Plaintiff is one of 162 people in western U.S. States who have fallen ill from the product

 Marler Clark, the nation’s only law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of California on behalf of plaintiff Karen Echard, who was sickened with hepatitis A (HAV) after consuming “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, ” a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix purchased at a Costco retail store. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined the product to be the cause of the outbreak. Co-counsel on the case are respected California attorneys Frederic L. Gordon and Richard R. Waite. The suit’s case number is CV14-05281 JAK (VBKx).

As of October 28, 2013, a total of 162 ill persons infected by HAV have been reported from 10 states. The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Arizona (23), California (79), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). There were 71 hospitalizations and no known deaths.

Plaintiff Karen Echard is one of those sickened with HAV by the product. The Osecola County, Florida resident became ill on May 21, 2013 after consuming the product she purchased at Costco in April 2013. This was before the HAV outbreak was known and Costco had removed the product from store shelves. The fruit mix she purchased and consumed was imported, manufactured, distributed, and sold by defendants Costco, Townsend Farms, Purely Pomegranate, Fallon Trading, and United Juice. Costco stores removed the product from store shelves on or about May 31, 2013. As of the time of the filing of her complaint against the defendants, Karen was still recovering from her HAV infection.

“Many people think that healthy foods are not susceptible to HAV and other foodborne illnesses, but that is just not true,” 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. “Healthy foods are just as prone to these illnesses as milk and eggs.”

Hepatitis A, which causes severe gastrointestinal illness and, in severe cases, liver failure and death, incubates in the human body for between 15 and 50 days. Many people with hepatitis A don’t experience any symptoms at initial onset, but if they do these can mimic the flu. Once the disease hits the liver, victims can experience severe stomach pain, dark urine, jaundice, itchy skin, body aches, and general weakness. The infection can continue for weeks or months.

“It is always very hard learning about an HAV outbreak, especially since it is so easy to eliminate the threat. Hepatitis A is a serious disease, but it’s also the only foodborne illness that is vaccine-preventable,” Marler said.

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 brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Subway, McDonald’s, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr.