Civil Litigation –  A Tort  How it Really Works <ul><li>Strict liability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is their fault –  Period...
Strict Liability for Food –  a Bit(e) of History “…  a manufacturer of a food product under modern conditions  impliedly  ...
Who is a Manufacturer? <ul><li>A “manufacturer” is defined as a “product seller who designs, produces, makes, fabricates, ...
The Legal Standard:  Strict Liability <ul><ul><li>STRICT LIABILITY IS LIABILITY  WITHOUT  REGARD TO FAULT. </li></ul></ul>...
Why Strict Liability? <ul><li>Puts pressure on those (manufacturers) that most likely could correct the problem in the fir...
But, Litigation Can Work –  A History Lesson  Jack in the Box-1993 Odwalla - 1996
 
 
 
Odwalla
Petting Zoos <ul><li>Over Two Dozen reported outbreaks  in 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of children sickened - man...
Leafy Greens <ul><li>21  E. coli  outbreaks since 1995 with at least 1,000 reported illnesses and 7 deaths </li></ul><ul><...
Leafy Greens, cont.. <ul><li>Spinach - 25 lawsuits,  41 settlements thus far </li></ul><ul><li>Lettuce - 13 lawsuits,  8 s...
Imports - Hepatitis A <ul><li>Chi-Chi’s restaurant  in Pennsylvania –  660 people sickened,  4 deaths, 100 hospitalized, 1...
Salmonella Chili’s <ul><li>305 persons confirmed ill </li></ul><ul><li>9 hospitalized, and 179 sought medical care </li></...
Salmonella - Sheetz <ul><li>450 sickened </li></ul><ul><li>Tomatoes  produced by Coronet - family business operating for 7...
Salmonella - Peter Pan <ul><li>Salmonella Tennessee – 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>714 culture positive </li></ul><ul><li>Likely...
What is the Problem? <ul><li>Industrialization of our food supply? </li></ul><ul><li>Technological Advances in Surveillanc...
<ul><li>Free Market? </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation? </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation? </li></ul><ul><li>Criminalize? </li></ul>...
Restaurant Hospitality Magazine – July 2004 <ul><li>“ We don't have to tell you that operating a restaurant is a risky pro...
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Caused Food Poisoning with Bill Marler

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Marler Clark Managing Partner Bill Marler's presentation in London about food poisoning.

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Caused Food Poisoning with Bill Marler

  1. 3. Civil Litigation – A Tort How it Really Works <ul><li>Strict liability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is their fault – Period! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negligence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did they act reasonably? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Punitive damages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did they act with conscious disregard of a known safety risk? </li></ul></ul>
  2. 4. Strict Liability for Food – a Bit(e) of History “… a manufacturer of a food product under modern conditions impliedly warrants his goods… and that warranty is available to all who may be damaged by reason of its use in the legitimate channels of trade…” Mazetti v. Armour & Co ., 75 Wash. 622 (1913)
  3. 5. Who is a Manufacturer? <ul><li>A “manufacturer” is defined as a “product seller who designs, produces, makes, fabricates, constructs, or remanufactures the relevant product or component part of a product before its sale to a user or consumer….” </li></ul>RCW 7.72.010(2); see also Washburn v. Beatt Equipment Co ., 120 Wn.2d 246 (1992)
  4. 6. The Legal Standard: Strict Liability <ul><ul><li>STRICT LIABILITY IS LIABILITY WITHOUT REGARD TO FAULT. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The focus is on the product; not the conduct </li></ul><ul><li>They are liable if: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The product was unsafe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The product caused the injury </li></ul></ul>
  5. 7. Why Strict Liability? <ul><li>Puts pressure on those (manufacturers) that most likely could correct the problem in the first place </li></ul><ul><li>Puts the cost of settlements and verdicts directly onto those (manufacturers) that profit from the product </li></ul><ul><li>Creates incentive not to let it happen again </li></ul>
  6. 8. But, Litigation Can Work – A History Lesson Jack in the Box-1993 Odwalla - 1996
  7. 12. Odwalla
  8. 13. Petting Zoos <ul><li>Over Two Dozen reported outbreaks in 10 years </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of children sickened - many with HUS </li></ul><ul><li>CDC and other Health recommendations ignored </li></ul><ul><li>Dozens of settlements in excess of $1M. </li></ul><ul><li>Cause - refusal to see changing nature of bacterial threat </li></ul>
  9. 14. Leafy Greens <ul><li>21 E. coli outbreaks since 1995 with at least 1,000 reported illnesses and 7 deaths </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh or fresh-cut lettuce or spinach implicated as outbreak vehicle - 8 outbreaks traced back to produce from Salinas, California </li></ul><ul><li>In 2006 alone, Dole Spinach, Taco Bell and Taco Johns - between 400 - 750 ill </li></ul>
  10. 15. Leafy Greens, cont.. <ul><li>Spinach - 25 lawsuits, 41 settlements thus far </li></ul><ul><li>Lettuce - 13 lawsuits, 8 settlements thus far - damages will exceed Jack in the Box </li></ul><ul><li>CEO testified under oath before Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Cause - keeping animals away from growing vegetables </li></ul><ul><li>Recent outbreak in Hawaii </li></ul>
  11. 16. Imports - Hepatitis A <ul><li>Chi-Chi’s restaurant in Pennsylvania – 660 people sickened, 4 deaths, 100 hospitalized, 1 liver transplant </li></ul><ul><li>Bankruptcy </li></ul><ul><li>Settlements - $50,000,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Green Onions imported and grow “in conditions of squalor” </li></ul><ul><li>Important --- don’t be too focused on imports </li></ul>
  12. 17. Salmonella Chili’s <ul><li>305 persons confirmed ill </li></ul><ul><li>9 hospitalized, and 179 sought medical care </li></ul><ul><li>Restaurant closed for 11 days </li></ul><ul><li>28 employees tested positive for salmonella </li></ul><ul><li>Depressed sales in region due to bad publicity </li></ul><ul><li>8 months after outbreak, store closed for good </li></ul><ul><li>“ The investigation revealed environmental factors such as loss of hot water, loss of all water, the large number of ill employees at the facility, a general lack of hand washing and dish-machine sanitizer failure …contributed to/exacerbated the spread…. </li></ul>
  13. 18. Salmonella - Sheetz <ul><li>450 sickened </li></ul><ul><li>Tomatoes produced by Coronet - family business operating for 75 years </li></ul><ul><li>Bankruptcy </li></ul><ul><li>Millions in settlements </li></ul><ul><li>Since 2004 - two additional outbreaks sickening another 400 </li></ul>
  14. 19. Salmonella - Peter Pan <ul><li>Salmonella Tennessee – 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>714 culture positive </li></ul><ul><li>Likely 40 time that number </li></ul><ul><li>Plant had positive test in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>30 Class Actions, 100 other suits </li></ul><ul><li>Cause - 75,000,000 jars produced yearly at Georgia Plant </li></ul>
  15. 20. What is the Problem? <ul><li>Industrialization of our food supply? </li></ul><ul><li>Technological Advances in Surveillance? </li></ul><ul><li>Bugs are bigger, stronger, faster? </li></ul>
  16. 21. <ul><li>Free Market? </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation? </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation? </li></ul><ul><li>Criminalize? </li></ul>How to Solve the Problem?
  17. 22. Restaurant Hospitality Magazine – July 2004 <ul><li>“ We don't have to tell you that operating a restaurant is a risky proposition.  But if you want to ascertain just how sensationally risky it really is, connect to the Internet, swallow hard, and type www.marlerclark.com into your browser's address line.” </li></ul>

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