CHICAGO, IL (Tuesday, July 24, 2007) – Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm that has represented thousands of victims of Salmonella and other food poisoning outbreaks, filed a lawsuit today against Iran Echo International Corp., the owner of the Pars Cove Persian Cuisine booth that was identified as the source of a large Salmonella outbreak at this year’s Taste of Chicago festival. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Kenneth and Donna Searcy, a Romeoville, Illinois, couple who ate food from the Pars Cove Taste of Chicago booth on July 2, and subsequently became ill with Salmonellosis.

According to the complaint, Kenneth Searcy became ill with symptoms of Salmonella infection in the late-evening hours of July 2, after the couple had visited the Taste of Chicago festival and eaten hummus shirazi, a fresh herb tomato cucumber salad over a bed of hummus, at the Pars Cove booth. Donna Searcy fell ill two days later, on July 4. The Searcys sought medical care on July 13, after learning of the Salmonella outbreak through media reports. Both Kenneth and Donna submitted stool samples, which they later learned had tested positive for Salmonella.

“This outbreak has caused a great hardship for the Searcy family,” commented William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Both Kenneth and Donna are registered nurses, and neither has been able to return to work since becoming ill nearly a month ago.”

As of July 23, the City of Chicago Public Health Department (CDPH) had identified 736 people who reported becoming ill after eating food purchased from the Pars Cove Taste of Chicago booth. CDPH reported that 124 Salmonella infections had been confirmed through laboratory testing, with 98 of those being identified as Salmonella Heidelberg, the outbreak strain. Thirty-two people were known to have been hospitalized. 

“With over 700 people sick, imagine what this outbreak will cost the Chicago area in lost productivity alone by the end of this month,” Marler added. “Pars Cove and its insurers should step up and start compensating victims for their medical bills and lost wages now.”

BACKGROUND: The attorneys at Marler Clark have successfully represented thousands of victims of Salmonella poisoning. The firm has represented victims of outbreaks traced to contaminated tomatoes, pastries, sprouts, cantaloupe, and other foods. In 2002, Marler Clark represented 70 victims of Salmonella poisoning at a country club in Rochester, New York. The firm represented 50 victims of the 2003 Chili’s Salmonella outbreak in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and 35 victims of the 2003 ammonia poisoning at a Laraway Elementary School in Joliet.  (See the Marler Clark News Archives for case news)