A health department investigation revealed that cross-contamination from E. coli-contaminated ground beef to lettuce at a Wendy's restaurant may have been the outbreak source. Marion County Inspectors found several food-handling problems that likely resulted in cross-contamination. Among them were that food-preparation staff soaked lettuce in a compartment of a sink that was used to rinse bloody meat-juice-covered pans in which raw hamburger patties had been held, without cleaning and sanitizing the sink between uses.
Marler Clark represented fifteen victims of the Wendy’s E. coli outbreak, including children who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, in claims against the restaurant chain. The claims were resolved in late 2001 and early 2002.