McDonald's Franchise Faces Claims from Hepatitis A Victims

SEATTLE, WA - Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm with a long track record of successful lawsuits against food companies, filed a lawsuit today against McDonald’s in Skagit County Superior Court on behalf a woman who was sickened along with several other people with Hepatitis A from eating at the McDonalds restaurant on Riverside Drive in Mount Vernon, Washington.

During the week of February 16, 1998, this woman frequently ate breakfast at McDonalds as she was taking care of her dying mother, as the restaurant was located on the way to the nursing home. The restaurant was identified by the Skagit County Health Department as the source of a hepatitis A outbreak. She incurred $35,000 in medical expenses - none of which were aid by McDonalds.

According to William Marler, attorney for lady “contamination of food by infected workers in restaurants is one of the most common sources of outbreaks like this one. Hepatitis A infections are completely preventable through hand washing with soap and running warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. The thought is not pleasant but most Hepatitis A infections are the result of eating or drinking something contaminated by the feces of an infected person.”

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus is most commonly spread through contact with human stool. Symptoms include nausea, cramping, fatigue and fever. In young children these symptoms can appear flu-like, but in some cases do not appear at all. Symptoms most often begin two to six weeks after exposure and can last up to two weeks. These can include a lack of energy, diarrhea, fever, nausea, abdominal discomfort and jaundice (yellow color to the whites of the eyes or skin and darkening of urine). Young children may have mild symptoms or none at all, but are still contagious. In adults, the infection usually causes severe illness that can last several months.


Marler Clark has been involved in hundreds of cases involving food-borne illness. These have included the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak; the 1996 Odwalla E. coli outbreak; the 1998 Malt-O-Meal Salmonella outbreak; the 1998 Finley School District E. coli outbreak in the Tri-cities, Washington; the 1999 Golden Corral E. coli outbreak in Kearney, Nebraska; the 1999 Sun Orchard Orange Juice Salmonella outbreak in several western states; and, the 1999 Subway Hepatitis A outbreak in King County.

More about the McDonald's hepatitis A outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.