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
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.