An E. coli lawsuit, believed to be the first, was filed April 18, 2017 in the Massachusetts Superior Court against Chicken & Rice Guys, LLC by attorneys Brendan Flaherty and Ryan Osterholm of Pritzker Hageman, a national food safety law firm. Their client was diagnosed with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after allegedly eating food prepared by the restaurant chain that operates in the Boston area.
There is an E. coli outbreak associated with that restaurant chain. At least 15 people have been sickened in the outbreak, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. Illnesses began to be reported to public health officials in early April. Ten patients in this outbreak, which is a very high percentage, have been hospitalized because they have been so sick.
According to the complaint, on March 30, 2017, the plaintiff ordered lunch from Chicken & Rice Guys on the Peach App for a Rice Plate with Halal chicken, rice, pita, and lettuce. According to the lawsuit, the meal was delivered to the plaintiff’s place of employment in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where he ate it.
A few days later, which is within the incubation period for a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection, the plaintiff began to experience severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, which is consistent with this type of infection. He got sicker over the next few days, and went to his doctor. Lab results revealed he had an E. coli O157:H7 infection. The complaint states that the plaintiff was ill for several weeks and is still recovering.
Attorney Brendan Flaherty said, “Restaurants are legally responsible for serving safe food to the public. When that doesn’t happen and an outbreak occurs, a lawsuit can help pinpoint the suspect food that caused the illnesses and can obtain compensation for those injured in the outbreak.”
Chicken & Rice Guys operate several restaurants and some food trucks that operate in the Boston area, including Suffolk County. The chain has one restaurant in Allston, one in Medford, and two in Boston. All of the restaurants and food trucks were closed around April 11, 2017, when investigators decided those venues were associated with the E. coli outbreak.
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include severe and painful stomach and abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is usually bloody and/or watery, and a mild fever. If this infection is treated with antibiotics or if the patient is under the age of 5, it can develop into hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious complication that can destroy the kidneys.
The symptoms of HUS include very little or no urine output, lethargy, skin paleness, easy bruising, bleeding from the nose or mouth, and a rash. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible, since E. coli infections and HUS can be life threatening.
Pritzker Hageman, America’s food safety law firm, successfully represents people harmed by adulterated food products in outbreaks throughout the United States. Its lawyers have won hundreds of millions of dollars for survivors of foodborne illness, including the largest verdict in American history for a person harmed by coli and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The firm also publishes the E-news site Food Poisoning Bulletin, a respected source for food safety news and information. Pritzker Hageman lawyers are regularly interviewed by major news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the firm represents people harmed by pathogenic microorganisms in Legionnaires‘ disease, surgical site infection and product liability cases.