Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Book Gives Tribute to Bill Marler

Last week, I tweeted about Poison, the book that describes the 1993 E. coli outbreak and features the story of one of our Visiting Professors, Bill Marler as the attorney for the victims.

Another book that credits Bill, Denis Stearns, and the Marler Clark firm was just released.  Ben Hewitt published “Making Supper Safe: One Man's Quest to Learn the Truth about Food Safety.”

Quoting from Hewitt's book:
It is safe to say that Marler Clark is the most prominent and successful foodborne-illness litigation firm in the world, and it is safe to say that Bill Marler is the most experienced and knowledgeable foodborne-illness attorney at his firm. Ergo, and no one I’ve spoken with disputes this, Bill Marler is the leading foodborne-illness litigator on earth. If you are sickened by a pathogenic bacteria in food, believe that you can prove your case, and furthermore would like to be handsomely compensated for your suffering, you should probably give bill a call.
Bill Marler's comment on his Food Poison Journal blog:  "Honestly, it is sad to say - and, why you need to read these books - that a lawyer can become the - "leading foodborne-illness litigator on earth.'"

There will be lots to talk about when Bill returns to Fayetteville this fall to teach our food safety litigation condensed course.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Work of Visiting Professor, Bill Marler Featured in New Book: Poisoned

For the past two years, the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law has been honored to have nationally recognized food safety attorney, Bill Marler, associated with our food safety studies.

Last year, Bill and his partner at Marler Clark, Denis Stearns, offered a special condensed course, Unsafe Foods & Product Liability, and we are delighted to announce that we will again be able to offer this excellent class this coming fall semester.

Bill's current work in advocating for improved food safety in the U.S. and abroad is frequently in the media.  He is often credited with aiding in the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as his advocacy for food safety reform and greater FDA accountability has been well documented.  He has been warning of the dangers of new deadly strains of E. coli for years, petitioning the USDA for additional testing long before the recent outbreak in Germany.  His online newspaper, Food Safety News, is the go-to source of current food safety news and information, and he actively maintains a number of informative food safety blogs, including the Marler Blog.  He is a regular face on Twitter -  that is actually how I first met him.  Just this morning he tweeted and blogged about a new case that Marler Clark is bringing on behalf of the family of an Ohio woman who died of Salmonella poisoning.

How did Bill Marler become such a force majeure in food safety law?  When did we first begin to worry about E. Coli outbreaks and begin to recraft our food safety system?  A new book tells the story.

Poisoned, The True Story of the Deadly E. Coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat by Jeff Benedict was released last month, and it has received excellent reviews.  The book tells the story of the 1993 E. coli outbreak at the Seattle, Washington Jack in the Box fast food hamburger restaurant.  Seven-hundred and fifty children were poisoned and four died.

Before that tragic incident, few in the public had ever even heard of E. coli, the CDC did not list is as a reportable disease, and only a few food scientists and public health officials recognized its risk.  Afterwards, there were Congressional hearings, a change in USDA inspection regulations, and a new awareness among consumers.

Bill Marler was the young attorney who sued Jack in the Box, and that case gave rise to Marler Clark as the nation's first law firm dedicated to representing victims of serious food borne illness.  Poisoned is the story of the victims of the Jack in the Box food poisoning outbreak, but it is also the story of Bill Marler and the beginnings of a passion for food safety that would become his life's work.  It is a fascinating and compelling read.  For consumers, it is eye-opening and thought provoking.  For our LL.M. candidates and our alumni who have had a chance to meet Bill Marler, it is a reminder that we are very fortunate to have him on our faculty.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Congratulations to the LL.M. Class of 2011

The LL.M. class of 2011 was our largest class, with nineteen candidates from nine different states and three foreign countries. They were a fantastic group, diverse in perspective, but united in their interest in learning the complex laws associated with agricultural production and our overall food system. We will miss having them with us, but are proud to welcome them into the ranks of our alumni. Here are some pictures of our celebratory dinner and a few from graduation.  I will post more as they come in.  And, I will be posting in the coming days about some of the interesting work that these extraordinary attorneys will be doing with their specialized education.  Congratulations, all!

Dinner at the GreenHouse Grille

Rich and Jackie Burnett and future LL.M. candidate, Spencer. 

After dinner pictures
Kerri Boling receives her hooding from Professor Mary Beth Matthews

Maxim Gubarev walks across the stage to receive his LL.M. diploma


Dean Nance and I congratulate Ben Thomas

Allison Waldrip receiving her degree from her father, Mark Waldrip, an alumnus of the US School of Law and a current member of the UA Board of Trustees

Alexandra Gaintseva & Maxim Gubarev with me after the ceremony