A Michigan college student has filed suit against a Detroit meat-packing company claiming she developed a severe E. coli infection after eating tainted ground beef.
What's this co-ed's legal beef?
Finals Week Food Poisoning
As reported by NBC News, Rachel Tamminga's lawsuit claims that after eating ground beef manufactured and sold by Wolverine at a Michigan restaurant and one other location, she became severely ill and was diagnosed with an E. coli infection. Tamminga says her symptoms included bloody diarrhea and abdominal pains.
According to the complaint, after spending a night on her bathroom floor, Tamminga left school in the middle of finals week and spent six days in the hospital. Post-release blood tests revealed she was anemic due to blood loss, and the complaint alleges she "continues to suffer from weakness and gastrointestinal discomfort."
E. coli Cases
In Tamminga's case, she is suing Wolverine for one thing -- selling contaminated meat -- but using several different legal theories. That's not uncommon in E. coli and other product liability cases. Usually, these theories include:
- Negligence. This requires proof that the manufacturer failed to exercise due caution (typically measured by standards within an industry) when producing the food, and that their food caused you illness.
- Violation of warranty. Any time producers sell food, they are giving buyers a warranty, either express or implied, that the food is safe to eat. Proof that the food was contaminated is a violation of this warranty.
- Strict liability. Strict liability laws allow a plaintiff to prove the manufacturer's liability simply by showing that she became ill from eating the manufacturer's products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that 11 illnesses had been linked to the recalled beef, so there could be similar suits to follow.
- Michigan Woman Sues Over Massive Ground Beef Recall (CBS News)
- Product Liability Law (FindLaw)
- Dancer Paralyzed by E. Coli in Bad Beef Sues Cargill Inc. (FindLaw's Injured)
- Uh O's: What if A Recalled Food Makes You Sick? (FindLaw's Injured)