Lawsuit filed in hepatitis A outbreak

LIHUE — A class-action lawsuit was filed as a result of the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii that affected about 250 people since June.

Honolulu law firm Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher in partnership with foodborne illness lawyer Bill Marler filed the suit on behalf of the class of plaintiffs that include anyone who consumed food or drink at restaurants — and other outlets where food may be purchased and consumed — where employees were involved in the preparation and sale of food. Plaintiffs may also include other restaurants, markets and airline flights during the identified time periods.

“The lawsuit underscores why it is so vitally important that all food service workers be vaccinated against Hepatitis A,” Marler said in a Thursday statement.

Genki Sushi, Koha Foods and Sea Port Products are named defendants of the suit.

“This action seeks to compensate people who were exposed to the second wave of Hep A, and took appropriate action to protect themselves and to protect others from the continued spread of the virus,” said Trevor Brown of Starn O’Toole Marcus and Fisher.

The Hawaii state Department of Health says it’s recorded 11 new cases of hepatitis A in Hawaii over the past week. This brings the number of cases from the current outbreak to 252.

Health officials traced the outbreak to frozen scallops served raw by the popular sushi chain on Oahu and Kauai. U.S. Food and Drug Administration tests later found hepatitis A in the scallops, which were imported from the Philippines.

The Genki Sushi chain closed 10 restaurants on Oahu and one on Kauai and began disinfecting them after the discovery.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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