The national food safety law firm Pritzker Hageman has filed the first lawsuit in connection with the E. coli O103 outbreak. The lawsuit, case number 6:19-cv-00106-REW, was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky Southern Division London on behalf of Melissa Carmicle, a Kentucky woman who developed an E. coli infection after eating ground beef. The lawsuit names K2D Inc., DBA Colorado Premium Foods as the defendant.
According to the complaint, Carmicle was hospitalized in early March and her kidneys began to fail. She was moved to the intensive care unit. After a stay of some days, she was released but began to experience seizures. She was transported by helicopter back to the hospital where she endured another lengthy stay that included time in the intensive care unit.
Her illness is one of 156 E. coli infections that have been identified in a 10-state outbreak linked to ground beef contaminated with E. coli O103. The states reporting cases are Florida (3), Georgia (33), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Kentucky (65), Minnesota (1), Mississippi (1), Ohio (8), Tennesse (41) and Virginia (2), according to the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention (CDC).
Half of the case-patients in this outbreak, who range in age from less than 1 year to 83 years old, are under 19. They reported onset-of-illness from March 1, 2019 to April 7, 2019 after eating ground beef at restaurants or after purchasing it at grocery stores and preparing at home.
Today, K2D Foods issued a recall for ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli O103. As part of its investigation of the outbreak, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has been collecting and testing samples of ground beef from grocery stores and restaurants where people sickened in this outbreak reported purchasing ground beef they became ill. A sample from an unopened package of ground beef collected from one of these restaurants tested positive for E. coli O103.
“Colorado Premium Foods holds itself out as a safe producer of meat products, claiming that it performs a 100% test and hold procedure for all of its ground beef products. Obviously, there was a massive failure in this process. We intend to find out exactly how so much adulterated ground beef made it to consumers, and why it took so long to get to the bottom of this issue,” said E. coli lawyer Ryan Osterholm of Pritzker Hageman.