$15.6 Million Settlement OK'd in Hamburger Case

A 9-year-old Oak Harbor girl who was hospitalized in 1993 after eating a contaminated hamburger at a Jack In The Box restaurant has reached a $ 1.5 million settlement with the restaurant's parent company, its ground-beef supplier and several slaughterhouses. Carlesha Phillips was one of several hundred people who became ill after eating Jack In The Box hamburgers contaminated with E. coli bacteria.

Three children in the state died in the outbreak. Carlesha was hospitalized for 17 days and required dialysis after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney ailment, said the family's lawyer, Bill Marler of Seattle. In July 1995, she had her gall bladder removed due to damage caused by the E. coli bacteria, Marler said yesterday.

Recent tests indicate her kidney function is normal, Marler said. Carlesha is now a fourth-grader at Crescent Harbor Elementary in Oak Harbor. The settlement was reached with Foodmaker Inc., the San Diego-based parent of Jack In The Box; Vons Inc., which supplied ground beef for Foodmaker; and several slaughterhouses.

The money Carlesha received has been placed in a trust for her medical needs, Marler said.