Just ask Gonzo: It's not on Long John Silver's menu

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 3, 2006, 6:23am

Question: As a regular eater of buffalo fish, I was hoping you would be able to update the suit against Unger's over the bad fish case.

Maria Sullivan
Granite City

Gonzo: Not much has happened in the suit other than the plaintiff's attorneys withdrew from the case leaving the plaintiff to hunt down a new one.

Rodney Walker of Belleville claims that within 24 hours of eating buffalo fish he bought from Unger's Fish Market in Granite City on March 26, 2004, he fell ill with rhabdomyolysis.

Walker filed suit Jan. 19, in Madison County Circuit Court. He was represented by Todd Mathews of Brown & Crouppen in St. Louis. However in June, he and the firm asked Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian to withdraw from the case.

Matoesian allowed the motion and Walker is still looking for someone to represent him.

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.

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.

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