Marler Clark Files 8th Lawsuit in Nationwide Romaine E. coli O157 Outbreak


CANYON COUNTY, Idaho – An 8th lawsuit was filed today in Idaho District Court on behalf of William Whitt who was infected with E. coli O157:H7 from romaine lettuce. The lawsuit was filed against Papa Murphy’s by Marler Clark, the food safety law firm and Eberle, Berlin, Kading, Turnbow, and McKlveen, an experienced Boise firm.

On March 24, 2018, Mr. Whitt consumed romaine lettuce purchased from a Papa Murphy’s restaurant located at 2420 12thAve Rd, Nampa, Idaho. Two days later, Mr. Whitt began experiencing gastrointestinal illness so severe that he was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital on March 30. At the hospital, Mr. Whitt tested positive for E. coli O157, matching the outbreak strain. Mr. Whitt developed a hernia requiring surgical repair. During the procedure, doctors discovered that the E. coli infection had caused damage to the lining of Mr. Whitt’s stomach. To date, Mr. Whitt continues to receive treatment for his E. coli O157 infection. 

“Our goal in filing multiple lawsuits against the place of purchase of the contaminated romaine is to force the disclosure of where in the chain of distribution – grower, shipper or processor – the E. coli O157 contamination occurred,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark.  “Only when we find out where the contamination occurred can we do something to prevent the next outbreak,” added Marler.

Mr. Whitt is part of a West Coast cluster of E. coli cases linked to Papa Murphy’s.

To date, Marler Clark has filed eight complaints in relation to the nationwide E. coli O157:H7 outbreak including this complaint against Papa Murphy’s, along with one in Georgia against Texas Roadhouse, one in New Jersey against Panera, one in Pennsylvania against Freshway, two in Arizona against Red Lobster, and an additional two in California against Papa Murphy’s. Marler Clark currently represents 95 people sickened in the outbreak, including 12 who developed acute kidney failure.

According to the CDC, as of May 15, 2018, 172 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 32 states.  Alaska (8), Arizona (8), California (39), Colorado (3), Connecticut (2), Florida (1), Georgia (4), Idaho (11), Illinois (2), Iowa (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (3), Michigan (5), Minnesota (12), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), Montana (8), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (8), New York (5), North Dakota (2), Ohio (6), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (21), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (3), Texas (1), Utah (1), Virginia (1), Washington (7), and Wisconsin (3). One death was reported from California.

Illnesses started on dates ranging from March 13, 2018 to May 2, 2018. Ill people range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29. Sixty-five percent of ill people are female. Of 157 people with information available, 75 (48%) have been hospitalized, including 20 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $650 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s.  We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne KinerStephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.