Man sickened by buffalo fish sues market

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 23, 2006, 6:43am

Unger's Fish Market in Granite City

A Belleville man filed a personal injury suit against Unger's Fish Market in Granite City claiming the buffalo fish he purchased made him sick.

Rodney Walker clams that within 24 hours of eating the fish he bought on March 26, 2004, he fell ill with rhabdomyolysis.

Walker filed suit Jan. 19, in Madison County Circuit Court.

According to the National Institute of Health, rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the circulation. Some of these are toxic to the kidneys and can result in kidney damage.

Walker claims he had to be hospitalized for severe diarrhea, high fever, severe neck, chest and limb pain, stomach cramping, lethargy and necrosis of the bowel.

"Prior to the injuries, Walker was an able-bodied person, capable of doing and performing work and labor," the complaint states. "As a direct and proximate result of Walker's injuries he suffered and will continue to suffer an impaired and diminished capacity for work, labor and pleasure."

According to the NIH, in 1997, six cases of Haff disease, a syndrome of unexplained rhabdomyolysis following consumption of certain types of fish, were identified in the United States (four in California and two in Missouri) among persons who ate buffalo fish, a bottom-feeding species found mostly in the Mississippi River or its tributaries.

Walker also claims he has endured and will continue to endure tremendous pain, suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment and lost the ability to enjoy life.

Walker is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 for the injuries he sustained.

He is represented by James Eason of Brown & Crouppen of St. Louis.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

06 L 54

More News