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Jessica Smagacz
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Georgia part of the National Salmonella OUTBREAK

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Georgia is among the states that are part of a national salmonella outbreak. This outbreak has sent a dozen people to the hospital and nearly 400 people have been sick from the outbreak, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Federal health officials said 42 states have reported sicknesses from the same type of salmonella bacteria, making it as least 388 reports nationwide. Leading the investigation is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Right not they have not released the list of states or discovered which foods caused people to become sick.

Georgia health officials identified five people who became ill from the middle of October to the middle of December. One person was hospitalized but no one died.

Usually when someone is infected with salmonella, they develop diarrhea, stomach cramps, and a fever about 12 to 72 hours after the infection. The sickness lasts up to seven days usually and in most cases, people recover without treatment.

A horrible case of salmonella poisoning in Valdosta, Georgia occurred about a year ago with 42 year old Frances Parks. Frances Parks stopped by an Arby’s on her way to work August 25, 2007 and ordered a roast beef sandwich. She went back to the same Arby’s, taking advantage of their special sale and ordered four roast beef sandwiches. It was three days later when she began feeling sick. She experienced chills and nausea along with a fever and vomiting. She also had diarrhea. She went to the emergency room after having a temperature of 104.4 degrees, the Valdosta Daily Times reported.

Parks continued to vomit and have diarrhea that continued to worsen. Only after 48 hours she was able to eat but could not eat any solid food for the next three weeks. She had salmonella poisoning which weakened her digestive system, digestive tract and her immune system. Because of this sickness, she was “forced to take three weeks off of work.” Because of the time she had to take off work, enormous hospital bills, and months of sickness with no one taking responsibility, Parks contacted Attorneys C. Andrew Childers from Childers & Schlueter L.L.P. in Atlanta, Georgia and Eric H. Weinberg of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Both represented Parks and others affected by the outbreak.

The lawsuit was filed in state court the week of January 20, 2007 against Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. and Arby’s LLC. Beavers Inc., and Birg Inc., who owned the franchise, Globe Food Equipment, which supplied the “faulty meat slicer” and others were listed as defendants.

Parks is suing for negligence, nuisance, liability and violation of Georgia Code 51-1-23. The code states: “any person or entity who knowingly or negligently sells unwholesome provisions of any kind to another person, the defect being unknown to the purchaser, by use of which damage results to the purchaser or his family, shall be liable in damages for such injury.”

After investigation, it was discovered that the brand new meat slicer at Arby’s tested positive for salmonella. “The use of the slicer was immediately discontinued on Oct. 25 along with any food items that may have been in contact with the piece of equipment…”

Attorney Childers said, “The slicer was in place until Oct. 24. Arby’s continued using the contaminated slicer for two months with people getting infected the whole time, and they never even warned people that they might get sick from eating at the restaurant.”

See our past post: Lawsuit Filed In Connection To Arby’s Salmonella Outbreak.

Several other cases were filed by Atlanta Attorneys Andrew Childers and Richard Schlueter and New Jersey Attorney Eric Weinberg against five defendants, the Valdosta Daily Times reported on September 10, 2008: Arby’s Restaurants; Beavers’, Inc., Globe Food Equipment Company; an unnamed marketing firm; and an unnamed food supplier.

These cases were filed on behalf of Addie Brunston and her father Robby Brunston, Karen Diane Powell, Phillis and Owen Lindsey, Ronald and Patricia Tucker, and Lori Turner. All of these plaintiffs “contracted” salmonella food poisoning after eating at Arby’s between September and October 2006.

Even after the contaminated equipment as mentioned above was sanitized, it continued to test positive for salmonella! After another investigation, a piece of plastic attached to the handle of the slicer was discovered. It was not properly sealed with silicon before being released by the manufacturer causing it to remain contaminated.

Salmonella poisoning can lead to serious sickness. If you or someone close to you has salmonella poisoning, you may want to contact the attorneys at Childers & Schlueter, LLP to see how they can help protect your legal rights.