Over 50,000 people could be entitled to money from 2016 Hepatitis A outbreak

Over 50,000 people could be entitled to money from 2016 Hepatitis A outbreak

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been two years since a deadly Hepatitis A outbreak struck Hawaii, creating one of the largest outbreaks to hit the United States in decades.

Those who got sick, or in some cases simply got the vaccine — could be entitled to money — but time is running out to make a claim.

In August 2016, health investigators determined raw scallops served at Genki Sushi on Oahu and Kauai as the source of the outbreak. A total of 292 people were infected with the virus.

Of those infected, one woman died and more than 70 others had to be hospitalized.

"These people were really sick," said Attorney Bill Marler. "Even the people who were modestly sick felt like they had the flu for a month."

Marler represented 88 people whose cases have been settled. He says Hawaii has a statute of limitations which means that those who got sick as a result of the outbreak have two years to file a lawsuit.

"Anyone who got sick before August 15, 2016 has to bring a claim by August 15, 2018," said Marler. "Anybody who got sick after the 15th can bring a claim to the date when they got sick."

Marler says there are 182 people who were documented as having the virus, but have yet to sue.

"The lawsuit is pretty simple. It just lays out what happened to the person." said Marler.

"They can contact a lawyer to file that lawsuit for them or they can file the lawsuit by themselves. Seaport, Koha Foods and Genki Sushi are the three entities that were involved and those are the three entities you need to file a lawsuit against."

There's also a class-action suit for people who received the Hepatitis A vaccination after the health department revealed the source of the outbreak.

Records show more than 50,000 people were vaccinated in the two weeks following that announcement.

"The class action is seeking reimbursement for the cost of the shot and time away from work," said Marler.

Hawaii News Now asked Marler about the amounts his clients got in their settlements, but he said he couldn't comment due to a confidentiality agreement.

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