As investigating health authorities grapple with the extent of the Nebraska Beef outbreak, more victims are asserting claims against the meat company. The recent filing occurred today in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, on behalf of Pickerington , OH resident Dawn Grieves, who was infected with the toxic E. coli strain O157:H7 after eating ground beef processed by Nebraska Beef Ltd. The plaintiff is represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle firm that specializes in E. coli suits, and by Nicholas Philips of the Cleveland area firm of Phillips, Mille and Constabile.
The lawsuit states that Ms. Grieves consumed Nebraska Beef Ltd products in the early part of June, 2008 and fell ill on June 5. She began to have increasingly severe symptoms including abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which sent her to the emergency room on June 6. She was given medication and returned home. Her health continued to deteriorate, and when and samples taken during her ER visit revealed that she had been infected with E. coli O157:H7, she returned to the hospital. She was admitted on June 9 and remained there until June 13. She continues to recover from her illness.
E. coli infections began showing up in central Ohio in mid-June, paralleled by a sharp increase in E. coli cases in Michigan. By June 20, officials had genetically linked many of the Ohio and Michigan cases; in the days that followed, the outbreak was traced to ground beef from Kroger stores. With illnesses nearing 30, Kroger initiated a voluntary recall on June 25. On June 30, FSIS announced that the tainted meat had been traced back to Nebraska Beef Ltd, and a recall of 531,707 pounds of ground beef products was initiated. On July 2, the Kroger recall increased to 20 states. On July 3, the Nebraska Beef recall was widened to include 5.3 million pounds.
Nebraska Beef Ltd. is already enmeshed in lawsuits stemming from tainted meat. In 2006, seventeen people were infected with E. coli O157:H7 after eating Nebraska Beef products prepared at a church dinner; one woman died. Nebraska Beef responded by suing the church. Marler Clark together with Phillips, Mille and Constabile filed the first lawsuit in the recent Ohio-Michigan outbreak on behalf of a New Albany resident who also became infected with E. coli after eating Nebraska Beef Ltd products. “Nebraska Beef needs to be held responsible for putting meat into the market that is contaminated with animal feces and E. coli,” said food borne illness attorney William Marler.
The attorneys of Marler Clark have been involved in representing victims of E. coli infection since 1993. They have worked closely with co-counsel, Nicholas Phillips, on past Ohio outbreak litigation.