Seattle food illness plaintiffs’ law firm Marler Clark filed what it believes is the first lawsuit linked to the nationwide recall of 380 million eggs.
The firm initially filed Dzinovic v. L&K Tricoli LCC in Wisconsin’s Kenosha County Circuit court on July 22 against Baker Street Restaurant and Pub, which is L&K’s business name. On Aug. 18, the firm amended the complaint to add Wright County Egg, a Galt, Iowa, egg producer linked to the salmonella outbreak.
To comply with Wisconsin practice, the firm also named John Doe Insurance Co. and Jane Doe Insurance Co. — the unknown names of the other defendants’ insurance companies — as co-defendants, said Bill Marler, managing partner of Seattle-based Marler Clark.
The plaintiffs are Tanja Dzinovic of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., who claims her diagnosis of Salmonella enteritidis was linked to a meal she ate at Baker Street Restaurant on June 18, and her health insurance company Aetna Insurance Corp.
The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages. Their legal claims are strict liability for selling tainted food products and negligence.
Marler said the firm is investigating salmonella outbreaks linked to restaurants in various states, but the cause of the illnesses wasn’t clear until this week’s egg recall.
“We have about 30 [potential] cases that appear to be all linked to this egg recall,” Marler said.
The firm filed the first case in Wisconsin because four of the 26 individuals with confirmed cases of Salmonella enteritidis stemming from a meal at the restaurant retained it, Marler said.
“We knew the restaurant was a source, but we didn’t know what the common food item was,” Marler said. “There was no common denominator as to what they were eating, at least on the surface.”
During the next few days the firm will be “coming up with a different legal strategy to deal with the fact that all of these are tied to this egg company in Iowa,” he said.
“We may sue in federal court in Iowa and try to consolidate the cases,” for discovery purposes, Marler said.
Neither Baker Street Restaurant nor Wright County Egg returned call for comment.
Wright County Egg’s Aug. 13 voluntary nationwide recall involved shell eggs on three of its five farms. On Aug. 18, the company expanded its recall to include eggs from all five farms, or about 380 million eggs.
On Aug. 20, Hillandale Farms of New Hampton, Iowa announced a voluntary recall of shell eggs distributed to 14 states.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked 1,953 salmonella illnesses from May 1 to July 31. That compares with an expected 700 salmonella during the same period based on the past five years of data.
Sheri Qualters can be contacted at email@example.com.