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Chicago Food Claims and Litigation Conference 2006

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Title: PowerPoint Presentation Author: William Marler Last modified by: MarlerClark Created Date: 10/28/2006 12:31:26 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chicago Food Claims and Litigation Conference 2006


1
Chicago Food Claims and Litigation
Conference 2006 William D. Marler,
Esq. bmarler_at_marlerclark.com
2
Evaluation Tools For Small Cases
  • Health Department Investigation of the
    Outbreak/Incident
  • Causation - Liability
  • Medical Records
  • Lab Reports
  • Discovery
  • The Client
  • The Defendant, the Brand and the Publicity
  • Venue
  • See - Separating the Chaff from the Wheat How
    to determine the strength of a foodborne illness
    claim. www.billmarler.com

3
(No Transcript)
4
Lending a Helping Hand
  • My husband recently opened a bottle of salsa and
    smelled an unusual odor but chose to eat it
    regardless, thinking that it was just his nose. .
    . .

5
Lending a Helping Hand
  • After taking two bites and tasting rather badly,
    he found what appeared to be a rather large piece
    (approx. the size of the back of an adult's fist)
    of human or animal flesh.  Even though he didn't
    seek medical attention, he did become very
    nauseated. I do feel that the manufacturer
    should be held responsible for this mishap.

6
Enter the FBI
7
Strict Liability
  • Resistance is Futile

8
Pathogens
  • E. coli O157H7
  • Hepatitis A
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • According to the CDC, pathogens are usually
    transmitted to humans by eating foods
    contaminated with animal or human feces.

9
Jenny
10
  • 7 years old, ate at restaurant as part of
    birthday party for friend.
  • Vomiting, abdominal cramps, stomach pain,
    diarrhea, fever.
  • Admitted to Hospital for 2 days, blood culture
    positive for Salmonella, treated with IV
    antibiotics.
  • Out of school for 10 days.
  • Father, widower, missed work to care for her -
    800
  • Medical bills - 3,400
  • 29,500
  • VALUE?

11
Jacob
12
  • 4 years old, family ate at restaurant after his
    first T-Ball game, father away in National Guard.
  • High fever, stomach cramps, abdominal pain,
    bloody diarrhea. Fever topped 104 degrees.
  • Hospitalized with positive blood culture for
    Salmonella, treated with IV antibiotics.
  • Hospitalized for three days.
  • Mom missed 1 week of work - 660.
  • Medical bills - 3,309.
  • 30,867
  • VALUE?

13
Georgiann
14
  • Married for 24 years, lives with husband and two
    children.
  • Speech pathologist, works with children with
    autism.
  • In the midst of chemotherapy for breast cancer.
  • Had started chemotherapy in September.
  • Had been on medical leave from work for a number
    of months to confront the cancer.
  • Became ill just before Thanksgiving with HAV.
    Missed a large family gathering to celebrate
    Thanksgiving and her fight against cancer.
  • Acutely ill for four weeks.
  • Medical Bills 130
  • 52,000
  • VALUE?

15
Kim
16
  • 34-year-old single mother of two and grandmother
    of one.
  • Severe flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, and
    a temperature of 103 degrees. Jaundice. Acute
    HAV infection.
  • Professional entertainer who worked primarily for
    tips.
  • Works four nights a week and pays 100 nightly in
    rent for her workspace.
  • Estimates that she nets 500, on average, per
    shift, i.e., 600 per shift less the 100 in
    rent.
  • Missed 41 days of work.
  • Medical bills 459.96
  • Wage Loss 20,500.00
  • 54,000
  • VALUE?

17
Kyle
18
  • 14 year-old boy, lives with younger brother and
    parents. Suffers from cerebral palsy, a disorder
    that affects his body-movement and
    muscle-coordination.
  • In 2002, underwent a surgical procedure intended
    to repair improper bilateral growth of legs and
    hips. In a cast that extended from his upper
    waist all the way to his feet.
  • Family went camping after consuming hamburger.
  • Ran out of diapers and were forced to wrap him in
    towels and a large garbage bag to keep Kyles
    diarrhea from getting all over the car.
  • Three days hospitalized. E. coli positive. Ill
    for an additional week.
  • Medical bills 4,480
  • 99,000
  • VALUE?

19
Mary
20
  • 60-years-old, recently widowed.
  • Seen in ER after days of illness. Crampy,
    unrelieved by aspirin, and associated with
    frequent bowel movements. Pain was 8/10 and
    had kept her up all night.
  • Dehydration and pain, normal saline and morphine
    transfused intravenously. Doctors ordered blood
    and stool cultures, as well as a CT scan of
    Marys abdomen.
  • Colonoscopy, E. coli positive.
  • Hospitalized for five days, 1 1 ½ weeks of
    symptoms after hospitalization.
  • Medical bills 13,635
  • 88,000
  • VALUE?

21
Lou
22
  • Insurance executive, married with three children.
  • Attended golf tournament at a country club on
    June 10 where he ate a sandwich at the 19th
    Hole.
  • On June 12, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
  • Tried to play in his regular Thursday golf
    league. While on the fairway, experienced a
    sudden and severe bout of diarrhea, and was
    unable to reach the bathroom in time. This was
    both painful and embarrassing. Nicknamed
    Shitty.
  • On June 14, remained at home with nearly constant
    and bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.
    Shigella positive.
  • Unable to play in the traditional father-son golf
    tournament.
  • Acute symptoms slowly faded, but took several
    weeks before his stomach cramping, pain, and
    fatigue significantly improved.
  • Medical Bills 41.72
  • Wage Loss 340.16
  • 13,000
  • VALUE?

23
Bottom Line
  • Evaluation of cases is hard
  • It is an art, not a science
  • In a Strict Liability case, with Causation it is
    all about damages
  • Focus is on the facts of the outbreak and the
    injuries
  • Who has the best story to tell?
  • Who is most likeable?
  • Who is most trustworthy?

24
What Will a Jury Think?
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