Class action lawsuit filed against New Hawaii Sea Restaurant

the new hawaii sea restaurant in the bronx, where there was a hepatitis a outbreak
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the New Hawaii Sea Restaurant after four diners and an employee were diagnosed with hepatitis A infections last week.
Credit: Google Maps.

Two law firms are teaming up on a class action lawsuit against New Hawaii Sea Restaurant in the Bronx on behalf of the people who had to seek hepatitis A vaccinations after the Department of Health discovered four diners had been infected, likely by a sick restaurant employee.

Attorneys for the Rochester, N.Y., and Seattle law firms say the estimated size of the class could be at least 2,500 people affected over a 10-day period that the DOH specified in its call for vaccinations.

DOH officials announced the hepatitis A scare last week, and urged patrons who consumed food from the restaurant between Sept. 7 and Sept. 19 to get vaccinated immediately. A team from the Medical Reserve Corps administered the vaccines over the weekend.

The class action suit alleges that the restaurant was negligent in allowing the infected employee to work and negligent in not mandating Hepatitis A vaccines for employees.

Bill Marler, the Seattle-based attorney on the case, has been litigating food contamination lawsuits for about 20 years.

The most notable hepatitis A case was in Pennsylvania about a decade ago, he said, when about 10,000 people needed vaccines. It was the largest hepatitis A outbreak ever in the U.S., he said, and cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Almost 400 people developed hepatitis A despite the vaccinations, and five died.

Most recently, he said, an outbreak was linked to frozen berries at Costco that came from Turkey. About 160 people got sick in 10 states, mostly in the West.

He also mentioned a hepatitis A scare in New York City just six months ago at the high-end Alta Restaurant in the West Village. An employee apparently returned from a vacation in Mexico infected with the disease.

But Marler insists these outbreaks are not an inevitability.

“Outbreaks or scares linked to restaurants could really simply be easily solved by vaccinating people who work in restaurants,” he said, citing such a mandate in St. Louis, Mo.

But he said the National Restaurant Association has balked at the initiative on the grounds that there’s so much turnover in restaurant employees that there’s no economic incentive. If one restaurant subsidizes a vaccine for an employee who leaves to work at another restaurant just two months later, the first restaurant essentially just paid for the second restaurant’s vaccine.

But Marler insists that if everyone does it, “it’ll all kind of even out over time,” and whether the vaccines are paid for by employees, restaurants or government is something to be negotiated.

Marler himself has no economic incentive to push for this mandate: He makes his living suing on behalf of people infected or potentially infected in hepatitis A outbreaks.

But, he says, “The point is the National Restaurant Association and state restaurant association should stop fighting this … and agree that vaccinating is a good thing.”

“Then I won’t be able to sue them anymore!” he added.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.