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First E. coli Lawsuit filed against Evergreens in Seattle

Seattle, WA, Dec. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Seattle, WA., Dec. 18, 2019  A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Madison Sollars against Evergreen’s Restaurant in Seattle King County Superior Court. Ms. Sollars is represented by Marler Clark, the food safety law firm. Case 419-2-33161-5 SEA

The plaintiff consumed a salad on November 8, 2019, which she purchased from the defendant’s Evergreens restaurant Pioneer Square location at 106 1st Ave S in Seattle, Washington. On November 12, 2019, the plaintiff began experiencing symptom onset, including nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches. The plaintiff sought medical treatment for her symptoms at Urgent Care on November 13 and in the Emergency room on November 14, for symptoms consistent with an E. coli infection. The plaintiff continues to recover.

Seattle/King County Public Health are investigating an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) potentially associated with four Evergreens restaurants in Seattle. 

Twelve of thirteen people who became ill during November 10–15, 2019, ate dishes containing raw vegetables, including leafy greens, from Evergreens restaurants during November 5–11, 2019. 

The thirteenth person did not report having eaten at Evergreens, but genetic testing showed they were infected with the same strain of E. coli as three people who did eat at Evergreens and became ill. Genetic testing on isolates from four of the seven people (three who reported eating at Evergreens before they became ill and one who did not report eating at Evergreens) identified the same strain of E. coli, suggesting they have a common source of infection. 

Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced it is investigating three separate E. coli outbreaks linked to salad products.

The first outbreak, linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California, region, has already affected about 102 people across 21 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The second outbreak originates from Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits that has sickened over two dozen in the US and Canada. The third outbreak is associated with romaine lettuce from Washington state restaurant chain Evergreens that has sickened at least 11.       

Currently, the tracebacks on all three outbreaks have identified a common grower in Salinas.  The FDA has not yet announced the name of that grower.

E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks associated with lettuce and other leafy greens are by no means a new phenomenon.  Outlined below is a list of E. coli outbreaks involving contaminated lettuce or leafy greens in the past decade:

 

Date Vehicle Etiology Confirmed Cases States/Provinces
Sept. 2009 Lettuce: Romaine or Iceberg E. coli O157:H7 29 Multistate
Sept. 2009 Lettuce E. coli O157:H7 10 Multistate
April 2010 Romaine E. coli O145 33 5:MI, NY, OH, PA, TN
Oct. 2011 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 60 Multistate
April 2012 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 28 1:CA

Canada
June 2012 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 52 Multistate
Sept. 2012 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 9 1:PA
Oct. 2012 Spinach and Spring Mix Blend E. coli O157:H7 33 Multistate
Apr. 2013 Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 14 Multistate
Aug. 2013 Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 15 1:PA
Oct. 2013 Ready-To-Eat Salads E. coli O157:H7 33 Multistate
Apr. 2014 Romaine E. coli O126 4 1:MN
Apr. 2015 Leafy Greens E. coli O145 7 3:MD, SC, VA
June 2016 Mesclun Mix E. coli O157:H7 11 3:IL, MI, WI
Nov. 2017 Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 67 Multistate and Canada
Mar. 2018 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 219 Multistate and Canada
Nov. 2018 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 88 Multistate and Canada
Sept. 2019 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 23 Multistate
Nov. 2019 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 104 Multistate and Canada

Escherichia coli are the name of a common family of bacteria, most members of which do not cause human disease.  E. coli O157:H7 is a specific member of this family that can cause bloody diarrhea (hemorrhagic colitis) in humans.  In the years since E. coli O157:H7 was first identified as a cause of diarrhea, this bacterium has established a reputation as a significant public health hazard.

E. coli O157:H7 lives in the intestines of cattle and other ruminants.  E. coli O157:H7 is also notable among pathogenic bacteria for its extremely low infectious dose—that is, the number of bacteria necessary to induce infection in a person.  While for most pathogenic bacteria it takes literally millions of bacterial colonies to cause illness, it is now known that fewer than 50 E. coli O157:H7 bacteria can cause illness in a child.  The practical import is that even a microscopic amount of exposure can trigger a devastating infection.   

The most severe cases of the E. coli O157:H7 infection occur in young children and in the elderly, presumably because the immune systems in those age populations are the most vulnerable.  After a susceptible individual ingests E. coliO157:H7, the bacteria attach to the inside surface of the large intestine and initiates an inflammatory reaction of the intestine.  What ultimately results is the painful bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps characteristic of the intestinal illness. 

The mean incubation period (time from ingestion to the onset of symptoms) of E. coli O157:H7 is estimated to be two to four days (range, 1-21 days).  Typically, a patient with an acute E. coli O157:H7 infection presents with abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.  The duration of diarrhea in children with E. coli O157:H7 infections are significantly longer than that of adults.

E. coli O157:H7 can produce a wide spectrum of disease from mild, non-bloody diarrhea, to severe bloody diarrhea accompanied by excruciating abdominal pain to life-threatening complications.  In most infected individuals, the intestinal illness lasts about a week and resolves without any long-term effects.  Antibiotics do not appear to aid in combating these infections, and recent medical studies suggest that antibiotics are contraindicated for their risk of provoking more serious complications.  Apart from good supportive care, which should include close attention to hydration and nutrition, there is no specific therapy.  

About 10% of individuals with E. coli O157:H7 infections (mostly young children) go on to develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe, potentially life-threatening complication.  The essence of the syndrome is described by its three central features:  destruction of red blood cells, destruction of platelets (those blood cells responsible for clotting), and acute renal failure due to the formation of micro-thrombi that occlude microscopic blood vessels that make up the filtering units within the kidneys.  

There is no known therapy to halt the progression of HUS.  The active stage of the disease usually lasts one to two weeks, during which a variety of complications are possible.  HUS is a frightening illness that even in the best American medical facilities has a mortality rate of about 5%.  The majority of HUS patients require transfusion of blood products and develop complications common to the critically ill.

About Marler Clark

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 $650 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 KinerStephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

Additional Resources

SOURCE Marler Clark, The Nation's Food Safety Law Firm

Related Links

http://www.marlerclark.com

 

Attachments

Julie Dueck
Marler Clark
206-346-1893
jdueck@marlerclark.com