Moultrie family files suit over e-coli tainted meat - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Moultrie family files suit over e-coli tainted meat

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

July 21, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  A South Georgia family filed a lawsuit Monday over that e-coli outbreak in Moultrie.

The suit names Nebraska Beef Limited, the apparent source of contaminated beef sold at a Moultrie restaurant. The suit was on behalf of Evelyn and John Stewart who got sick after eating at The Barbeque Pit in June.

The 72 year old Mrs. Stewart remains hospital with infection complications and her family says medical bills are expected to reach three quarters of million dollars. Tonight, our investigation shows this isn't the first time the Nebraska company has been sued over e-coli tainted beef.

Evelyn Stewart, Faye Bryant, and another patient struggle to recover from the e-coli bacteria that put them in intensive care at Archbold Memorial Hospital. Their recovery process for Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome or HUS is slow, with good and bad days as they attempt to recover from essentially being poisoned.

"What happens is the toxin gets into your blood stream and it irritates the inside of your blood vessels so you make lots of little blood clots and your platelets go down," said Dr. Craig Smith Infectious Diseases Specialist.

As Stewart's body continues to fight the infection, her family has launched another fight against the company who supplied beef to the Barbeque Pit in Moultrie, Nebraska Beef Limited.

"The bottom line for us is Nebraska Beef has the opportunity and the obligation to make sure that this nasty bug is not on the meat that they sell to the public," said Attorney Bill Marler Esq., Marler Clark LLP PS of Seattle, Washington.

Marler is no stranger to food-borne illness, he filed the class action lawsuit against ConAgra Foods after that Sylvester Peanut Butter Salmonella outbreak last year. Marler told WALB News 10 that this isn't his first suit against Nebraska Beef.

"We sued Nebraska Beef based on a 2006 church supper up in upstate Minnesota, that killed a woman and put another in the hospital for months we sued on both those ladies behalves and interestingly Nebraska beef has cross claimed against the church," said Marler.

That case is still unresolved. Marler urges tougher legislation to prevent these illnesses, keeping people out of ICU. In Stewart's case, she continues to fight for her life, having undergone dialyses and plasma replacements and a seizure that stopped her breathing.

"It can take weeks to months to recover," said Smith.

That's why they're asking Nebraska Beef to step up and help pay medical expenses that are expected to cost the family three quarters of a million dollars.

Infectious Disease Specialists say adults who contract HUS often have a more difficult time than children overcoming the disease.

The mortality rate for an adult can be has high as 15 percent.

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