Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Daughter Infected with E. coli Bacteria While Caring for Sick Mother


MILWAUKEE, WI - The team of law firms that has already filed two lawsuits on behalf of victims of the Sizzler E. coli outbreak today filed damage claims on behalf of a Milwaukee woman who was infected with the E. coli bacteria while caring for her elderly mother. The mother, Evelyn Bigelow, was hospitalized with an E. coli infection after eating contaminated food at the Sizzler located at 975 West Layton Avenue, in Milwaukee.

“This is the first legal action taken on behalf of a secondary transmission case,” explained William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally-known for its successful representation of persons injured in food-borne illness outbreaks. “These cases are especially sad because they usually involve someone, like Ms. Bigelow’s daughter, who was caring for a sick relative. It just adds to the tragedy.”

The lawsuit alleges that the daughter’s secondary transmission case was a foreseeable result of sizzler’s sale of contaminated food. This allegation is supported by the Fact Sheet issued by the Milwaukee Health Department, which states: “Person-to-person spread of the bacteria is possible and has occurred in family settings, in day care centers, and in nursing homes.” Adds Denis Stearns, a partner with Marler Clark: “Secondary transmission cases are a common and predictable feature of nearly all E. coli outbreaks. In the jack in the Box E. coli outbreak, over 10% of the cases were due to secondary transmission. Unfortunately, it takes so little of this bacteria to make you sick, it is often impossible to avoid, even if you are extremely careful, as was Ms. Bigelow’s daughter.”

The Marler Clark attorneys are teamed with Fox, O’Neill, and Shannon, an extremely well-respected Milwaukee law firm, in representing 8 persons injured as a result of the Sizzler E. coli outbreak. The Sizzler restaurants implicated in the outbreak are owned by Eschenbach-Boysa Management. At last report, the outbreak that has sickened over 55 people and left one child dead. Sizzler USA, which owns 95 restaurants in the United States, and franchises another 253, was implicated in another E. coli outbreak in 1993.

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Background: The Marler Clark attorneys have extensive experience representing the victims of food-borne illness. William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement in the Jack in the Box E. coli litigation. In May 1998, Marler Clark obtained substantial settlements on behalf of five families whose kids were injured after consuming contaminated Odwalla apple juice. Marler Clark is currently lead counsel in actions stemming from several E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Hepatitis outbreaks in Washington, California, Ohio, Missouri and Arizona. Marler Clark has litigated on behalf of children against KFC, McDonald’s, Hardees, Subway, and Carl's Jr.

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