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Tainted Burger Prompts Suit

Madison County Boy, 12, Was Infected with E. coli

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

January 28, 1999

Rebecca McCarthy

Athens - Attorneys for Stephen Tyler Roberts, a 12-year-old Madison County boy who ate a bacteria-contaminated hamburger last spring, have filed suit against Bauer Meat, a Florida company that supplied meat to Danielsville Elementary School as well as to other schools and military bases in Georgia and North Carolina.

Athens attorney Ralph Powell filed suit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday for Stephen, who is represented by Powell and by Seattle lawyer Bill Marler. Stephen and his parents, Gary and Cheryl Roberts, are asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Like the children sickened at White Water park in Cobb County last summer, Stephen was injured by the same virulent strain of bacteria, E. coli 0157:H7, "and has been required to seek ongoing medical care and assistance to attempt to mitigate and minimize the ongoing damages suffered," the suit claims.

Health officials initially thought Bauer Meat was the source of the bacteria that infected children at White Water, said Marler, but that theory hasn't been proven. No one has yet determined how the E. coli arrived in the popular water park.

After the Roberts child, who has diabetes, ate the contaminated hamburger at school last April, he subsequently developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, with his kidneys temporarily failing, said Marler.

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