Utah actress and Costco resolve lawsuit over E. coli poisoning

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Drivers line up for gas at Costco at 1800 S. 300 West in Salt Lake City on Dec. 22, 2014. In March 2018, a Utah woman resolved her lawsuit against Costco over what she claimed was chicken salad contaminated with E. coli.

An aspiring Utah actress who said E. coli bacteria in chicken salad purchased at Costco so sickened her that she needed a kidney transplant has resolved a lawsuit against the store.

The suit filed by Chloe Rodgerson, now 21, was dismissed Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby on the agreement of both parties, according to court records.

The records do not give any details about a settlement or the basis for the dismissal. Seattle-based attorney William Marler, one of the lawyers representing Rodgerson, declined to comment.

Representatives of Costco Wholesale Corp., which is based in Issaquah, Wash., had no comment. The company previously has denied it breached its duty to use reasonable care to ensure all the food it sells is safe.

Before she became ill, Rodgerson said, she was working hard to further her dream of becoming a Broadway actor.

According to the suit, the Highland woman has acted in school productions and graduated from Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts in American Fork in 2015. She had parts in the films “Twelve Dogs of Christmas II” and “Love, Kennedy,” has been the lead singer in three bands and performed in “Parade” at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Because of her condition, Rodgerson will not be able to work full time and likely is unable to have children, the suit alleged. In February 2017, the month after they married, Rodgerson received a kidney transplant from her husband, Josh Batstone.

Rodgerson’s medical bills had topped $2 million as of last summer and future expenses were expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, the suit said.

The suit alleged that in October 2015, Rodgerson’s father went to the Costco in Lehi and bought rotisserie chicken salad for sandwiches, which infected the young woman with E. coli bacteria.

The suit, which sought unspecified monetary damages, alleged Costco was negligent for manufacturing and selling the “adulterated food product” that caused Rodgerson’s injuries.

In a response filed in court last year, Costco denied allegations it sold defective food that caused Rodgerson’s injuries and said the company had complied with all laws and regulations regarding the production, distribution, handling and sale of food products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 19 people in seven states — including five in Utah — were reported infected with the same E. coli outbreak strain, and an investigation suggested that Costco’s rotisserie chicken salad was the likely source.

The CDC said Costco voluntarily removed all remaining rotisserie chicken salad from its stores in November 2015.