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Brookfield Family Sues Over E. coli Contamination

By Tom Murray


BROOKFIELD - Gerard and Nicki Rosploch's two sons got sick four days after a family burger cookout at their Brookfield home.

"They were so ill, we had to take them to Children's," Gerard told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

While 11-year-old Zach never spent a night in the hospital, 7-year-old Josh wasn't so lucky.

"Every day, he just kept getting sicker and sicker," said Nicki.

Josh lost nearly 10 pounds in just two days. He had a violently upset stomach with nausea and diarrhea. Doctors and public health officials linked his problems to contaminated beef.

"He was so weak, laying in bed," Gerard recounted. "At one point, he asked if he was going to die."

The Rosplochs filed a lawsuit Friday at the United States District Court in Milwaukee. The legal action blames supplier JBS Swift, a processing company in Greeley, Colorado.

The E. coli outbreak tied to JBS Swift sickened least 23 people in nine states, including at least six in Wisconsin, the Centers for Disease Control reports.

"This has been a very difficult summer for contaminated meat," said the Rosploch family's attorney, Drew Falkenstein, in a press release. "With the huge uptick of tainted meat in the last several years, it's vital that we dedicate resources on every level to prevent more families from going through what the Rosplochs had to endure."

Falkenstein is a lawyer with Marler Clark, a Seattle, Washington law firm that specializes in food poisoning cases.

The Rosplochs said they bought their meat from a Pick 'n Save in Brookfield and put it in the freezer. Even though there were announcements and media reports, the family did not realize it had been recalled.

JBS Swift Beef Company recalled 41,280 pounds of beef products on June 24, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The lawsuit alleges the family consumed beef on July 19 that was later found to be among 420,000 pounds eventually recalled by the company.

Falkenstein told TODAY'S TMJ4 that a company is still liable for illness attributed to a tainted product, even if the company publicizes a recall.

Josh endured dialysis and blood transfusions during three weeks at Children's Hospital. He is back home now, but his parents say he's not in the clear.

"We still don't know if he's going to be ok in the future, if his kidneys are going to have problems," said Nicki.

Pick 'n Save is not blamed in the lawsuit and would not comment on the lawsuit, a spokesperson said.

JBS Swift did not return calls for comment.

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