January 18, 2019

Lawyer Says Restaurant Responsible for E. coli O157 in Burger

At least 5 people in Michigan have been diagnosed with E. coli O157 after eating undercooked ground beef the last week of April. Three of them were hospitalized because they were so seriously ill.

Undercooked HamburgersThe likely source of this outbreak is undercooked burgers and other menu items. One man told WOODTV that he ate a rare burger about 4 days before getting sick. The incubation period for E. coli is usually three to four days, so the time frame is right.

“If a restaurant sells rare burgers, that burger should be safe to eat, free of any dangerous pathogens like E. coli O157,” said Fred Pritzker, a lawyer who represents people sickened by E. coli food poisoning. He and attorney Brendan Flaherty won a $4.5 million settlement for a client who contracted an E. coli infection from steak sold at a national chain restaurant. She developed a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome, and her kidneys shut down.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

“If there is sufficient evidence to connect an E. coli O157 infection with a burger sold at a restaurant, even a rare burger, the restaurant is legally responsible. Generally, this means that the restaurant can be sued,” said attorney Pritzker.

The confirmed cases of E. coli in Michigan are people who live in the Detroit and Grand Rapids area in the following counties: Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa, and Washtenaw. Detroit and Grand Rapids are about 150 miles apart.

The distribution of illnesses in the state suggests that the ground beef used for the burgers was contaminated during or before distribution to the restaurants, according to Pritzker. He has been an advocate for people sickened in most of the large E. coli O157 outbreaks in the United States.

“I have seen this pattern before, a few cases scattered in one state,” said Pritzker. “Now, the investigation has to focus on finding out when and where the meat was contaminated and if there are more illnesses in Michigan and other states.”

“Even if the specific source of the outbreak is not determined, the restaurants connected to the outbreak are legally responsible for any illnesses,” continued Pritzker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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