Bill Marler

Food Safety Advocate & Food Poisoning Attorney

Stephanie Smith - The 2007 Cargill E. coli Outbreak

In October of 2007, Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation recalled 847,000 pounds of frozen ground beef patties after they were found to be the source of a particularly virulent strain of E. coli O157:H7 that sickened 11 people.

Stephanie Smith, a 22-year-old dance instructor from Cold Spring, Minnesota, suffered the worst injuries of the victims of the E. coli outbreak traced to Cargill meat.  She developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which shut down her kidneys and led to such frequent seizures that she was put into a medically induced coma for nine months. She emerged from the coma with brain damage, paralyzed from the waist down.

A 2009 New York Times article by Michael Moss chronicling Stephanie Smith’s experience with E. coli won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. The article traces her hamburger back to the day it was made, looking at how it and other ground beef patties are produced. It also investigates the shortcomings of ground beef regulation that increase the risk of E. coli contamination.  The article spurred sympathy for Stephanie and raised awareness of the problems associated with beef production in the United States.

Bill Marler represented Stephanie Smith. He worked with Cargill to get her into rehab and pay for her medical expenses before her case was resolved in the spring of 2010.

Marler Clark also represented other victims of the 2007 Cargill E. coli outbreak in claims against the company.  You can read more about the Cargill E. coli outbreak and resulting litigation on the Marler Clark Website.

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