On November 13, 2012, Marler Clark filed the first E. coli lawsuit against State Garden, the company that distributed Wegmans Organic Spinach and Spring Mix to Wegmans stores on the East Coast. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an Ontario, NY woman who became ill with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating the spinach and spring mix in mid-October. The law firm filed additional lawsuits on behalf of Rochester and Niagara-area E. coli outbreak victims on November 27 and December 4.
Wegmans recalled approximately 31,000 pounds of Wegmans Organic Spinach & Spring Mix sold in 5 oz. and 11 oz. clam shell packages at its New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts stores between October 14 and November 1, 2012 due to potential contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The recall was initiated after New York State health officials reported 16 E. coli cases associated with the consumption of Wegmans spinach and spring mix. Additional E. coli O157:H7 cases were eventually traced to the outbreak, bringing the total number of cases to 20.
On December 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the outbreak was over and that 33 E. coli cases, including 26 from New York state, that could be attributed to the contaminated salad. Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (3), Pennsylvania (1) and Virgina (1) all reported E. coli cases associated with the Wegmans organic spinach and spring mix.
At least 13 E. coli case-patients were hospitalized, and 2 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. Leftover packages of the salad from 4 E. coli case-patients' homes tested positive for E. coli O157:H7.
E. coli O157:H7 infection is characterized by painful abdominal cramping and diarrhea, which can be bloody. In a small percentage of cases, E. coli O157:H7 infection can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a complication that can cause kidney failure and central nervous system impairment.