Bill Marler, attorney, Marler Clark Attorneys at Law
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Firefly patrons who ate food contaminated with salmonella had to pay for their meals twice – once when the bill arrived and of course later, when they became seriously ill.
So what’s that worth in damages?
“What people are entitled to is their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering for what they had to go through,” says Seattle-based attorney Bill Marler, who is representing some of those diners.
“I’ve settled or tried almost 10,000 salmonella cases so I have a pretty good idea what the market is for those cases,” says Marler. “Most of them are in the $10-20,000 range. They go up based on the severity of the illness.”
Marler says there’s a slim chance that court findings will reveal that the outbreak was the responsibility of a distributor, and not the popular tapas restaurant.
“We know that this outbreak happened at Firefly,” says Marler. “If there any other illnesses of this particular genetic chain that occurred anywhere else in Nevada in the same time frame that we can say ‘this place got the same chicken as Firefly, this place got the same lettuce as Firefly.’ Then it becomes a different thing.”
Even though Firefly’s reputation has obviously taken a serious hit as a result of the outbreak, Marler has seen other restaurants bounce back.
“You know, Jack In The Box survived. It was tough, but they survived. Other restaurants who’ve had similar outbreaks reached out and did the right thing for their patrons, cleaned up their act, became activists in food safety,” says Marler. “It’s not a death knell. It doesn’t have to be a death knell.”