Stop & Shop Sued over Child's E. coli Illness

QUINCY, Mass. -- Ahold USA-owned Stop & Shop here was sued by a couple claiming that their eight-year-old son became ill with a potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating ground beef purchased at a Stop & Shop in Manchester, N.H.

The suit was filed July 6 in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H. by Marler Clark, a Seattle law firm with extensive experience representing victims of foodborne illnesses, on behalf of Hercules "Eric" Tsirovakas and his parents, John and Christine Tsirovakas, of Epsom, N.H. The Tsirovakas family is seeking compensation for over $100,000 in medical expenses, as well as economic losses and Eric's pain and suffering.

After eating a hamburger made from ground beef bought at Stop & Shop at a family barbecue last September, Eric fell ill with an E. coli infection, eventually developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, which caused his kidneys to shut down temporarily, according to the suit. Eric will need to be monitored for high blood pressure and kidney failure for the rest of his life, the lawsuit said.

"We filed this lawsuit after months of trying to discuss with Stop & Shop how to make matters right for Eric and his family," noted Marler Clark partner Denis Stearns, who filed the lawsuit. "Medical bills aside, the strain on the family was enormous. John, Christine, and their other children faced the possibility that Eric might not recover from his illness. John and Christine were forced to leave their two younger children with family members while they stayed with Eric at the hospital. And all of this was because of tainted meat."

According to the suit, an investigation into the matter by the City of Manchester Department of Health and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services found that the Stop & Shop's meat department had employed unsafe meat-handling practices, and E. coli O157:H7 was discovered in uncooked hamburger patties made from ground beef purchased at the store.

In a statement, Stop & Shop said: "Stop & Shop follows all food safety regulations and guidelines and works hard to ensure that its meat is safe to eat. We also recommend all consumers follow safe cooking procedures and cook all meat fully before serving and eating.

"We do not believe that the meat was contaminated with E. coli at Stop & Shop and we will vigorously defend that position in court," the retailer said. "Our food safety teams will continue to work hard to ensure that we meet and exceed all regulatory guidelines and provide our customers with the best possible shopping experience."
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