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Illinois Personal Injury Lawsuit Filed After Mass Food Poisoning at Haven Middle School

Libertyville 3/08/2011 11:18 PM GMT (WooEB)

According to the Evanston Illinois Health Department, parents and teachers were food poisoned at Haven Middle School. The first personal injury lawsuit was filed by Beatrice Jenkins with respect to the mass food poisoning and alleges Merle’s Smoke House was negligent and responsible for the food poisoning of approximately 30 people on February 16, 2011 after shredded chicken was served at a teacher and parent conference located at the school.

 The Evanston Health Department inspectors went to the Merle’s Smokehouse at 1727 Benson Ave in Evanston to take samples.  The Illinois Department of Public Health found the Bacteria Clostridium perfringes.  Clostridium perfringens food poisoning results from eating food contaminated by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens. Once in the small intestine, the bacterium releases a toxin that often causes diarrhea, cramping, nausea, headaches, gas, dehydration, severe decrease in blood pressure and other symptoms. Clostridium perfringens can be deadly to young children and senior citizens.

Some strains cause mild to moderate disease that gets better without treatment, whereas other strains cause severe gastroenteritis that can damage the small intestine and sometimes lead to death. Contaminated meat is usually responsible for outbreaks of Clostridium perfringens food poisoning. Some strains cannot be destroyed by cooking the food thoroughly, whereas others can. To prevent infection, leftover cooked meat should be refrigerated promptly and reheated thoroughly before serving.

A doctor usually suspects the diagnosis when a local outbreak of the disease has occurred. The diagnosis is confirmed by testing contaminated food or the stool of affected people for Clostridium perfringens. The person is given fluids and is encouraged to rest.

The food poisoning lawsuit was filed by Newland, Newland & Newland and Marlar Clark LLP. According to Gary A. Newland, a personal injury attorney representing Ms. Jenkins, “Illinois has had its share of mass food poisoning cases over the past several years and they have all been preventable.”  He is not sure if the increase in food poisoning is a result over stretched budgets on municipalities that lack funds for inspectors or insufficient enforcement of regulation. Gary A. Newland has indicated Newland, Newland & Newland is representing well over hundred victims of food poisoning at the current time and some have permanent injuries and all have suffered greatly because of irresponsible food handling practices. He has recently filed cases against Subway and Jimmy Johns and Mr. Newland has indicated that “it does not matter how large or small the restaurant is.  Food poisoning comes from the largest restaurant chains and local places.”

Mr. Newland has indicated restaurants must be required to maintain more insurance coverage for such issues as it not uncommon for insurance coverage to be less than 1 million dollars and that does not leave enough money to compensate victims of mass food poisoning where there can be hundreds of victims.

The vast majority of food poisoning cases go undiagnosed and the people are usually better in a week or so, but many people suffer their entire lives with the consequences related to restaurants, growers and food suppliers failing to follow health department guidelines. For more information, please visit http://www.newlandlaw.com/. 

Attorney Gary Newland is a member of the national attorney network on LawyerCentral.com.

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