Plaintiff is one of 115 people who suffered severe Salmonella poisoning after consuming the company’s contaminated bean sprouts
Newport County resident, Amanda Harris, filed a lawsuit on September 1, 2015 against Wonton Foods, Inc. The plaintiff, who is suing for damages caused by Salmonella poisoning, is being represented by food safety advocate, William D. Marler, managing attorney at Marler Clark LLP, PS, based in Seattle, Washington. The case number is 1:15-cv-00366.
On Sunday, October 26, 2014, Amanda Harris attended a potluck party, during which she ate Chinese food containing bean sprouts that came from a restaurant. The following day, she ate a salad at a local pub that also contained bean sprouts.
The next morning, on October 28, Ms. Harris woke up feeling nauseous and called out of work. By noon, her legs and back were in pain, and she began to feel very cold. She started having diarrhea, and by 5:30 that evening, the diarrhea had increased in frequency to once per hour. Her pain continued to get worse, so she had a friend drive her to be seen at the Newport Hospital emergency room.
After being seen for her flu-like symptoms, Ms. Harris was sent home, but she continued to have diarrhea every hour, and her fever remained at a high temperature. She revisited the emergency room the next day, October 29, as she began to suffer from severe abdominal pains. She was given morphine to ease her pain, and took a stool sample to test for Salmonella.
Over the next two days, she continued to suffer from constant diarrhea and body aches, and began to have hallucinations in bed while trying to sleep. On November 1, her sister brought Ms. Harris back to the emergency room once again to treat her for dehydration and to run more tests. Her stool sample ultimately tested positive for the same strain of Salmonella present in the bean sprout Salmonella outbreak caused by Wonton Foods, Inc. Ms. Harris was given an antibiotic on November 3, and her fever broke within 48 hours. Ms. Harris lost about 20 pounds in two weeks.
“It’s a common misconception that Salmonella is only present in meats or animal products,” said Bill Marler, food safety lawyer who is representing Ms. Harris. “But Salmonella can spread like wildfire without proper sanitary standards in place. We have to be aware that the bacteria can contaminate any food item, including all fruits and vegetables.” Mr. 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).
Ms. Harris was a victim of the same outbreak in 2014 that caused a total of 115 people to fall ill with Salmonella that originated from bean sprouts sold by Wonton Foods Inc. The victims resided in 12 different states, including Connecticut (8), Maine (4), Maryland (6), Massachusetts (36), Montana (1), New Hampshire (6), New York (22), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (18), Rhode Island (7), Vermont (3), and Virginia (1). Of the 75 people with available information, 25% of the victims were hospitalized, although no deaths were reported.
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 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.