As we reported earlier today, Southeastern Idaho Public Health is recommending that patrons of Tom’s Gyro, in Pocatello, Idaho, between August 2nd-August 14th receive hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) immediately. In addition, the health department has warned that patrons of the restaurant between July 15 and August 2 who have developed symptoms of hepatitis A infection need to see their health care providers.  

Hepatitis A scares are notorious for their breadth.  No public reports yet on how many people ate at the restaurant during these periods, but a restaurant that has a foodservice worker infected by hepatitis A places every customer at risk.  Hepatitis A infection is transmitted person-to-person, primarily via the fecal-oral route.  This means lots of people who, at the very least, will have to have a vaccination.

People in such circumstances who do not then become ill also have rights.  Here is a list of a few of the “shot class” cases that we have litigated over the past decade. 

D’Angelos Restaurant, Massachusetts, 2002: The food poisoning attorneys at Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all people who were forced to receive immune globulin shots to prevent hepatitis A infection. $200 settlement checks were mailed to 1,347 members of the class after the case was resolved.

Chi – Chi’s Restaurant, Pennsylvania, 2003: Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all people who obtained immune globulin shots for immunization during the outbreak. An $800,000 settlement fund was distributed amongst the 4,991 claimants who had returned completed claim forms by the October 24, 2005 deadline.

Friendly’s Restaurant, Massachusetts, 2004: Marler Clark filed a class action law suit on behalf of more than 3,000 people exposed to the hepatitis A virus at Friendly’s. Friendly’s and Marler Clark resolved the case in 2005.

Quizno’s Restaurant, Massachusetts, 2004: Marler Clark filed a Class Action lawsuit against Quizno’s on July 9, 2004. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all persons who were required to be inoculated against hepatitis A following possible exposure to the virus at the Quizno’s restaurant. All claims were resolved.

Houlihan’s Restaurant, Illinois, 2007: In January, 2007, a food worker at Houlihan’s restaurant in Geneva, Illinois, was diagnosed with a hepatitis A infection. The Kane County Health Department planned clinics at two locations in Aurora, Illinois, between January 21, 2007 and February 2, 2007 so that patrons who had been exposed to the hepatitis A virus at Houlihan’s could receive free injections of immune globulin. Marler Clark filed a hepatitis A class action lawsuit against Houlihan’s on January 26, 2007. The matter was resolved in 2008.

McDonald’s Restaurant, Illinlois, 2009: On July 21, 2009, Marler Clark filed a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s on behalf of all individuals who received hepatitis A vaccine or Immune Globulin injections as a result of their exposure to food that was potentially contaminated with hepatitis A at the Milan, Illinois McDonald’s restaurant. The claims were successfully resolved last year.