Utah child sues California spinach producer and manufacturer over E. coli illness


Wisconsin, Oregon plaintiffs amend complaints to add additional defendants.

SEATTLE, WA – On Monday, Seattle-based Marler Clark will file another lawsuit on behalf of a victim of the recent E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to contaminated spinach. The lawsuit will be filed against Natural Selection Foods, LLC and National Selection Foods Manufacturing, LLC in federal court in Utah on behalf of Murray, Utah resident Sheila Leafty and her young son, Brayden. Brayden is one of at least 14 Utah residents who have become ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating contaminated spinach produced by Natural Selection Foods.

Marler Clark also added both Natural Selection companies to two lawsuits that the firm filed last week in federal court in Oregon and Wisconsin against Dole Food Company. Health officials in those states have reported that at least 19 residents (5 in Oregon and 14 in Wisconsin) were confirmed to be part of the outbreak. On Sunday, the Food and Drug Administration reported that 109 individuals in 19 states, sixteen of whom have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (see www.about-hus.com), have been confirmed as being part of the outbreak. One Wisconsin resident died after suffering complications of E. coli infection.

“As the grower and producer, Natural Selections Foods should have been consumers’ first line of defense against E. coli entering the food supply,” said Bill Marler, attorney for the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits. “Instead, this company allowed contaminated produce to enter the marketplace and caused one of the largest fresh produce-related outbreaks in recent history.”

“This is not the first time bagged spinach has been traced to an E. coli outbreak,” Marler continued. Bagged lettuce and spinach were traced to E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in 2002,* 2003,** and 2005.*** “Consumers put their trust in the 31 brands that Natural Selections Foods supplied spinach for. They shouldn’t have to pay for their trust with their health.”

Marler, who is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week meeting with the families of several severely injured children with HUS, began representing victims of E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks in 1993, when he represented the most severely injured survivors of the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak. He has been retained by 13 people who were confirmed part of the current outbreak, and is investigating 18 additional cases in seven states. He has represented thousands of other victims of E. coli outbreaks.

You can also keep up to speed with Mr. Marler at his blog site, www.marlerblog.com.

More about the Dole spinach E. coli outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.