Case Results

Parasites In Salad Found To Be The Cause Of Man’s Mystery Illness

Confidential Settlement

Rodney M. v. Grocery Store and Grower
Broward County, Florida
Attorney for Plaintiff: Robert M. Roselli

Robert M. Roselli represented Rodney M., a 50 year old man who developed abdominal pain, fevers, rashes and liver lesions caused by a parasite that local doctors were unable to identify or treat. After ten months, Rodney contacted a Harvard University Professor of Parasitic Diseases who asked the question no other doctor had: Did you eat watercress? Immediately, Rodney recalled that several weeks before he fell ill, he watched a TV show espousing the health benefits of watercress and began eating raw watercress salads bought from a local grocery store. The Harvard doctor performed a blood serum analysis that identified the culprit: fasciola hepatica. While extremely rare in the U.S. human population, this parasite is found in most Florida livestock that graze near waterways laden with watercress. Rodney was then treated with an anti-parasitic agent normally used in animals. After six months, his symptoms resolved and his labs returned to normal. For the suffering endured by Rodney M. a lawsuit was filed against the grocery store and the Palm Beach County grower. Ultimately, expert analysis revealed that the watercress farm contained all of the elements needed for this parasite to thrive, including an abundance of a particular snail species known to serve as an intermediary host for this parasite. In the words of one expert, it was a "snail graveyard". After three years of contentious litigation a settlement was reached before trial for $325,000.00.

See also: New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 346, Number 15

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