Marler Clark, E. coli victims sue BJ’s Wholesale Club for $25 MillionORANGEBURG, NY—Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm nationally known for its representation of food-borne illness victims, and Underberg & Kessler, a well-respected Rochester, New York law firm, are representing the families of Katelyn Koesterer (age 6) and Christina Graff (age 12). The two children were made violently ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections after consuming ground beef purchased at the West Nyack BJ’s store in May 2002. Complaints were served today on attorneys for BJ’s alleging that BJ’s sold E. coli contaminated ground beef and that it should be held strictly liable for the sale of hamburger that was contaminated with a deadly pathogen and that was unfit for human consumption.
The lawsuits are based on the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and New York Food Regulations, and seek compensation for past and future medical-related expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The suits also seek punitive damages.
“The ground beef consumed by these children was contaminated with deadly fecal bacteria,” said William Marler, attorney for the children. “I’m not aware of any act, law or regulation that allows for the sale of a product so injurious to human health. We are suing because these little girls suffered tremendously, and they deserve to be compensated for what they went through. We are also filing suit because BJ’s refused to pay these kids’ medical bills. Frankly, I find that heartless.”
“This is not the first time BJ’s has sold meat that poisoned its customers,” continued Marler. In 1999, health officials in the North Eastern United States tied E. coli O157:H7 illnesses to ground beef patties sold at BJ’s. “We are also asking for punitive damages because BJ’s management needs to know how a jury of 12 consumers feels about two children being poisoned in a second outbreak. A jury will not tolerate BJ’s turning a blind eye and putting consumers at risk.”
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