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Seattle lawyer in talks over Brook-Lea salmonella poisonings

Matt Leingang, Democrat and Chronicle

August 16, 2002

An attorney with a Seattle law firm that specializes in food liability issues came to Rochester on Thursday to explore a possible settlement with Brook-Lea Country Club in Gates over recent cases of salmonella food poisoning.

"I hope Brook-Lea shares my view that an early resolution in this case is in everybody's best interest," said Bruce Clark, an attorney with Marler Clark.

Brook-Lea's board of governors did not make a statement Thursday.

Clark met with the club's insurance carrier, One Beacon Group of Rochester, and Paul Nunes, a Rochester attorney with Underberg and Kessler, who is the Seattle firm's local counsel.

No settlement was announced.

There have been 97 confirmed cases of salmonella food poisoning from people in Monroe County and the surrounding area -- all of whom ate meals at the club.

An initial outbreak occurred between June 1 and June 18. The Monroe County Health Department then confirmed three more cases associated with a July 30 golf tournament.

The Gates Police Department, at the request of county health officials, has launched an investigation. Club officials say that they fear someone may be deliberately contaminating food.

Salmonellosis, usually traced to improper food handling, can cause severe abdominal illness that includes cramps, bloody diarrhea and high fever.

About 70 people are represented by Marler Clark.

One of them is 34-year-old Dave Cicoria of Greece, a disc jockey for a June 14 wedding at Brook-Lea.

Cicoria said he just wants to cover his medical expenses and lost wages.

"This is not about the money," he said. "I just want them to be held accountable, and I want them to clean up their act."

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