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E. coli lawsuit filed against Fresno Meat Market

SEATTLE, WA —A lawsuit was filed today against the Meat Market, a Fresno, California, business that was identified as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in May. The lawsuit was filed in Fresno County Superior Court by Seattle-based Marler Clark and San Diego-based Gordon & Holmes on behalf of Donald Jorgensen, an 80-year-old Fresno resident who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection and was hospitalized for 15 days with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infection that caused his kidneys to fail, after eating “tri-tip” purchased from the Meat Market and served at a graduation party.

The lawsuit is the third meat-related E. coli lawsuit filed by Marler Clark in two weeks. The firm has also filed lawsuits against United Food Group in California, and PM Beef Holdings in Michigan. “The number of E. coli outbreaks traced to beef products in the last few months is disconcerting,” commented William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “We haven’t seen millions of pounds of meat being recalled since 2002. I thought the beef industry had cleaned up, but there is obviously still a ways to go before people like Mr. Jorgensen can feel confident in the safety of the meat products they are eating.”

Mr. Jorgensen was one of 27 people who became ill with E. coli infections after eating tri-tip from the Meat Market in May. In April, Richwood Meat Co. of Merced, California, recalled 107,900 pounds of frozen ground beef products, and HFX, Inc., of South Claysburg, Pennsylvania, recalled 4,900 pounds of meat products. Both had been linked to E. coli outbreaks. In May, PM Beef Holdings of Windom, Minnesota, recalled 117,500 pounds of beef trim products, and Davis Creek Meats and Seafood of Kalamazoo, Michigan, recalled 129,000 pounds of beef products after their products were linked to E. coli outbreaks. Thus far in June, United Food Group of Vernon, California, has recalled 5.7 million pounds of ground beef since its products were traced as the source of an E. coli outbreak, and Tyson Fresh Meats of Sherman, Texas, has recalled 440,000 pounds of ground beef for possible E. coli contamination.

“Mr. Jorgensen is lucky to be alive,” Marler continued, “but like most HUS survivors, he has a long way to go before he’ll be out of the woods.”

More about the Fresno Meat Market E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.

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