Can I Sue a School for E. coli Food Poisoning?

E coli
Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria.

Yes, you can sue a school if your child has E. coli food poisoning and his or her illness can be linked to the school, whether it’s public or private. Your family’s food poisoning lawsuit can seek money damages for your child’s severe pain and suffering, and parents who have suffered financial loss, including lost wages, also have a claim and can seek compensation. Contact our lawyers at 1-888-377-8900 toll free or use our free consultation form.

Many of the little ones sickened in school-associated outbreaks develop a severe complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of kidney failure in children in the United States. We have helped many families win multi-million-dollar settlements and trial verdicts to help with the financial costs of this illness and to compensate the children for the severe pain, suffering, and in many cases, permanent disability.

If a Food Product Served at the School is the Source, Can the Food Company Also Be Sued?

Yes, if traceback investigations find the specific food product that caused the illnesses, the company that processed that product can be sued. In some cases, several corporations are legally responsible. Because these are big cases, it is important to bring as many companies as possible into the suit to ensure that your child is fully compensated.

Eric Hageman recounts his teams’ experiences handling school food poisoning cases, stating:

“In virtually all of those cases, the products were processed and prepared by third parties other than the school districts.  The primary responsible party was the food preparer or manufacturer rather than the school district.  In those cases, product liability laws apply and, although the school was responsible for serving the food, the primary wrongdoer and therefore primary asset holder to focus upon was the ‘upstream’ entity responsible for the original contamination.”


School Food Poisoning Outbreak and E. coli Lawsuit Information

School District Sued for Student Illnesses

Attorneys at Pritzker Hageman represented several children who were sickened while attending the same elementary school. Our investigation found that the illnesses were caused by processed meat, and that processor was added to the lawsuit. Our efforts resulted in money settlements for the sickened children and their parents.

“When there are several cases linked to the same school, the outbreak was most likely caused by food served at the facility, or in connection with a field trip, for example, a visit to a petting zoo.”

Attorney Eric Hageman

It is not necessary for the source of the illnesses to be found before a lawsuit is filed. The statistical evidence is generally sufficient to win a settlement.

E. coli-HUS from Lettuce Served at a University Cafeteria

E. coli Lawsuit

One of our clients was a student at a university when she developed an E. coli infection. She suffered severe abdominal pain, hypertension, and colitis. She then developed HUS, which caused her kidneys to fail. She hired Pritzker Hageman’s food safety attorneys to represent her.

Our team of E. coli lawyers gathered evidence proving her illness was caused by contaminated lettuce she had eaten at a university cafeteria. After the traceback investigation found the processor, our lawyers sued that company and won a large settlement for our client.

Alameda Montessori Outbreak

An outbreak at the Montessori of Alameda in 2015 sickened 5 preschoolers and one adult, all of whom have laboratory-confirmed Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), according to the Multnomah County Health Department. Three of the people sickened were typed and had the O157 strain. One child has been hospitalized. All of the confirmed cases occurred in one classroom at the school, and the likely source is an I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter product. Our law firm filed a lawsuit against The SoyNut Butter Company on behalf of a child who contracted E. coli and HUS after eating this product at the daycare center.

I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter Outbreak

People in 9 states were sickened in a 2015 E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter products: Arizona, California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The people who were sickened, several of them children, ate either I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter at home, attended a facility that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter, or attended a childcare center that served I.M. Healthy brand SoyNut Butter and I.M. Healthy brand granola coated with SoyNut Butter. Contact us for help: 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). Our lawyers filed lawsuits and obtained settlements for clients.

Raw Milk Can Be Deadly

Because raw milk is not pasteurized (heated to kill bacteria), deadly bacteria can grow in it. One sip can kill. There have been many outbreaks linked to raw milk and cheese made from it. In one outbreak, a mother brought raw milk to a class celebration and many of the children got sick.

Food Safety Law

These lawsuits depend on the state in which the case is being filed. Most states have food codes that are variations on the FDA food code. It addresses the safety and protection of food offered at retail stores and in food-service establishments, for example a cafeteria.  According to the FDA:

“The food code assists food control jurisdictions at all levels of government by providing them with a scientifically sound technical and legal basis for regulating the retail and food service segment of the industry.  Regulators use the FDA food code (FC) as a model to develop or update their own safety rules and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy.”

Attorney Eric Hageman added:

“Most importantly, in most states, a food product is considered a “product” for purposes of strict liability. This means that if food is served in an adulterated state it is per se defective, meaning that the preparer or server of such food is liable regardless of how or when the food was actually contaminated.”

You can contact Eric and his team of lawyers for a free consultation at 1-888-377-8900. Eric and his team have represented countless victims of food poisoning and understand the details associated with these lawsuits.