Thursday, a federal bankruptcy court in Illinois finished paying $11.25 million to 27 people who got E. coli in the 2017 I.M. Healthy Soy Nut Butter outbreak.
While that sounds significant and averages $416,666.67 per person, the court-appointed evaluator put the gross damages over $69 million. Struck by lawsuits, the total product recall by I.M. Healthy and the FDA shutdown of third-party manufacturer Dixie Dew Products after several disgusting factory inspections, both I.M. Healthy and Kentucky-based Dixie Dew filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
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Those sickened, such as Florida’s lone victim, Manatee County teenager Lily O’Neal, wound up with around 16 cents on the dollar for their gross damages. Court documents say O’Neal spent 23 days in a hospital. Her mother told the Bradenton Herald she suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the E. coli-related kidney failure that can be fatal.
The evaluator assessed Lily’s gross damages at $2.9 million. Court documents say her medical expenses were $507,000. Her total award from the bankruptcy court was $470,026.
Food safety attorney Bill Marler, an E. coli expert who represents 20 victims in this outbreak, said via email Thursday night that sellers Amazon and Target, as well as suppliers Kehe and World Finer have been sued.