Michigan Family Files $20 Million Lawsuit After Daughter’s Severe E. Coli Infection

 April 16, 2024

An 11-year-old girl's life was dramatically altered following a meal at a local Wendy’s.

In a distressing turn of events, a young Michigan resident suffered severe health repercussions, leading her family to file a hefty lawsuit against the restaurant chain.

Daily Mail reported that after having a meal at the Wendy's in Jenison, Michigan, Aspen Lamfers began experiencing significant health issues. Three days after consuming a hamburger, chicken nuggets, and fries, she developed symptoms indicative of an E. coli infection—nausea, diarrhea, and a fever ensued.

A Severe and Life-Threatening Illness Emerges

Aspen's condition quickly escalated, and she was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome—a rare but serious complication that can cause kidney failure and other severe health issues. The young girl was left with brain, kidney, and pancreas damage and suffered seizures along with paralysis on her left side.

Her treatment extended over four weeks in a hospital, which included stays in a pediatric intensive care unit and requiring dialysis. Her road to recovery continued with rehabilitation and ongoing therapies even after being released from the hospital.

Allegations of Negligence at Wendy's

The Lamfers family, distressed by their daughter's ordeal, filed a lawsuit against Meritage Hospitality Group, the owner of the Wendy’s outlet, claiming $20 million in damages.

This legal action highlights numerous health violations at the establishment, including reports of moldy food, inadequate hand hygiene, and improper food storage temperatures.

Health authorities' inspections in the summer of 2022 documented these violations. Following an initial inspection that uncovered 17 violations, the restaurant was briefly shut down for staff retraining before reopening. Unfortunately, further inspections revealed continued issues despite prior warnings.

Thomas Worsfold, the family lawyer, emphasized the gravity of the restaurant's alleged negligence. He stated,

If you look at those health department reports and just the hygiene and food safety practices by employees in that restaurant, you’re almost guaranteed there to be cross contamination. After being warned they completely disregarded it and continued business as usual and that’s what got Aspen sick.

Multiple Lawsuits Over E. Coli Infections

Hospital records linked multiple E. coli infections directly to the Wendy's location. The repercussions have seen Meritage Hospitality Group facing several lawsuits for the E. coli outbreaks during the summer of 2022.

The corporation has issued a statement denying any lapse in its food safety practices. A spokesperson for Meritage Hospitality Group conveyed, "We take the health and safety of our customers very seriously. We deny any wrongdoing or failure of our food safety practices in these cases. We cannot provide further comment in light of the open litigation."

As the legal proceedings unfold, Aspen's story remains a sobering reminder of the potential consequences of neglected food safety standards. The repercussions for Aspen have been severe, highlighting a personal tragedy and a public health concern.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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