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Lawsuit filed against Chi-Chi's on behalf of hepatitis-A victims

PITTSBURGH, PA —Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally known for successful representation of victims of foodborne illness, and Jerry Meyers, a respected Pittsburgh personal injury attorney, will file a lawsuit today on behalf of Mark and Amy Holton and their son, A.J., all of whom contracted hepatitis-A after eating at the Beaver Valley Chi Chi’s.

The lawsuit, filed in Beaver County Superior Court, alleges that Mark, Amy, and A.J. all ate at Chi Chi’s on October 4, and that Mark started experiencing symptoms of hepatitis-A infection on October 27. He went to the emergency room on November 1, and was hospitalized for two days with acute hepatitis-A. Amy and A.J. began experiencing symptoms of infection in early November, and are currently ill. The lawsuit states that Chi Chi’s had a duty to manufacture a wholesome product, free of pathogenic viruses, and that the restaurant breached that duty by serving food contaminated with hepatitis-A. The complaint seeks damages for all related medical costs, wage loss, and unspecified general damages.

“We have been contacted by at least a dozen people who contracted hepatitis-A after eating at Chi Chi’s, and we are filing this lawsuit because our clients deserve compensation for what they have gone through,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark.

Chi Chi’s filed for bankruptcy on October 31. Marler continued, saying, “We are confident that even though Chi Chi’s filed for bankruptcy, it is a nation-wide chain, and should have sufficient insurance to cover all claims of those who were injured in this outbreak. The bankruptcy filing will not prevent victims from receiving their just compensation.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a hepatitis-A advisory on November 3, stating that people who had eaten at the restaurant through November 2 should receive an Immune Globulin shot to prevent infection, and a number of local clinics have been providing the shots.

“Hepatitis-A has an incubation period of ten to fifty days, so the state Health Department most likely did not know about this outbreak any sooner, which is unfortunate. Undoubtedly, many more victims of this outbreak will surface in the coming weeks,” Marler concluded.

BACKGROUND: Marler Clark has achieved great success representing hepatitis-A victims of outbreaks across the country. The firm obtained a $1.06 million settlement on behalf of 29 persons who were infected with hepatitis-A after eating contaminated food at two Seattle Subway Sandwich franchises. Marler Clark has also represented victims who became ill with hepatitis-A after eating at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Spokane, Washington, three restaurants in Northwest Arkansas, a large wedding party in Michigan, which resulted in a death, a Taco Bell outlet in Florida, and at a deli in Massachusetts. The firm has been recently contacted by victims of a recent outbreak in Georgia that was linked to contaminated green onions.

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More about the Chi-Chi's hepatitis A outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.

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