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Lawsuit Filed Against Creamery Alleges Raw Milk Caused Paralysis

PITTSBURGH — Pritzker Olsen law firm has filed a lawsuit through its local counsel on behalf of James and Maureen Orchard, a Pittsburgh-area couple sickened last month by Campylobacter after drinking raw milk produced by Pasture Maid Creamery LLC of New Castle, Pa.

The Pasture Maid Creamery lawsuit was filed April 27 in the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County. It alleges that 67-year-old James Orchard became paralyzed from a Campylobacter infection he suffered from unpasteurized Pasture Maid milk that health investigators later found to be contaminated.

According to the complaint, Orchard and his wife purchased the milk March 16 from McGinnis Sisters Special Foods store in Mars, Pa. The retailer is named in the suit along with the creamery and its owner, Adam Dean.

While Mrs. Orchard became seriously sick and sore, her husband began to experience a loss of sensation and movement. As his infection developed into Guillain-Barre syndrome, he became totally paralyzed except for minimal movement of his head and the ability to blink his eyes. He was placed on ventilation equipment and is still unable to breathe on his own in a Pittsburgh area hospital. Mr. Orchard requires around the clock intensive care.

According to the complaint, the Pennsylvania Department of Health found Campylobacter bacteria in raw milk samples from Pasture Maid. On March 25, 2010, the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Agriculture advised consumers to discard Pasture Maid brand raw milk and recommended that Pasture Maid Creamery stop selling the product. On April 5, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture suspended Pasture Maid’s permit to sell raw milk for human consumption.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization, a “kill step,” destroys pathogens like Campylobacter and E. coli O157:H7 with high heat.

Pritzker Olsen law firm, headquartered in Minneapolis, represents individuals and families nationwide in cases involving foodborne illness.