Lawsuits Build Against Nebraska Beef as New Recall is Announced
A second Georgia lawsuit arising from E. coli tainted meat sourced from Nebraska Beef Ltd. was filed Friday, just as the beef processing company recalled another 1.2 million pounds of contaminated meat, bringing the total recalled in the last thirty days to over 6 million pounds. The complaint was filed against Nebraska Beef Ltd. in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Valdosta Division on behalf of Lillie Ruth and Theron Richter of Colquitt County, GA. The plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness, and by Albany attorney F. Faison Middleton, IV of Watson, Spence, Lowe & Chambless, LLP.
A cluster of E. coli illnesses appeared in Colquitt County in late June, and was traced to the Barbeque Pit in Moultrie, Georgia. The restaurant closed voluntarily on July 3, and recently re-opened after almost a month of decontamination. As many as twelve customers of the Barbeque Pit developed E. coli, and four of the victims have developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, or HUS. Mrs. Richter ate at the Barbeque Pit in Moultrie, GA twice in late June, and by July 1, required hospitalization. She tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 and remained in the hospital for a week.
“The first priority is to help these families with their medical bills, lost employment, and long-term care,” said William Marler, the Richter’s attorney. “However, Nebraska Beef and other meat processors need to realize that the customers they poison will not sit by and wait for the next recall. It is clear that the beef industry has dropped the reins on its food safety protocols—there has been a new E. coli outbreak every week somewhere in the US, and that means more families grappling with these life-threatening and life-altering illnesses. It has to stop.”
The Georgia cases have been genetically matched to a multi-state outbreak, which includes Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Indiana. The illnesses have been traced to E. coli tainted meat from Nebraska Beef Ltd. of Omaha, NE, which was a supplier to the Barbeque Pit in Moultrie. At least 50 have fallen ill in the seven confirmed states. The new recall is responsible for up to 30 additional sicknesses in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Canada.