Marler Clark files lawsuit against Brook-Lea


Attorneys for 70 victims of salmonella poisoning seek punitive damages for country club's 'egregious behavior'

Rochester, NY -- Two outbreaks of Salmonella enteritidis at the Brook-Lea Country Club in June and July resulted in 106 culture-confirmed salmonella infections. Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally known for its representation of food borne illness victims, represents 70 victims of the outbreaks in a lawsuit against Brook-Lea that was served today on attorneys for Brook-Lea.

The lawsuit states that Brook-Lea management had a duty to notify health authorities and the public when it found that patrons and employees had become ill with what appeared to be a food borne illness, and failed to do so. It also alleges that management did nothing to discourage or prevent the possibility of further infections among its patrons or staff after it became aware of the apparent outbreaks. Attorneys for the plaintiffs ask that the court award their clients all medical expenses and lost wages related to their illnesses, as well as punitive damages related to Brook-Lea's disregard for the health of its members, guests and employees.

"We are asking that the court impose punitive damages because the Health Department investigation reveals that Brook-Lea's management turned a blind eye to a serious health problem among its food handlers," said Bruce Clark of Marler Clark. "The local health department cited Brook-Lea for its illegal failure to report ill workers. Had management responded properly, it is quite possible that many of the illnesses could have been avoided. The fact that Brook-Lea was fined by the Health Department reveals just how egregious its behavior was in this instance," added Clark.

Mr. Clark and representatives from Brook-Lea's insurance company, OneBeacon Insurance of Rochester, met the week of December 16 to discuss possible settlement of claims before a lawsuit was filed, but the meeting yielded no results. "I cannot comment on the particulars of any settlement effort, but there seems to be a complete failure to recognize the severity of these Salmonella infections," continued Clark. "Our clients went through awful experiences which, in retrospect, are made worse by the realization that this outbreak was preventable. While Brook-Lea and its insurance company may be unimpressed by what has happened, I am confident that a jury will appreciate the seriousness of these infections, the unreasonableness of Brook-Lea's actions, and will fairly compensate the Club's victims."

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Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of all food-borne illnesses. William Marler represented Brianne Kiner in her $15.6 million settlement with Jack in the Box in 1993. In 1998, Marler Clark resolved the Odwalla Juice E. coli outbreak for five families whose children developed HUS and were severely injured after consuming contaminated apple juice for $12 million. Since 1993 Marler Clark has successfully resolved well over a thousand food-borne illness matters. Total recoveries exceed $75 million. Marler Clark is currently lead counsel in actions resulting from E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, Norwalk Virus or Hepatitis A outbreaks in several states. Marler Clark has also litigated on behalf of children against KFC, Bauer Meats, IBP, Excel, McDonalds, Hardees, Wendy's, Subway, Sizzler, and Carl's Jr. Marler Clark recently secured a verdict of $4.75 million against a School District in Eastern Washington.

More about the Brook-Lea Salmonella outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.