For those of you who read these fine pages of Food Safety News produced by Dan, Coral, Joe, Jonan, Cookson, and our many contributors on a daily basis for the past 10 years, I try not — well, at least not too often — to interject my legal side with my publisher side.
Here is an exception – Marler Clark needs help.
Well, more precisely, consumers of food around the world need help.
Since 2017 there been more than 500 people in the U.S. and Canada who have suffered E. coli O157:H7 illnesses linked to leafy greens grown in the U.S. Of these, nearly 200 have been hospitalized with 50 suffering hemolytic uremic syndrome (acute kidney failure known as HUS). There have been seven reported deaths.
Setting aside why outbreaks — no more romaining calm — are happening with frightening frequency and why so many of the illnesses seem so particularly brutal, the fact is that people, many children and the vulnerable, need legal advocacy.
So, here is my pitch: If you have been out of law school 2 to 5 years, send your cover letter, resume and writing sample to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You must be willing to relocate to Seattle.
I am not looking for someone who wants just a job. I am looking for someone who is willing to think of this not as a job, but more of a calling. I want someone who will happily work beside some of the finest lawyers, doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, paralegals, experts and staff in the food safety business. We are dedicated to our clients 24/7/365 and I expect applicants to feel the same. This is NOT a 9 to 5 gig.
I recently was asked to write a Forward to a book on food safety for someone I greatly admire. I think if these words do not inspire you, you do not need to send an application.
I never met Riley. However, I have a vivid memory after almost twenty-seven years of his tiny white casket flashing across the front page of the Seattle papers and the evening news. I remember the picture of Riley that Darin carries – a smiling toddler about to do mischief.
Riley’s life was a life cut short by a deadly pathogen that had been too long ignored by government and industry, and virtually unknown to consumers. In 1993 we all thought hamburgers were the all-American meal, not a recipe for death.
Riley and my daughter, Morgan, would have graduated from High School in 2010 and both been twenty-eight this year. For Darin, instead of twenty-eight years of memories and a future with a grown child, he has photos and videos of a forever young Riley and faded clippings of the public’s view of Riley’s agonizing death and the pain on his parent’s faces.
It is not without an anguished honor that I realize that the beginning of my life’s work is forever linked to Riley’s death and the deaths of Lauren Rudolph, Michael Nole and Celina Shribbs, and the devastating life-long illnesses of so many others caused by E. coli O157:H7, including Brianne Kiner, who was hospitalized for several months after Riley died a few hospital rooms away.
In the intervening years there have sadly been too many other Riley’s and Brianne’s. I have done what I could to help those families impacted by E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria and other foodborne pathogens. I have done what I could to change government and industry behavior by using the levers of the legal system. However, regardless how passionate I might be at times to be “put out of business,” it pales to what Darin Detwiler has done in the memory of his son.
As a lawyer, I have seen what can happen to a parent of a child that dies or has life-long complications caused be a pathogen like E. coli. Understandably, many never recover or simply cope by ignoring the pain. Few, like Darin, stare directly at the pain, embrace it, learn from it and teach us from it. Every word of this book written by Riley’s father carries a bit of Riley in every sentence, page and chapter. This book is important. Thank you Darin for writing it and thank you Riley for inspiring it.
No more to be said.
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