A third lawsuit has been filed against The SoyNut Butter Company of Illinois over an ongoing outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 connected to the company’s SoyNut Butter products. As in the first two lawsuits, “John Doe Manufacturer” has been named in an effort to force the disclosure of the actual manufacturer of the tainted soy nut butter. The newest plaintiffs are Kelli and Derek Vanderby, a husband and wife who are residents of Sonoma County, California. The couple are being represented by Marler Clark LLP, the Food Safety Law Firm, headquartered in Seattle, and Newland & Newland, LLP, based in Illinois. The case number is 1:17-cv-02055.
After Kelli and Derek purchased I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, Kelli consumed it regularly in the days before her illness developed. Unbeknownst to the Vanderbys, the product Kelli was eating was tainted with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
On or about January 20th, 2017, Kelli developed severe and painful gastrointestinal symptoms, which became worse over the following several days, eventually including bloody diarrhea. On the 23rd of January, she was admitted to Petaluma Valley Hospital in Petaluma, where she was diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection. She remained hospitalized until January 27th, 2017. While she is now out of the hospital, Kelli’s recovering is ongoing as she faces uncertain future medical complications.
The third lawsuit related to the SoyNut Butter Company E. coli outbreak, the Vanderby’s complaint follows two other families who filed suit last week. Mosby and Erin Simmons of Santa Clara County filed on behalf of their young child who was sickened by the company’s I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter. Lisa Leavitt-Garcia and Rolando Garcia, also from Santa Clara County, filed after I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter infected Lisa Leavitt-Garcia with E. coli O157:H7.
“We are very concerned that The SoyNut Butter Company and FDA have yet to disclose the original manufacturer of this product,” said Bill Marler of Marler Clark, LLP. “Consumers must be able to rely on the integrity of the products they purchase. If this is happening with one company, it could be happening with other products by this unknown manufacturer.”
While The SoyNut Butter Company has issued a voluntary recall of affected products, the FDA and CDC, along with state and local health officials, continue to investigate the outbreak. The recall includes I.M. Healthy Original Creamy SoyNut Butter with a Best By date of 08-30-18 or 08-31-18 as well as Granola and Dixie Diner’s Club Brand Carb Not Beanit Butter.
According to the CDC, as of March 7, 2017, a total of 16 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from nine states. The number of those sickened continues to increase in this ongoing outbreak.
The number of ill people identified in state includes Arizona (4), California (4), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Oregon (2), Virginia (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (1). Eight of those sickened have been hospitalized and five have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening type of kidney failure. Fourteen of the 16 illnesses were reported in children under the age of 18. No deaths have been reported.
An estimated 73,000 cases of E. coli O157:H7 occur each year in the United States. Approximately 2,000 people are hospitalized, and 60 people die as a direct result of E. coli O157:H7 infections and complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure. Symptoms of E. coli include the sudden onset of abdominal pain and severe cramps, followed by watery, sometimes bloody, diarrhea. Vomiting can also occur, but there is usually no fever.
A severe, life-threatening complication of E. coli O157:H7 is Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Although most people recover from this infection, about 5-10% of infected individuals goes on to develop HUS. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases of HUS that develop in North America. To learn more about HUS, please visit http://www.about-hus.com.
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.