All News / Outbreaks /

First Lawsuit in E. coli Cookie Dough Outbreak Filed by Marler Clark

A young woman who was hospitalized for seven days after eating raw cookie dough made by Nestle USA filed suit today against the company in California Superior Court, San Mateo County. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 18-year-old Jillian Collins by her attorneys, William Marler of the Seattle-based foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark and Terry O’ Reilly of the San Mateo firm Reilly Collins.

San Mateo resident Jillian Collins ate Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough in late May, 2009. On May 26, she fell ill with painful abdominal cramps and diarrhea that soon turned bloody. Her symptoms worsened to the point where she sought urgent care. She was later admitted to the hospital, where tests revealed that she was infected with E. coli O157:H7. The genetic fingerprint of her test matched that of the outbreak strain which has infected 65 people in 29 states to date.

“This outbreak is an example of how virulent E. coli bacteria can be, and how many people can be affected when it enters the national food supply,” said Marler, who was traveling between food safety speeches. “Nestle USA is a company with a good food safety record, and upon learning of the CDC investigation they worked very quickly to get a voluntary recall of the product started. But even that isn’t enough for those who were sickened in this outbreak. It points to how vigilant we need to be in our food safety regulation and oversight.”

The first announcement about the multi-state outbreak was made on Thursday, June 18 by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), warning consumers about consuming the uncooked Nestle Toll House cookie dough product, and revealing that more than sixty were confirmed ill in 28 states. It wasn’t until late Friday, June 19 that the CDC released their outbreak information, which updated the totals to 65 ill in 29 states.

“Nestle has stopped production at the Virginia facility that produced the cookie dough,” continued Marler. “Everyone I talk to is stumped by how a bacteria normally associated with cattle feces made its way into the facility, and then into such a highly processed product. We may not solve that mystery; what we can do is work to prevent this type of event from happening again. The way to do that is better food safety surveillance – and that comes down to legislation and funding.”

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
E. coli Food Poisoning

What is E. coli and how does it cause food poisoning? Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a highly studied, common species of bacteria that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae, so...

E. coli O157:H7

E. coli O157:H7 is a foodborne pathogen that causes food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 is the most commonly identified and the most notorious Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serotype in...

Non-O157 STEC

Non-O157 Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli can also cause food poisoning. E. coli O157:H7 may be the most notorious serotype of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), but there are at least...

Sources of E. coli

Where do E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) come from? The primary reservoirs, or ultimate sources, of E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC in nature are...

Transmission of and Infection with E. coli

While many dairy cattle-associated foodborne disease outbreaks are linked to raw milk and other raw dairy products (e.g., cheeses, butter, ice cream), dairy cattle still represent a source of contamination...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database