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Marler Clark Retained by Family of Deceased Listeria Victim

Seattle, WA – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced a Listeria outbreak in Western Washington which resulted in three deaths from an unknown source. Marler Clark, a law firm specializing in foodborne illness litigation, is representing the family of a victim in this tragic outbreak.

“Listeria is a deadly bacterium causing over 300 deaths in the United States every year,” said Bill Marler of Marler Clark Inc., PS.

Four of those sickened by Listeria were living in Pierce County, with one residing in Thurston County. Victims of this outbreak, two women and three men, were reported to be in their 60’s and 70’s. Of the Listeria victims that are known, 5 were hospitalized, and 3 died. Public Health officials are currently interviewing patients and family members to determine a common exposure. Genetic fingerprinting results indicate that these patients likely have the same source of infection. Patients became ill between February 27 and June 30, 2023.

What is Listeria?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacteria called Listeria. Washington state reports on average 10-25 cases a year. The consumption of Listeria contaminated food is the most common way people contract listeriosis. Following exposure, symptoms may develop within 3-70 days. Of those exposed, half will experience symptoms within 3 weeks.

Symptoms of Listeria include fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the central nervous system, symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

Who is most likely to get seriously ill from Listeria bacteria?

  • Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
  • Newborns
  • People with weak immune systems
  • People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
  • People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick from Listeria than people with normal immune systems
  • People who take steroids
  • Elderly people

What to do to avoid exposure to Listeria

  • Wash raw vegetables well before consuming
  • Cook meat thoroughly
  • Separate uncooked meat from vegetables and cooked foods
  • Wash hands, knives and cutting boards after exposure to uncooked food
  • Eat perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

Foods to avoid

  • Do not eat hot dogs or lunch meats unless they are heated to a temperature sufficient to kill Listeria
  • Avoid getting liquid from hot dog packages on other food
  • Wash hands after handling hot dogs and lunch and deli meats
  • Do not eat soft cheeses (e.g., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue cheese, and queso blanco) unless the label clearly states that they are pasteurized
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spread, only canned or shelf-stable ones
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, sometimes labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” or “jerky.” Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood is ok

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as lettuce, polony, deli meat, cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.

If you or a family member became ill with a Listeria infection and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact Marler Clark at 206-346-1888 or email Bill Marler at

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