Attorneys Meet As Number of Salmonella Cases Nears 13,000
CHICAGO (AP) _ The number of reported cases from the nation’s largest outbreak of salmonella food poisoning neared 13,000 as 130 attorneys met Saturday to coordinate plans for handling lawsuits sparked by the epidemic.
The attorneys met in Circuit Judge P.A. Sorrentino’s courtroom to elect a 13-member steering committee for working out an orderly way to deal with punitive damages, class-action issues and claims proceedings against Jewel Companies Inc.
More than 75 lawsuits have been filed against Jewel, whose Hillfarm Dairy in suburban Melrose Park was the source of the tainted milk that spread the infection.Attorney Nicholas Motherway said many more suits are expected.
Illinois Inspector General Jeremy Margolis said Friday that 12,982 cases of salmonella poisoning had been reported in Illinois and five other Midwestern states, with all but 1,492 of them confirmed.The number of cases reported in Illinois alone is 11,803.
Two deaths have been blamed on the poisoning, and other deaths have been tentatively linked to the epidemic that began late last month.
In addition to Illinois, cases have been reported in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota.