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Cargill Sued Over E. Coli Cases

Minnesota couple file lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. after their children became ill from consuming E. coli-tainted beef patties purchased at Sam's Club.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — An Inver Grove Heights couple filed a lawsuit Monday against Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. after their children became ill from consuming E. coli-tainted beef patties that were part of a nationwide recall.
In the lawsuit filed in Dakota County, Eric and Jennifer Gustafson say their 4-year-old daughter, Callie, was hospitalized for about a week in September with an E. coli infection and has been permanently injured from the illness. Their 18-month-old son, Carson, also became ill and is still recovering, the lawsuit said.
Both children ate ground beef Sept. 7 at a barbecue. The meat had been purchased at Sam's Club in Eagan and was contaminated with E. coli, the lawsuit said.
Wayzata, Minn.-based Cargill voluntarily recalled more than 840,000 pounds of patties sold by Sam's Club stores nationwide on Oct. 6 over concerns about E. coli infection.
A spokesman for Cargill said the company would not comment on the lawsuit.
In a separate Minnesota case, the widower of a Cass County woman who died in August 2006 has filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County against the companies that supplied beef that was the likely source of an E. coli outbreak.
State health officials have said that Carolyn Hawkinson, 73, was among 17 people in the Longville area who were sickened after eating at a church supper.
Stanton Hawkinson filed the lawsuit Friday over his wife's death, saying she died of complications from E. coli infection. He's seeking unspecified monetary damages from the companies that manufactured, distributed and sold the beef: Nebraska Beef, Ltd., of Omaha; Interstate Meat Services, Inc., also known as Falk Properties Inc.; and Tabaka's Super Valu.
Two couples also from the Longville area filed lawsuits Monday in Cass County over the same E. coli outbreak.
Gary Gordon, an attorney for Nebraska Beef, said many questions remain unanswered about the Longville E. coli case.
''For at least a couple of the claimants, there's a real question as to whether they even had E. coli,'' he said. ''There's also a question as to where this beef came from.''
The plaintiffs in both E. coli cases are being represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle-based firm that handles many food-borne illness cases.
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