More Families File Lawsuits over E. coli Poisoning


WOOSTER, OH — Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally known for its representation of victims of food-borne illness, and Maury Tepper, a well-respected Cincinnati attorney, today filed two new lawsuits against King Garden Restaurant on behalf of victims of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Lawsuits were filed on behalf of the Nussbaum and Welty families. Jennifer Nussbaum and her sons, Jacob and Aaron Saal, and Ashley and Breanne Welty contracted E. coli O157:H7 after eating at King Garden in September. One of the children, Ashley Welty, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). She suffered kidney failure, was on dialysis for ten days and was hospitalized for a total of 23 days. She is at risk of severe kidney damage and the possibility of kidney transplantation.

The lawsuits claim that the plaintiffs suffered damages as a direct result of consuming food product produced and sold by King Garden Restaurant. The complaints, which were filed at the Wayne County courthouse, cited health inspection reports from September, 2001 through September, 2002 which detailed multiple health code infractions by King Garden management and employees.

“We are suing based on the rule of strict liability, which states that the restaurant had a duty to prepare, serve and sell food fit for human consumption,” said William Marler, attorney for the victims. “King Garden did not adhere to this rule, and my clients became violently ill as a result. Looking at health inspection records, it was just a matter of time before an incident like this occurred at King Garden.”

Among infractions King Garden has been cited for in the last year are:

  • Risk of possible cross-contamination between animal products and other foods.
  • Improper holding temperatures for buffet items.
  • Improper sanitization of food-contact surfaces.
  • Dried food debris on cutting surfaces.
  • Rodent infestation.
  • Lack of proper hand-washing and hygiene.
  • Lack of hot water for hand-washing.
  • Non-use of hair nets or hats during food preparation.

Marler continued, “Many of these citations were made multiple times. Restaurant owners know they will be held responsible if their customers get sick. I don’t know why King Garden didn’t try to prevent contamination by correcting these problems in the first place, but since it has already happened, something must be done to compensate victims.”

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Background: Marler Clark has extensive experience representing victims of bacterial 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 the five families whose children developed HUS and were severely injured after consuming contaminated apple juice for $12 million. Marler Clark recently secured a verdict of $4.75 million against a School District in Eastern Washington for sickening children with E. coli contaminated food. Marler Clark has represented individuals and families in E. coli outbreaks tied to fairs in Ohio, Wisconsin and New York.

More about the King Garden restaurant E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.