Family of Nebraska spinach E. coli victim files suit

Lawyers name spinach farm as defendant, ask FDA to release more information

OMAHA, NEB.– A lawsuit was filed today on behalf of the estate of Ruby Trautz, an 81-year-old Nebraska resident who died on August 31, 2006, after suffering complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection traced to contaminated spinach. The lawsuit was filed in Sarpy County District Court (Case No. 06-1915) by Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm with a national reputation for the successful representation of victims of foodborne illnesses, and Berry & Kelly, a respected Lincoln, Nebraska, law firm. “John Doe Farms” is named as a defendant, along with Dole Food Company, Natural Selections Foods, and No Frills Supermarkets.

“FDA owes it to the American public, and to the victims of this outbreak in particular, to release information as to the identity of the spinach farm. This far into the outbreak investigation, FDA should already have named the farm where the spinach came from,” said attorney Bill Marler. “We included John Doe Farms as a defendant to try to get more answers for our clients.”

This latest lawsuit is the eighth filed by Marler Clark on behalf of victims of the spinach E. coli outbreak. The firm has filed lawsuits on behalf of residents of Maryland, Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, Utah, and New York, but this is the first time the firm has named the retail outlet where the victims purchased the spinach and the farm where the spinach was grown. “It is time that the fresh produce industry, from farm to grocery store, takes responsibility for what happened,” Marler added.

BACKGROUND: Marler Clark, the nation’s leading foodborne illness law firm, has represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks since Bill Marler represented victims of the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. The firm has litigated high profile E. coli cases against McDonald’s, Wendy’s, ConAgra, Pat & Oscar’s, and other food companies.