Maine Victim of Fairbank Farms E. coli Outbreak Takes Legal Action


As news broke that more Maine residents may be infected with E. coli from Fairbank Farms ground beef, an Augusta woman severely sickened in the E. coli outbreak has filed suit against the company. The lawsuit was filed in the Maine District Court by the plaintiff’s attorneys, Bill Marler of foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark, and Peter Felmley of the Portland firm Drummond, Woodsum, & MacMahon.

On October 31, Ashville, NY-based Fairbank Reconstruction Corporation, doing business as Fairbank Farms Inc., recalled 545,699 pounds of ground beef tainted with toxic E. coli O157:H7. The recall included meat that the company had processed between September 14 and September 16. A joint investigation between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and several state health departments determined that the contaminated meat was responsible for 2 deaths and at least 25 E. coli illnesses in 10 states, most of them in New England.

The Associated Press reported on November 17 that four Maine residents may now be infected, causing the state to remind consumers to check their freezers for meat that may be part of the recall.

Margaret Long purchased meat produced by Fairbank Farms at Shaw’s Market in Augusta, Maine. She consumed the product on September 23, and by September 26, had symptoms consistent with E. coli infection. Her illness worsened, and she was hospitalized from September 29 through October 4. While she was there, her cultures tested positive for the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 found in the recalled meat.

“Anyone who has battled a severe E. coli infection will continue to have ongoing health problems,” said Marler. “Not only does this woman have to deal with lost work time and hospital bills, but she continues to struggle with health issues. And it all started with a meal – a meal made with meat that should never have reached the marketplace.”

This is the second E. coli lawsuit filed by Marler Clark in the Fairbank Farms outbreak. The first lawsuit was filed November 3 on behalf of a Massachusetts family sickened in the outbreak.