- - Thursday, September 16, 2010

IOWA

Class-action sought in egg-recall case

DES MOINES — A lawsuit accusing two Iowa farms at the center of a recall of 550 million eggs linked to salmonella illnesses of safely negligence has been filed and is seeking class-action status.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Chicago on behalf of six people who became ill after eating eggs produced at Wright County Egg near Galt, Iowa, and Hillandale Farms of Iowa, near New Hampton.

It said the farms “failed to adequately and properly test, inspect and comply with federal and statutory regulations … so the eggs were safe.”

The farms have been the subject of scrutiny in recent months after at least 1,500 people got sick from eating eggs from the farms. A Food and Drug Administration inspection found many possible sources of salmonella contamination at both farms, including rodent and wild bird infestations, uncontained manure, holes in walls and other problems. The FDA also found positive samples of salmonella enteritidis.

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said its investigators had obtained records showing Wright County Egg, owned by Austin DeCoster, received 426 positive results for salmonella between 2008 and 2010. The committee has scheduled a hearing on the recall for next week. A spokeswoman for Mr. DeCoster has indicated he will attend.

NEW YORK

Twisterlike storm kills one in Queens

NEW YORK — A fast-moving storm packing winds of up to 100 mph ripped through the city Thursday, knocking down trees and power lines, tearing off roofs in one Brooklyn neighborhood and leaving one person dead.

The victim was killed when a tree fell on a car in Queens, fire officials said. Numerous minor injuries were reported elsewhere.

The storm hit just after 5 p.m., when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Staten Island. Shortly afterward, warnings were issued for Brooklyn and Queens.

In the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, witnesses say the sky went pitch black about 5:30 p.m. Trees started swaying like blades of grass. Large branches snapped and hit cars, smashing windshields.

“A huge tree limb, like 25 feet long, flew right up the street, up the hill and stopped in the middle of the air 50 feet up in this intersection and started spinning,” said Steve Carlisle, 54. “It was like a poltergeist.”

“Then all the garbage cans went up in the air and this spinning tree hits one of them like it was a bat on a ball. The can was launched way, way over there,” he said, pointing at a building about 120 feet away where a metal garbage can lay flattened.

TEXAS

Fort Hood suspect’s hearing open to public

FORT HOOD — A military officer Thursday rejected a defense request to keep an upcoming hearing about last year’s Fort Hood massacre closed, saying the public and the victims’ families have a right to hear testimony from those affected by the attack.

Col. James L. Pohl, a military judge acting as the investigating officer in the case, said that keeping next month’s hearing open would preserve the integrity of the military justice system. He previously said he planned to call the 32 people injured in the shooting to testify during the Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent to grand jury proceedings.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a 40-year-old Army psychiatrist, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shootings at the Texas Army post.

John Galligan, an attorney for Maj. Hasan, said he plans to appeal Thursday’s ruling.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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