This week, attorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm taught a  Minnesota State Bar Association seminar, Personal Injury Series:
The Basics of Handling a Foodborne Illness Case
.  Brendan and Ryan represent victims of food poisoning nationwide. Currently, they are representing clients sickened by the following pathogens: Botulism, Cyclospora, E. coli, hepatitis A, Listeria and Salmonella.

“It is great for Minnesota CLE to recognize the importance of food safety.  We had a great time and hopefully provided some insight into what we do for our clients,” said Brendan.

Foodborne illness cases present a unique set of difficulties for attorneys representing victims of food poisoning outbreaks. Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm presented the basic concepts that lawyers need to know to successfully handle a foodborne illness case.

What is a Foodborne Illness Case?

During the seminar, Brendan and Ryan explained that a foodborne illness case is primarily a strict liability case that focuses on the product (the contaminated food) and not conduct. If the food is unsafe to a reasonable consumer, it is defective, and the producer (and possibly others) is liable (legally responsible).

Some legal issues a food poisoning attorney needs to address, include the following:

  • How do you prove the food was contaminated?
  • If an outbreak victim ate multiple food products at same time, how do you prove which was contaminated?

Who is Legally Responsible for a Foodborne Outbreak?

In many outbreaks, there is more than one company legally responsible for the outbreak, meaning those companies can be sued by outbreak victims for compensation.  Who can be sued depends heavily on state law, according to Brendan and Ryan.

Brendan and Ryan listed the following as possible defendants (companies that can be sued):

  • Food producer;
  • Shipper;
  • Intermediary seller;
  • End seller (restaurant, grocery store, large retailer like Walmart or Costco); and/or
  • Auditor.

The benefit of multiple defendants is that there is more money available for outbreak victims.

Attorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm can be contacted regarding a foodborne illness case or a media interview at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free) or by submitting our free consultation form (click here now).