Marler Clark Files Lawsuit Representing Victim of Blackberry Hepatitis A Outbreak


(Outagamie County, WI) A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Michael and Laurie Lewis against Woodman’s Food Market, Inc. in the Hepatitis A outbreak linked to fresh blackberries. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are represented by Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm. The lawsuit was filed in the state of Wisconsin Circuit Court in Outagamie county. Complaint #2021CV000335. See attached.

Mrs. Lewis purchased blackberries from the Woodman’s Food Market located at 595 N. Westhill Blvd., in Appleton, Wisconsin on September 3,9, or 16, 2019. The Lewis’s consumed the blackberries. On October 1, 2019, Michael Lewis began experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A, leg pain, fatigue, lack of appetite, jaundice, and abdominal pain. Mr. Lewis sought medical care which included blood samples and a CT scan of his abdomen. Test results necessitated an admission to the hospital for an endoscopic procedure which resulted in a confirmed diagnosis of acute liver failure. After eight days of hospitalization and treatment, Mr. Lewis was discharged. Despite treatment, he is still suffering from long term effects of Hepatitis A infection.

On October 8, 2019, Mrs. Lewis began experiencing symptoms of Hepatitis A, namely, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and headache. When her symptoms persisted, she sought medical treatment. Blood tests and a CT scan revealed that she too had an Hepatitis A infection. Mrs. Lewis was also confirmed as a victim of foodborne illness, having contracted Hepatitis A from blackberries.

“The Hepatitis A virus can be life-threatening as was shown by the severe disease that the Lewis’s suffered,” said William D. Marler, counsel for the family. “But for the heroic efforts of the medical staff, a liver transplant certainly was a possibility,” added Marler.

As of February 2020, twenty individuals were identified as infected with Hepatitis A among seven states: Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Illnesses ranged from October 8, 2019 to November 15, 2019. Eleven people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicated that fresh blackberries were the likely source of this outbreak. Of all cases interviewed (20), 19 reported eating fresh blackberries, and at least 16 cases reported purchasing those blackberries from either Fresh Thyme Farmers Market or Woodman’s Food Market between September 9 and September 30, 2019. The outbreak is considered over.

Hepatitis A: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $800 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr. We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming Hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.

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

Download PDF