And the litigation begins

Lawsuits against Nestlé USA filed in California and Colorado

Two lawsuits have been filed against Nestlé USA after people were sickened with E. coli O157:H7, believed to be linked to the company’s popular Toll House cookie dough.

Jillian Collins, an 18-year-old San Carlos, Calif., resident and Madison Sedbrook, 6, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., were both hospitalized after becoming gravely ill with E. coli contamination. The families of both victims believe their illnesses stem from eating raw Nestlé Toll House cookie dough. In each case, the genetic fingerprint of their tests matched that of the outbreak strain which has infected at least 70 people across the country. Both cases are being handled by Marler TollhousecookiesClark law firm of Seattle, which specializes in food-borne illnesses.

Collins, who filed the first lawsuit against Nestlé over the weekend, was hospitalized for a week at Stanford Medical Center after eating raw cookie dough on May 20 and 22. On May 25, she became painfully ill and suffered “abdominal cramps, nausea and bloody diarrhea” according to San Francisco Chronicle.

Sedbrook, who will begin first grade in the fall, suffered an even more dramatic bout with the pathogen.

“Madison was on the verge of kidney failure last month when doctors determined E. coli bacteria were the cause of her bloody diarrhea and vomiting,” Denver Post reported today. “The little girl’s blood had begun to clump, making it nearly impossible for her kidneys to function…”

“Not knowing the source of her illness, she continued to eat Nestlé cookie dough, and by the first week of May, she had abdominal cramps, fever, and bloody diarrhea,” Marler Clark attorney Bill Marler wrote in Marler Blog. “Over the next several weeks, the family sought medical care several times for Madison’s illness, which deepened in severity.  She was admitted to the hospital and then released before being rushed back and admitted to pediatric intensive care.”

Both Collins and Sedbrook eventually recovered, and both were able to attend school commencement ceremonies after their release from hospital.

Nestlé, in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, is investigating whether their product is the source of the contamination, and just how E. coli may have ended up in their product. They issued a full recall of 300,000 cases of the cookie dough immediately after being notified by the FDA of the possible link to their company, and have closed their production facility in Virginia while the investigation continues.

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