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Meet The Attorney Behind The Biggest Food Safety Cases

Credit NIAID/Flickr
E.coli Bacteria

This story originally aired on September 30, 2017.

Seattle Attorney Bill Marler is often thought of as a bug…an agitator…an annoyance to the beef and poultry industries, and even the companies that grow leafy greens. He’s the guy you call if you are unfortunate enough to fall victim to E. coli, salmonella, listeria, or any other bacteria that somehow works its way into mass food production and into your stomach.

E. Coli entered everyday lexicon when three people died and hundreds of others were sickened after eating Jack In The Box hamburgers back in 1993. One of the epicenters of the outbreak was here, in Washington State.

The E. coli victim who launched Bill Marler’s career was 9 year old Brianne Kiner of Redmond. She was one of the survivors. Marler got her a 15 million dollar settlement from Jack In The Box.

When Bill Marler graduated from law school, he was aiming for a career in politics. When he was 19 he was elected to Pullman’s city council in Eastern Washington. He wanted to be U.S. president by age 35. But as we hear in this interview, Brianne’s case and the Jack In The Box E. coli outbreak tossed this plan out the window.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.