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Another Hepatitis Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois McDonald’s

Another lawsuit on behalf of a customer sickened in the Milan McDonald’s outbreak was filed today in the Circuit Court of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Rock Island County. The lawsuit was filed against McDonald’s Inc., and Kevin Murphy, the owner of the McDonald’s restaurant at 400 West First Street in Milan, IL, by Marler Clark, the Seattle-based foodborne illness law firm, and Craig Mielke of the Illinois firm of Foote, Meyers, Mielke & Flowers LLC. This is the second illness lawsuit; a class action lawsuit was also filed on behalf of restaurant patrons who had to get a shot to avoid illness.

The lawsuit is being brought by Karie Fiegel and her 14-year-old daughter, both of whom ate at the Milan McDonald’s in early June, 2009. Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) has an incubation period of 15-50 days, and it was not until early July that Ms. Fiegel fell ill with nausea, vomiting, fever, and jaundice. She sought medical care, but her symptoms only intensified, and she was admitted to the hospital where she remained for three days. In the hospital, tests revealed that she had been infected with HAV. Hepatitis infects the liver, and Ms. Fiegel’s liver enzymes were found to be elevated during her hospitalization. Although she has been released, her liver enzymes remain elevated.

Meanwhile, her daughter also began experiencing symptoms of HAV infection. The teenager was tested and also diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

“There are 30 confirmed cases of HAV,” said William Marler, the family’s attorney. “Given the incubation period of hepatitis A, it’s possible that the outbreak is not over, and we may see additional illnesses. It is very important for anyone who ate at the Milan McDonalds in June to monitor their health—and their family’s heath—very carefully.”

A food worker at the Milan McDonald’s had Hepatitis A, and a series of mistakes exposed as many as 10,000 restaurant patrons to the virus before the restaurant was closed and cleaned (it has since re-opened). A separate class action lawsuit was filed July 21 on behalf of those who had to get Immune Globulin (IG) shots after exposure to HAV at the Milan McDonald’s restaurant. Almost five thousand people have already received shots in mass clinics coordinated by the Rock Island County Health Department. Eligible individuals are still joining the class action suit.

Marler Clark has extensive experience handling large-scale exposures to Hepatitis A. Over the last decade, the firm has combined class action litigation on behalf of those who had to get shots and individual lawsuits on behalf of those who were unable to avoid infection and fell ill.

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