BOSTON, MA — A class action lawsuit was filed Friday in Middlesex Superior Court against Friendly’s International, Inc., the owner of the Friendly’s restaurant located at 105 Broadway in Arlington. Marler Clark, the Seattle food safety law firm, and Sabra & Aspden, a Somerset law firm, filed the lawsuit on behalf of named plaintiff, Frederick Foster, and all others who were forced to receive Immune Globulin shots after being exposed to the hepatitis A virus at Friendly’s.
The “shot class” includes all persons who were exposed to the hepatitis A virus as a direct result of either their consumption of food that was manufactured and sold by Friendly’s, or their exposure to persons who were infected with the hepatitis A virus after consuming hepatitis A-contaminated food at Friendly’s.
“Thousands of people waited in line for hours to receive Immune Globulin (Ig) shots to prevent becoming ill with hepatitis A infection,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Filing a class action makes sense in that people who received shots had similar injuries: lost wages, medical and travel expenses, and emotional distress related to the fear of becoming infected.”
Marler added, “We have represented thousands of people in hepatitis A litigation against restaurants, and have found that a class is the best method for people to recover for injuries sustained without the process being too taxing on individuals or the legal system.”
Marler Clark represented members of a class action arising out of a hepatitis A outbreak linked to two Seattle Subway stores in 1999. The firm also represented approximately 1,400 people who received Ig shots to prevent hepatitis A infection after an outbreak at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Spokane, Washington. Marler Clark and Sabra & Aspden together represented over 1,500 people who received Ig shots after an outbreak at D’Angelo’s Deli in Swansea, Massachusetts, in 2001.
Health officials estimate that over 3,800 people were exposed to the hepatitis A virus at Friendly’s between June 4 and June 15. On Friday, June 15, over 3,000 people lined up at a clinic to receive Ig shots to prevent infection. The clinic resumed on Monday, June 18.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. The hepatitis A virus is commonly spread through contact with human stool. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramping, fatigue and fever. In young children these symptoms can appear flu-like, but in some cases do not appear at all. Symptoms most often begin two to six weeks after exposure and can last several weeks. Preventative treatment (Ig shot) is only effective when administered within 14 days of exposure to the virus. After 14 days there is no treatment.
More about the Friendly's hepatitis A exposure can be found in the Case News area of this site.