The Associated Press broke the story yesterday that a Wisconsin family’s E. coli lawsuit – one stemming from the 2006 spinach E. coli outbreak – had been resolved without going to trial. Dinesh Ramde, AP business writer, wrote:
The agreement was reached in October but not filed in federal court until last week. It still needs approval from a federal judge, which Marler said he is confident will happen.
The national outbreak in September 2006 was traced to tainted spinach produced by Natural Selection Foods LLC. Three people died, including 77-year-old Marion Graff of Manitowoc.
Of the 204 people sickened by the tainted greens, Marler said about 100 have brought a lawsuit. His firm is handling 83 cases and has resolved 51 within the past few months.
On September 14, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a nationwide E. coli outbreak had been associated with the consumption of bagged baby spinach. For fear of E. coli contamination, all bagged spinach was recalled nationwide, and on September 19, 2006, FDA announced that all spinach implicated in the outbreak had been traced back to Natural Selection Foods, a company located in California’s Salinas Valley.
FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 204 E. coli illnesses associated with the spinach E. coli outbreak, including thirty-one cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, 104 hospitalizations, and three deaths. Victims of the E. coli outbreak were identified in 26 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Wisconsin was the state hardest-hit in the outbreak, with 49 confirmed cases of E. coli. Canada reported one confirmed case.
A joint trace back by FDA and the State of California revealed that four spinach fields were the possible source of the E. coli contamination. The outbreak strain of E. coli was isolated from cattle fields nearby the implicated spinach fields, as well as from a wild boar that was killed in one of the fields.