E. Coli Survivor Offered $15 Million Settlement 9-Year-Old Redmond Girl Was In Coma 40 Days After Eating Bacteriatainted Burger

SUNDAY, FEB. 26, 1995

A $15 million settlement for a child who survived a 40-day coma from E. coli poisoning linked to a fast food hamburger is pending before a King County Superior Court judge.

The family of Brianne Kiner of Redmond confirmed the deal with Foodmaker Inc. of San Diego, parent company of Jack in the Box, on Friday after The News Tribune of Tacoma obtained the terms from another source.

“I’m pleased with it,” said Rex Kiner, her father. “I think the family’s happy too, for what we’ve been through.”

His daughter, 9 when she fell ill in early 1993, was perhaps the most acutely ill child to survive the E. coli H7 epidemic.

Early in her five months at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, she had a stroke that caused brain damage. There also was damage to just about every organ system in her body and, among other things, she must now use insulin to control her blood sugar levels.

Attending a special boarding school which her parents say is “somewhere in the Southwest,” the girl is trying to regain abilities she lost in the long illness.

“We’re just letting her enjoy life right now,” her father told the JournalAmerican of Bellevue.

The Kiners expect she will have medical problems the rest of her life. They don’t know whether she will ever be able to live on her own.

Karen Bachmann, vice president of corporate communications at Foodmaker, declined to discuss settlement details.

She said the company’s insurers would pay the settlement.

Brianne was among about 600 people who were sickened by contaminated, undercooked hamburgers from Jack In The Box restaurants. Three Washington children died during the epidemic.

The parents of those children reached individual settlements with Foodmaker. Foodmaker agreed to pay $1.3 million to the family of 2-year-old Michael Nole of Tacoma. Terms of the other two settlements were withheld.

The Kiner suit was not part of a classaction suit by other E. coli victims against Jack In The Box. Last July, four unidentified families split a $533,523 settlement with the fast-food chain for injuries suffered during the E. coli outbreak.

Jeff Brein, a Kiner family spokesman, said Foodmaker would make a donation to medical charities as part of this latest settlement.

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