Marler Clark Files Salmonella Lawsuit for Man Sickened by Marie Callender’s Frozen Meal

The first lawsuit was filed this week in the outbreak of Salmonella linked to Marie Callender’s Frozen Cheesy Chicken and Rice dinners. Attorneys at Marler Clark, the Seattle-based food safety law firm, filed the Salmonella lawsuit in Oregon District Court on behalf of Clackamas County resident Dave Smith.

Mr. Smith purchased the now-recalled product in Happy Valley, Oregon. Several days after consuming it, he began suffering diarrhea and body aches, which worsened over the next few days. In his illness, he fainted and hit his head, which caused his wife to call for emergency assistance. At the hospital, he was given stitches for his head wound, and admitted for care of his illness. He remained hospitalized for several days, during which time tests came back positive for the outbreak strain of Salmonella. He was released from the hospital with the direction that he not return to work immediately. He continues to recover from his illness.

At least 30 people in 15 states have been sickened with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Chester. State and Federal health authorities linked the illnesses to Marie Callender’s frozen Cheesy Chicken and Rice dinner by questioning both ill and well persons about what they ate. The Minnesota Department of Heath (MDH) subsequently found Salmonella in an unopened box of the product retrieved from a victim’s home.

“It astonishes me that a company as smart and successful as ConAgra can still put out press admonishing consumers to cook deadly pathogens out of a product,” said Mr. Smith’s attorney, food safety advocate Bill Marler. “Not only is that not the consumer’s responsibility, but it also takes away from what is the most important message for ConAgra to spread, which is that people may have these dinners in their freezers at home and not be aware of the recall. In the Salmonella outbreak in ConAgra frozen pot pies, many people were sickened after the recall. ConAgra needs to focus on retrieving the product, not on finger-wagging at their customers.”