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Wednesday, August 6, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mercer Islander Killed In Oregon Car Crash

Seattle Times Staff: AP

BAKER CITY, Ore. - The wife of a prominent Seattle attorney died after a car driven by her children's baby-sitter rolled several times and she was ejected from the back seat, state police said.

Janet Berman, 40, of Mercer Island died Monday at the scene along Interstate 84 about 10 miles north of Baker City. She was the wife of Steve Berman, a lawyer who has handled several high-profile class-action lawsuits.

Police said the car was heading east when it drifted onto the right shoulder. Driver Mikaela Rabinowitz, 17, overcorrected, and the vehicle rolled four times before coming to rest on its roof, police said.

Rabinowitz was in serious condition last night at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Berman's two children were in the vehicle. Eliot, 8, was not injured, and Jake, 6, was treated for minor injuries and released.

All were wearing seat belts except Berman, police said.

Among the cases Steve Berman's Seattle law firm has handled was a shareholders' class-action suit against Foodmaker, corporate owner of the Jack In The Box fast-food chain, over an E. coli outbreak in Washington in 1993. The suit, which alleged that Foodmaker misrepresented the quality of Jack In The Box food in a stock prospectus, was settled for $12 million.

Born in Highland Park, Ill., Janet Berman earned a degree in nursing from Cornell University and worked as a nurse caring for cancer patients before marrying Steve Berman, a childhood friend. The couple had been married for 18 years.

Information from Seattle Times staff reporter Carole Beers is included in this report.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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