E. Coli Liable Parties in Oregon

Who Is the Typical Defendant in an E. Coli Case?

A defendant in an E. coli case most frequently is a grower, processor, wholesaler, or retailer of food products. Contamination can come from a personal kitchen, however, for example from a social host providing food to her guests. If a defendant is in the business of selling food, he can be pursued under a strict-liability defective product theory – contaminated food is a defective product. A defendant not engaged in selling food would be pursued using a common law negligence claim.

Is a Host of a Private Party Liable for Serving a Defective Food Product?

Only businesses – those entities engaged in the business of selling food products – are subject to the legal argument called strict-liability, defective-product. A host of a private gathering can, however, be held liable for simple negligence if he or she causes a guest to become infected with E. coli. In that case, the host’s home-insurance company bears responsibility for damages.

Could I Be At Fault In My Illness?

Statistically, contamination with E. coli is more likely to be found in the hamburger you buy at a fast-food restaurant than in the raw ground beef you buy at the market. But, not getting food hot enough in cooking, a major cause of E. coli poisonings, can occur in a personal kitchen as well as in a restaurant kitchen. In cooking, food must be brought to the killing temperature for E. coli bacteria – 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If your child falls ill after eating a burger that was undercooked in your kitchen, a defense attorney can argue that you as well as the supplier of the beef are at fault. He is allowed to try to split the blame, so that less blame falls on his client. This defense argument is called contributory negligence – that you contributed some, to your own illness. Although the contributory-negligence argument can be use, it cannot change the fact that any food contaminated with E. coli is considered to be defective.

More Information About E. Coli Poisoning

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