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Salmonella lawsuits filed against Fern Hill Country Club

MT. CLEMENS, MI – Three lawsuits were filed Tuesday against the Fern Hill Country Club, the caterer whose pastries were traced as the source of a Salmonella outbreak among attendees at receptions held at the Macomb County Community College Performing Arts Center following two Donny Osmond concerts in April, 2005.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits are a 91-year-old Oakland County woman who was hospitalized for five days, a 46-year-old Macomb County woman who was hospitalized for four days, and a 36-year-old Macomb County woman who went to the emergency room and sought medical attention multiple times, but was not hospitalized. The plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm that has successfully represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness, and Michael Heilmann, a respected Michigan attorney.

“We have worked with Fern Hill’s insurance company to try to settle these claims for nearly a year now, but they have refused to make what we consider a reasonable settlement offer,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “My clients deserve to be compensated for what they went through.”

Investigators for the Macomb County Health Department determined that 23 people became ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection after eating éclairs served by Fern Hill Country Club at the two receptions following the Donny Osmond concerts. Eight individuals, including the three plaintiffs, were laboratory-confirmed to be ill with Salmonellosis, the illness caused by ingestion of the Salmonella bacterium.

“Salmonella causes a violent illness that leaves you not only with physical symptoms, but also with emotional distress that lingers for a significant time after the acute phase of illness,” Marler added. “Ask anyone who became ill after eating contaminated pastries from the Black Forest Bakery in 2002. They’ll remember it like it was yesterday.”

BACKGROUND: Marler Clark and Michael Heilmann together represented dozens of individuals sickened in an outbreak traced to Clinton Township’s Black Forest Bakery in 2002. Also in 2002, Marler Clark represented 70 people in litigation against a Rochester, New York, country club whose food was traced as the source of a Salmonella outbreak that sickened over 100 people. The firm has litigated Salmonella cases against such restaurants as Chili’s, Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse, Golden Corral, and KFC.

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