Woman Files Lawsuit Against Meatpacker


Health department waiting on results of another E. coli case

A lawsuit has been filed in Eau Claire County on behalf of a 57-year-old city woman who became ill after eating tainted ground beef linked to a Green Bay meatpacker.

Rose Deede of Eau Claire was sick in November with the bacteria E. coli after eating ground beef bought at Cub Foods, said Milwaukee lawyer Michael Hanrahan.

The defendant is American Foods Group in Green Bay, which supplied Cub Foods with ground beef, Hanrahan said.

"We have not at this point sued Cub Foods or its parent, SuperValu," he said. "American Foods may be the only party we name as a defendant; we need to learn more about SuperValu's role."

Deede could not be reached for comment.

In addition to Deede, two other Eau Claire women, ages 58 and 68, and a 25-year-old city man have been sickened and hospitalized as a result of the bacteria linked to American Foods.

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department is waiting for state lab results to find out if a 47-year-old woman's E. coli case is part of the American Foods' outbreak.

She did buy meat from Cub Foods, said Kitty Rahl, the health department's director of nursing.

At least 43 people have been sickened by the outbreak; at least 36 are from Minnesota.

Two Minnesota girls, ages 2 and 6, remain hospitalized with a rare complication that can lead to kidney failure and death.

Deede became "severely ill" from the bacterial infection, with nausea, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and dehydration, Hanrahan said.

"Most women say it's like being in labor for four or five days if you have a good case -- or I guess I should say a bad case -- of E. coli," he said.

Deede's suit was filed as a team effort by Hanrahan's law firm and Marler Clark, the Seattle, Wash., firm that represented victims from the 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak.

People who bought ground beef from Cub Foods in November through Dec. 2 should return it to the store, Rahl said.

Freezing the meat does not kill the bacteria, she said.

"Our concern is that people have ground beef in the freezer and may not check the dates on it or remember when they bought it," she said.