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St. Paul Family Settles Claim Against AFG and Supervalu

Three-year-old sickened after eating meatballs contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

St. Paul, MN --A settlement was reached today between meat manufacturer American Foods Group, Inc ("AFG"), Supervalu, a local grocery outlet supplier, and three-year-old, Sonja Pearson. The suit was filed after the toddler contracted E. coli O157:H7 and became violently ill in November 2000 after consuming meatballs prepared from hamburger supplied by Supervalu.

Due to her illness, Sonja was hospitalized for over a month at Children's Hospital in St. Paul. During her struggle, Sonja's kidneys failed, requiring 27 consecutive days of lifesaving dialysis treatments. In addition, she also developed peritonitis, an inflammation of the stomach lining and her internal organs. Throughout her hospital stay, Sonja suffered from persistent abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

With hospital bills in excess of $250,000, Sonja's condition has improved, but medical experts believe that, because of her illness, she has an increased risk of developing progressive renal disease, which can manifest itself in kidney failure, colonic stricture, gall bladder disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

William Marler, of the Seattle, Washington law firm, Marler Clark and attorney for the family, announced the settlement, the terms of which are confidential, this morning.

"We're happy that this case with Supervalu and AFG is now resolved and Sonja and her family can focus on the healing process," said Marler. "Moreover, we were impressed with both companies and how their lawyers handled this claim. We applaud their decision to step up and take responsibility for their actions."

Marler Clark ( has extensive experience representing victims of E. coli illnesses. The firm's attorneys are currently lead counsel in actions related to E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Hepatitis outbreaks in several states.

In February 2001, Marler Clark secured a $4.25 million jury verdict against a school district in Eastern Washington for a child infected with E. coli O157:H7 after eating contaminated beef served to in a school lunch. Marler also secured a 1993 settlement of $15.6 million with Jack in the Box for Brianne Kiner, after she was infected with E. coli O157:H7 during the highly publicized outbreak. In addition, Marler Clark resolved the claims of five children for $12.5 million in 1998, after the children were infected with E. coli O157:H7 by drinking Odwalla apple juice contaminated with the bacteria. For more information William Marler at 1-800-884-9840 or via e-mail at Visit for information on E. coli O157:H7.

More about the AFG / Supervalu E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.


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