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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jack In The Box Settles With 4-Year-Old E. Coli Victim Federal Way Girl Suffers Numerous Problems After Eating Tainted Burger

Associated Press

A girl who was sickened by a tainted hamburger will receive a settlement from Jack in the Box fast-food chain, her lawyer said, but the amount was not disclosed.

Shanika Baldwin, 4, of Federal Way, spent five weeks at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Seattle after being infected in the 1993 E. coli outbreak. She suffered brain and kidney damage, hearing loss and had most of her large colon removed.

Shanika was one of more than 600 people in Washington who suffered from the deadly E. coli O157:H7 bacteria linked to contaminated, undercooked burgers sold by Jack in The Box. Three children died.

Terry Lumsden, attorney for the girl, confirmed Friday that a settlement had been reached but said both sides agreed to keep the terms confidential.

Earlier, he said the girl’s estimated lifetime medical costs and lost wages would be close to $7 million. Lumsden said Friday that the settlement was enough to take care of all her future medical needs.

The case had been set to go to trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Because Shanika is a minor, Lumsden said, the settlement must be approved by U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly.

Officials at Foodmaker, the San Diego-based parent company of Jack in The Box, did not comment. In previous statements, they had said they were willing to reach fair settlements with victims of the outbreak.

Several of the settlement amounts have not been disclosed. But early this year, Foodmaker paid $15 million in a settlement with Brianne Kiner, a Redmond girl sickened in the outbreak. The company also paid $1.3 million to the family of Michael Nole, a 2-year-old Tacoma boy killed in the epidemic. In July, four families split a $533,523 settlement with Foodmaker.

Shanika’s growth continues to lag behind that of children her age, Lumsden said. She has received intensive speech, language and occupational therapy for the past two years and has made significant progress as a result, he said.

Lumsden said Foodmaker was willing to pay for Shanika’s treatment before the suit was settled. Medical bills have added up to about $400,000 so far, he said.