The first E. coli lawsuit against National Steak and Poultry (NSP), an Oklahoma meat manufacturing facility, was filed today in the Third Judicial District Court in Salt Lake City. The civil suit was filed by Marler Clark and by Utah attorneys Jared Faerber and Dustin Lance on behalf of a child sickened in the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to NSP beef products. The lawsuit also names as yet unidentified “John Doe” companies that may have been involved in distributing the tainted meat products.
The recall linked to National Steak and Poultry was announced on Christmas Eve 2009. It included 248,000 pounds of beef products potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a toxic pathogen. NSP announced the recall after the USDA and CDC became aware of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to the product in six states. Ultimately, the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak was expanded to twenty-one people in 16 states. The victims live in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington State. According to the CDC, most of the people sickened in the outbreak fell ill between mid October and late November; nine were hospitalized; and one person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication, as a result of their E. coli infection. Most of the meat was distributed to restaurants.
According to the lawsuit, 14-year-old Utah resident “CD” was infected with E. coli O157:H7 in October 2009. Within days of consuming contaminated meat, he began to experience severe E. coli symptoms including agonizing abdominal cramps and diarrhea that soon turned bloody. When his symptoms worsened, his parents rushed him to the ER at Columbia Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful, Utah where he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal bleeding; his parents were ultimately directed to take him to Primary Children’s Medical Center due to his deteriorating condition. CD remained hospitalized at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Ogden, Utah from November 2 through 4, 2009. He was diagnosed with infectious colitis, and a stool specimen that he submitted during his hospitalization soon tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. CD’s parents learned from officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the strain of E. coli O157:H7 that had infected their son matched the outbreak strain linked to the defendant National Steak Processor’s beef products.
The lawsuit was filed by Seattle foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark, and by Utah counsel, Dustin Lance, of The Lance Firm, P.C., and Jared Faerber of The Faerber Law Firm, P.C. Mr. Lance and Mr. Faerber are experienced Utah trial lawyers, and have both previously represented Utah residents sickened by contaminated food products. Moreover, both Utah counsel have worked with Mr. Marler and his firm on past foodborne illness cases within the State of Utah.