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Salmonella Outbreaks in Ventura County, California

Did you know that Brent’s Delicatessen & Restaurant has been linked to two dozen cases of Salmonella poisoning? Located in Westlake Village, the popular Southern California restaurant was described by Zagat as “the Cadillac of delis,” according to a recent article from NBC Los Angeles. However, reports of food poisoning from numerous patrons, along with the failure of the health department to alert the public to the possible dangers at Brent’s, has led to legal action.

Patient Files Claim Against Restaurant

An article in Food Poison Journal recently reported that Stephanie Wehr, one of the victims of the Salmonella outbreak at Brent’s, has filed a claim against the deli. After Wehr consumed food at the deli tainted with Salmonella serotype Montevideo, she became extremely ill. According to the victim, after eating a sandwich and potato salad from Brent’s last August, she started to feel ill the following day. The victim’s timeline fits with typical incubation periods for Salmonella infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To be sure, most people who consume food tainted with this dangerous—and sometimes deadly—bacteria begin experiencing symptoms within 12 to 72 hours.

Wehr reported “agonizing symptoms, including excruciating abdominal pain, uncontrollable diarrhea, high fever, nausea, and vomiting.” Due to her symptoms, she sought medical attention. However, she couldn’t keep down the antibiotics prescribed to her because of the nausea and vomiting. As such, Wehr ultimately was admitted to the hospital. By the time she entered the hospital, the victim had lost 10 pounds, and her heart rate was “nearly twice the normal resting rate for a healthy adult.”

Given her severe injuries, Wehr decided to file a lawsuit against Brent’s Deli. According to a report from LA Weekly, the victim is suing “for product liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.” Trevor M. Quirk from the Ventura-area Quirk Law Firm, LLP, along with Bill Marler, an attorney from Seattle who specializes in food safety, represent Wehr in her current case.

According to Trevor Quirk, the victim “took legal action because she wanted to make sure Brent’s did not infect other people.” As Quirk went on to explain to LA Weekly, “Ventura County told her she was the 12th confirmed case linked to Brent’s, and she knew Brent’s was still open. On top of that, Stephanie is a nurse practitioner, and she could have infected other people.”

Food Safety Violations at the Establishment

Restaurants are required to abide by health laws and to pass inspections. However, the Ventura County Health Department discovered a variety of “stomach-churning major violations of the California Retail Food Facilities Law and the Sherman Food and Drug Law” when it inspected Brent’s Deli. Some of the violations in its report included the following:

  • – Improper food storage temperatures
  • – Lack of hand-washing among employees
  • – Food being stored on the floor
  • – Food being stored in containers “not approved for food storage”
  • – Flies inside the facility and
  • – Unclean and unsanitary equipment

Why didn’t officials from the Ventura County Health Department warn the public about the serious violations at Brent’s Deli? At least one of the victims infected with Salmonella ate at the restaurant and became ill after health officials knew about the problems at the facility. According to Marler, the Ventura County officials didn’t fulfill their obligations to the public. The first victim developed symptoms in April of 2014, with additional cases occurring in June, July, and August of 2014 for a total of nearly two dozen infections.

Contact an Experienced Food Poisoning Lawyer

If you have experienced injuries linked to Salmonella infection or another type of food poisoning, you should discuss your case as soon as possible with an experienced Ventura personal injury attorney. Trevor M. Quirk is dedicated to helping Ventura residents, and he has substantial experience with personal injury claims. Contact the Quirk Law Firm, LLP today to discuss your case.

This Blog Was Provided By:

Quirk Law Firm, LLP

4222 Market Street, Suite C
Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 805-650-7778

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