E. Coli Lawsuit Filed Against Topps Meat Co., Golub/Price Chopper

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- An E. coli lawsuit was filed yesterday against Topps Meat Co. and Price Chopper, based here.

The lawsuit was filed in Albany County Supreme Court on behalf of Albany County residents Darrell and Laurie Boehlke and their 8-year-old daughter, Erika, who allegedly became ill after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

Calls to Price Chopper seeking further information were not immediately returned.

The Boehlkes are represented by Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm that has represented thousands of victims of foodborne illness, and by Underberg & Kessler, an upstate New York law firm.

In the lawsuit, attorneys allege that Erika Boehlke ate an E. coli-contaminated hamburger produced by Topps and sold by Price Chopper on August 26, 2005. By August 30, she was ill with symptoms of E. coli infection, including nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Erika's diarrhea turned bloody, and her parents took her to St. Peter's Hospital in Albany on September 2, where she was admitted. The child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, and was transferred to Albany Medical Center on September 4.

She underwent eleven rounds of kidney dialysis, and remained hospitalized until September 17. As a result of her illness, the child suffered permanent kidney damage and remains at risk of future complications, including end stage renal disease. Left over ground beef produced by Topps and sold at Price chopper in the Boehlke's freezer tested positive for a strain of E. coli O157:H7 that was genetically indistinguishable from that isolated from Erika's stool, according to a statement issued by the attorney.

Based in Schenectady, NY, the Golub Corporation owns and operates more than 100 Price Chopper grocery stores in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The family-owned company prides itself on longstanding traditions of innovative food merchandising, leadership in community service, and cooperative employee relations. Golub's approximately 22,000 associates collectively own 55% of the company's privately held stock.

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