Dancer Paralyzed by E. Coli in Bad Beef Sues Cargill Inc.

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 08, 2009 12:50 PM

A lawsuit seeking $100 million was filed this week by a dancer paralyzed by bad beef. She is suing the agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. According to the Pioneer Press of the Twin Cities, Stephanie Smith, was 22 year old dancer from Cold Spring, Minnesota. E. coli in a burger patty she ate at a family barbeque left the dancer paralyzed and fighting for her life.

Ms. Smith's attorney is quoted by the Pioneer Press of the Twin Cities as saying: "Look at what Stephanie Smith went through, which is nine months of hospitalization, she's still in rehab to gain more strength, she's severely brain damaged, she can't walk, she can't have children, she's going to lose her kidneys." The hospital bills for Ms. Smith have already surpassed $2 million.

This particular lawsuit has gained visibility with the media and with the government because of the severe effects of E. Coli on such a vibrant, healthy, and young person. Ms. Smith's attorney told Pioneer Press of the Twin Cities, "What she lived for was to dance, and she'll forever be wheelchair-bound." After her story was told through media outlets, many people called for stricter food regulations to be passed through Congress.

Ms. Smith was a dance instructor who ate a tainted beef patty that her family bought from Sam's Club. The beef patties were supplied to Sam's Club from Cargill, Inc. Her mother also suffered from food poisoning, but she recovered. Ms. Smith was not as lucky. She suffered from seizures due to her food poisoning. Doctors put her in a drug induced coma for three months in order to save her life.

Cargill Inc. released a statement that read: "Cargill deeply regrets Ms. Smith's continuing suffering due to her illness. Each time Ms. Smith's family has asked for financial assistance to cover out-of-pocket and rehabilitation costs, Cargill has advanced funds to help her and her family. We will continue to provide assistance to maximize her recovery and will continue to work with her counsel to reach a fair resolution."

For more information about E. Coli and possible E. Coli contamination, please visit our Related Resources links.

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