Outbreak Originated in Dallas, but Affected People nationwide – Seattle Law Firm Marler Clark Representing Victims
SEATTLE, WA – A class action lawsuit was filed today against Wyndham International on behalf of all individuals who became ill after being infected with Salmonella during a three-week long outbreak at the Wyndham Anatole in Dallas, Texas.
Marler Clark, a Seattle, Washington-based law firm nationally known for its successful litigation of cases involving foodborne illnesses, filed the complaint. The firm has presided over other well-publicized food illness class action lawsuits against jack in the Box, Subway, and Carl’s Jr. Restaurants.
Four of the confirmed cases named as plaintiffs are Patrick Cary Duke, of Dallas, Texas; Redmond, Washington resident Nicholle Jaquith, Jeff Fleeger of Indiana; and Jolyn Witing, who resides in Denver county, Colorado. Duke, Jaquith, Fleeger, and witing all attended conventions held at the Wyndham Anatole during March and April. Soon after attending their respective events, each became ill with severe abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, fever, intense nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Their symptoms lasted for several days with Jaquith, Fleeger, and Witing all requiring emergency medical attention.
According to the complaint filed in the Superior Court of the State of Washington in King County, the Wyndham Anatole, a Wyndham International Hotel property, exposed over 3,000 individuals to Salmonella Enteritidis during a three-week period from mid-April 2002. Several hundred people, from all over the United States, are believed to have become ill. The Wyndham Anatole is the largest convention hotel in the Southwest and many of the establishment’s guests were businesspeople attending various conventions or seminars from around the nation.
On April 8, the Texas Department of Health announced that federal, state, and local health authorities were investigating reports of illness from several people who had stayed at or attended meetings at the Wyndham Anatole. It is believed that tainted food or water was the source of the outbreak. However, the specific tainted item has not been identified, although the investigation is still ongoing. Last week, managers at the Wyndham Anatole shut down the facility’s banquet kitchen and are now serving only bottled water as well as pasteurized orange juice, ice, and eggs. To date, hundreds of individuals who stayed at the Wyndham Anatole during March and April have reported exhibiting symptoms of Salmonella Enteritidis. Twenty-nine cases have been confirmed through stool culture testing.
“Some infected individuals may have initially mistaken their symptoms for severe influenza. However, if they attend a meeting or convention at the Wyndham Anatole within the last month and became ill shortly afterward, chances are that they were infected with Salmonella,” said Marler Clark attorney Bill Marler.
The incubation period for Salmonella can be anywhere from 6 hours to 10 days, with most infected individuals displaying symptoms between 6 and 48 hours after initial exposure. Symptoms of Salmonella usually last four to seven days, although it can be several months before victims are completely recovered. In severe cases, the infection can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream causing septicemia-commonly known as blood poisoning – a potentially fatal complication. Infants, the elderly, and people suffering from conditions weakening their immune systems are most susceptible to the devastating effects of the virus. For more information about Salmonella, please visit www.about-salmonella.com.
A class action is being brought in this case because of the number of potential victims and the cost to each if they chose to file separately. “Our goal is to make sure that each of the victims is fairly compensated for their pain and suffering as well as wages lost and medical expenses due to their illness,” said Marler. He added, “Salmonella outbreaks have become more and more common in the last few years, although they are preventable. Hopefully this situation will encourage restaurants and facilities like the Wyndham Anatole to make changes to their food preparation practices. This case proves that one outbreak can affect people from every corner of the nation.”
Salmonella is generally found in uncooked poultry, ground beef, and eggs. Therefore, all should be cooked thoroughly and reach a temperature throughout of at least 160°F. Kitchen work surfaces, utensils, and hands should be thoroughly washed immediately after they have been in contact with meat or eggs. In addition, Salmonella can be present in unpasteurized milk.
More about the Wyndham hotel Salmonella outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.