A nasty outbreak in the Northeast of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 has brought a third lawsuit against Massachusetts-based State Garden Inc., which produced the organic spinach and spring mix blend bagged salads linked to the outbreak. Sanborn, NY residents Erica and Beth Duerr filed suit against State Garden Tusday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York for damages in excess of $75,000 exclusive of costs. Since Wegmans first recalled the 5 oz. and 11 oz. packages of the organic spinach and spring mix, the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 has spread to five states with 28 sickened and ten hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Erica Duerr, 32, and her mother-in-law Beth, 60, are both employed by DeGraff Memorial Hospital. Erica is a registered nurse, and Beth works in the hospital’s records department. The two women ate salads made from the spinach and spring salad mix over the weekend of Oct. 19-20 that were purchased at the Wegmans in Amherst, NY on Oct. 18. Erica began experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection on or about Oct. 22, including gastrointestinal pain, nausea, abdominal cramps and worsening diarrhea. Unable to nurse or care for her newborn baby, Beth began to assist in the care of both her daughter-in-law and the baby. On October 23, however, Beth’s husband took her to the Emergency Room at DeGraff Memorial Hospital, where she received intravenous fluids for dehydration, a CT scan and was diagnosed with colitis. Her husband wanted her admitted, but she was discharged from the ER. He brought her back to the ER later that same day. “While there, she delivered a stool sample for testing and received additional intravenous fluids to treat dehydration, as well as Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic and an anti-spasmodic medication to help her cope with the extreme abdominal pain.” The complaint says Erica was discharged from the ER once again, but her extreme symptoms continued. On or about Oct. 27, Beth began experiencing severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal cramps and other gastrointestinal symptoms. She remained in bed on Oct. 28 and 29, unable to eat or keep even liquids down. Beth was taken to the ER on Oct. 29, 2012, where she learned that her daughter in law’s stool sample was positive for E. coli O157:H7. Erica learned she had tested positive for O157 earlier the same day and told to discontinue taking the antibiotic. Over many days the two women experienced a gradual resolution of their symptoms. Marler Clark and Underberg & Kessler, two law firms that have worked together since 2002 for victims of foodborne illness outbreaks, represent the two New York women. They’ve represented hundreds of victims of Salmonella, E. coli and other food illness outbreaks. “E coli wreaked havoc on what was suppose to be a special time for this family that had just welcomed a second child and grandchild,” said William Marler, managing partner of Seattle-based Marler Clark, which underwrites Food Safety News. “Erica Duerr was unable to provide many of her two-week old baby’s needs, not to mention those of her four-year-old. Paul Nunes, a partner in Rochester-based Underberg & Kessler LLP, added: “Suppliers of pre-washed salad greens should have testing procedures in place so contaminated product does not make it to grocery store shelves. More should be done to prevent E. coli outbreaks like this one from happening.” While E. coli O157:H7 is a pathogen that originates in the intestinal tracts of cattle, the complaint lists 18 outbreaks in the last 20 years involving fresh lettuce or spinach that were contaminated with the bacteria. The five states involved with the outbreak strain in the State Garden outbreak include: Connecticut (2), Massachusetts (2), New York (22), Pennsylvania (1) and Virginia (1). Excluding Connecticut, Wegmans has retail outlets in four of the five states. It also does business in Maryland and New Jersey. In its Nov. 2 recall announcement, Chelsea, MA-based State Garden said its Organic Spinach with Spring Mix blend (Club Pack) was distributed to Wegmans retail stores in New York State. State Garden has not commented on the lawsuits .