Complaint Filed Against Albertson's, Inc. - Meat Tainted with E. coli O157:H7

SEATTLE - A complaint was filed today against Albertson’s, Inc. on behalf of the Boucher family of Mt. Vernon.

The complaint claims that meat purchased at the Mt. Vernon Albertson’s on July 18, 1998 was contaminated with the E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria.

Randy and Annie Boucher, along with their two children, became ill after consuming portions of New York steak they barbecued at a family picnic on July 19. Mr. Boucher had marinated the steak in the refrigerator overnight. While all four members of the family became ill, only four-year-old Alexander required hospitalization.

Corinne Story of the Skagit County Department of Health confirmed the illnesses were from “tenderized, undercooked flank steak from Albertson’s.” Although Mrs. Boucher requested Albertson’s be alerted of the tainted meat, the Health Department did not do so, according to Ms. Story, because “as nearly all beef is contaminated with the E. coli 0157:H7 – final protection against the illness is by the consumer.”

William Marler, an attorney with the Seattle firm Marler Clark, who is representing the Bouchers along with the Mt. Vernon law firm of C. Thomas Moser, said, “Most consum-ers, whether they are cooking hamburger at the Puyallup Fair, tacos in a school or at a home barbecue, do the best they can to cook meat properly. The consumer cannot be the last line of defense in protecting their family. The meat industry, including stores, must take more responsibility.”

Marler was the lead attorney in the recently settled Odwalla E. coli 0157:H7 litigation for the families of children injured from drinking unpasteurized apple juice. He also repre-sented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement with Jack In the Box. He currently represents children who became ill after playing in an Atlanta water park’s child wading pool contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7.

Marler Clark is a new Seattle law firm that specializes in foodborne illness litigation, per-sonal injury, wrongful death and product liability litigation. In addition to Marler, partner Bruce Clark, was the former lead attorney representing Foodmaker, Inc., the parent com-pany of Jack In the Box Restaurants when it was involved in the largest E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak in U.S. history. Partner Denis Stearns was the attorney responsible for conduct-ing discovery in both the Jack In the Box and Odwalla E. coli 0157:H7 litigation cases.