Lawsuit filed against cafeteria company, CL Swanson, for Rochelle Foods Salmonella outbreak

ROCHELLE, IL – A lawsuit was filed in Ogle County Circuit Court in Rochelle on Thursday, against the C.L. Swanson Corporation (Case no. 2005 L 38). The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Kim Webb, a 39-year-old Lee County, Illinois resident who works at Rochelle Foods, Inc. The named Defendant, C.L. Swanson Corporation, runs the cafeteria service at the plant. The lawsuit was not filed against Rochelle Foods, Inc., a separate entity. Ms. Webb is represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle lawyers nationally recognized for the successful representation of victims of foodborne illness, and Rathbun, Cservenyak & Kozol, a respected Illinois law firm.

Ms. Webb was one of twelve Rochelle Foods workers who submitted stool samples that tested positive for Salmonella during the three-week period between April 5 and April 22, 2005. Two of these twelve individuals worked in the plant cafeteria, managed and operated by C.L. Swanson Corporation. The Ogle County Health Department reported that four other people became ill with symptoms of a Salmonella infection during the outbreak, but did not submit stool samples for testing. Attorneys allege that Ms. Webb was served Salmonella-contaminated food at the C.L. Swanson cafeteria where she regularly ate breakfast and lunch.

“If anybody understands the importance of food safety, you would think that it would be a company like C.L. Swanson’s, whose sole function at the Rochelle Foods plant was to serve safe food to workers,” said R. Drew Falkenstein, an associate with Marler Clark.

Ms. Webb was severely ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection for several weeks, and was unable to return to work until she submitted two consecutive stool samples that tested negative for the Salmonella bacterium. “Kim tested positive for Salmonella for nearly two months. That’s a lot of time to be out of work,” Falkenstein continued. “She deserves to be compensated for what she went through.”


BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has represented over 1,000 victims of foodborne illness outbreaks since 1993, when William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement with Jack in the Box. In August of 2004, Marler Clark settled the claims of 53 individuals who became ill with Salmonella javiana after eating at a Vernon Hills, Illinois Chili’s restaurant. The firm has represented victims of Salmonella outbreaks traced to contaminated juice, cantaloupe, sprouts, cereal, and other foods. For more information on Salmonella litigation, visit