She remained in the hospital for almost a week and then was transferred to Farmington Trinity Care Center for rehabilitation. She was able to return home on August 28, but is still dealing with the after effects of her illness.
During her stay in the hospital, Dvergsten’s stool tested culture positive for the cucumber-related outbreak strain of Salmonella.
On September 4, 2015, Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce voluntarily recalled all cucumbers believed to be contaminated with Salmonella. All were grown and packed in Mexico.
“While it’s good there’s a recall now underway, it didn’t come nearly soon enough,” said Bill Marler, food safety advocate and managing partner at Marler Clark. “One person has died eating what is usually a healthy food and hundreds have been sickened so far. As these cucumbers were sold to restaurants and home cooks, it’s possible the number of illnesses will rise.”
“And,” he added. “This is far from the first time the cucumbers have been tied to foodborne illnesses and deaths.”
In fact, within just the last three years, there have been three major outbreaks tied to Salmonella-tainted cucumbers that have left 644 sick and two people dead. In addition to this most recent outbreak, 275 in 29 states were sickened and one person died from an outbreak of Salmonella Newport in 2014. The previous year, 84 from 18 states became ill from Salmonella Saintpaul traced to cucumbers from a Mexican supplier.
For more information on the Andrews & Williamson Fresh Produce outbreak, including how to identify the products in question, please visit: http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/285-in-27-states-linked-to-mexican-cucumbers-1-death/#.Ve28bZ3BzRY.
Salmonella is the second most common foodborne illness in the United States. Approximately 1.4 million cases of Salmonella occur each year with 95% of those caused by tainted food. The acute symptoms of Salmonella include the sudden onset of nausea, abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhea and mucous over a period of days. While there is no cure, infected persons usually recover completely, although it may take months. A small number of people experience ongoing symptoms such as joint pain, which can lead to chronic arthritis.
Marler has been an advocate for victims of foodborne illnesses since representing those made sickest by an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 traced back to fast food giant, Jack in the Box. He has since represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other foodborne illnesses.
Marler was recently featured in PBS’s Frontline (http://pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/trouble-with-chicken/) and The New Yorker to discuss issues relating to Salmonella in the food industry: (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/bug-system).
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. Marler Clark attorneys have litigated Salmonella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, tomatoes, ground turkey, salami, sprouts, cereal, peanut butter, and food served in restaurants. The firm has brought Salmonella lawsuits against companies such as Cargill, ConAgra, Peanut Corporation of America, Sheetz, Taco Bell, Subway and Wal-Mart.