About E. coli

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About E. coli Blog

Dinner with Bill Marler, and Discussion of the Habaneros Outbreak

I recently had the opportunity to dine with Todd Frankel of the Post-Dispatch, as well as discuss the recent Habaneros E. coli Outbreak in Missouri. From Frankel’s article:

Dining with Bill Marler can be an unusual experience.
Marler, a Seattle attorney, is one of the nation’s top litigators of lawsuits resulting from food-borne illness. His clients include five of the six victims of the E. coli outbreak in August at Habaneros in Fairview Heights.
During a late meal recently at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Marler split a bottle of red wine and crab cake appetizer with Patti Waller, his firm’s epidemiologist. She had the sea scallops. He ordered a salad.

I haven’t eaten a hamburger since Jack in the Box.

Marler talked enthusiastically about his work, about helping people and “teaching companies why it’s a bad idea to poison people.” He peppered his speech with frequent mention of bloody diarrhea and cow feces. Fortunately, at that late hour, the restaurant was near empty.
“The level of trust we have toward our food supply, in my view, is unwarranted,” Marler said, taking another bite of his salad.

As I told Frankel, I was in St. Louis two weeks after the Habaneros outbreak was first publicized. I had been contacted by two of the victims’ families.
I’m hoping to avoid filing suit in the Habaneros case. I’ve been talking with the restaurant’s insurance carrier to work out payment for the victims’ medical bills. I estimate that the most seriously injured, Patty Timko, will have bills in excess of $250,000.

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