In late June of 2002, the Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) in upstate New York began receiving reports of laboratory-confirmed Salmonella illnesses from local hospitals and doctors. By June 22, MCHD had received 17 reports of illness among attendees at multiple events held at the Brook-Lea Country Club outside of Rochester between June 1 and June 17. In response to the outbreak, MCHD inspected the Brook-Lea kitchen and reviewed its food-handling procedures. In addition, Brook-Lea closed its kitchen and had the kitchen cleaned by a commercial company.
By June 24, stool samples collected from 53 people who had eaten foods prepared in the Brook-Lea kitchen had cultured positive for Salmonella, and dozens of additional samples were pending culture confirmation. MCHD obtained stool and blood samples from about 50 kitchen-related Brook-Lea staff for Salmonella testing. Nine employees tested positive for Salmonella infection.
As the MCHD investigation continued, the number of Salmonella cases linked to Brook-Lea climbed to over 100. At least 95 of the cases were both culture-confirmed and linked epidemiologically to the consumption of food at Brook-Lea between June 1 and June 18.
The Brook-Lea kitchen reopened, but was quickly closed down again when on July 30 six more people became ill with Salmonella after eating at Brook-Lea. Four victims of the new outbreak were Brook-Lea employees. Overall, there were now 106 confirmed cases of salmonella food poisoning in people residing in Monroe County and the surrounding area. All of these cases were linked to the Brook-Lea Country Club.
Marler Clark represented 70 victims of the Brook-Lea Salmonella outbreak in claims against the country club.