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Outbreak News

Three More Families Sue Park Over E. coli Outbreak

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

July 30, 1998

Virginia Anderson

Three lawsuits were filed Wednesday against White Water on behalf of three children who contracted E. coli there in June, bringing to five the number of suits filed to date against the Marietta water park. One suit was filed on behalf of Jordan Shook, 4, the only child who remains hospitalized from the infection. Her medical bills so far are about $ 350,000, one of her lawyers said Wednesday. The suit said Shook suffered a stroke and paralysis in addition to having been on dialysis for several days since her hospitalization June 18. While Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center upgraded her condition to good Wednesday, she is expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks for rehabilitation, lawyer William Lanham said Wednesday.

"This little child will have problems the rest of her life," Lanham said. The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages, including medical costs.

Joining Lanham in filing the suit in Cobb County State Court is William Marler, a Seattle lawyer who has settled several E. coli cases filed against Jack in the Box restaurants after a 1993 incident in which contaminated hamburger meat infected more than 600 people in Washington, California and Oregon. Four children died. In the case of one child who survived, Marler settled a case for $ 15.6 million.

Marler and Lanham also represent a Louisville, Ky., family whose 3-year-old son was hospitalized in June and July at Kosair Children's Hospital. Randy and Lisbeth Addison filed suit on behalf of their son, Matthew, who had two operations after contracting E. coli at White Water on June 17.

Lanham also represents a third family, Jeffrey and Linda Kirkland of Duluth, whose 3-year-old daughter, Summer, was infected with E. coli after a June 17 visit to White Water.

While Summer was not hospitalized, Linda Kirkland said she was at emergency rooms several times with her daughter over a two-week period. She said she wanted to file suit "to be safe and for her to be covered" in case Summer needs medical treatment in the future. White Water lawyer Tom Carlock said he had not yet read the complaints.

He said it is premature to discuss whether White Water would pay medical costs for all infected children, but he did not rule payment out.

"We're still in the fact-finding stage," Carlock said. "Our position is to do the right thing by these kids."

More on this outbreak: White Water Park E. coli Outbreak

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