U.S. Capital

Wrongful Death by Tainted Cantaloupe Sparks Mass Litigation

Jan 18, 2013

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 17, 2013 – Eating fruit should not cause death. In this case, Listeria-laced cantaloupe killed at least 32 and sickened 147 in various states.

“Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed individually, or in this instance, as mass litigation. There were far too many people harmed by Listeria-laced cantaloupe to file individual lawsuits, when a class action suit would join them all for the purposes of adjudication,” explained Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.

This story began in Colorado, where cantaloupe was grown and shipped to various vendors across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the deadly cantaloupes killed 32, caused one woman to miscarry, and seriously sickened at least 147 people in several states. The lawsuits were filed shortly after it was discovered that samples obtained by the CDC of the farm’s equipment and fruit showed Listeria contamination. “Further testing indicated that the bacteria isolated in the farm samples was the same strain involved in the horrific outbreak,” said Schuelke.

Many of the victims involved in this outbreak had to spend time in the hospital, and in the process, racked up millions of dollars in medical bills. Many lost pay for missing work. Some were off work longer than anticipated, and some died. Many of the still-living plaintiffs in the class action suit are seeking damages to pay for their medical bills and so forth. The families of those who died are seeking compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses. Their most fervent wish is that this never happens to anyone else.

Once the case gets to court, the jury will hear that a week prior to the outbreak, a company had given the farm a superior rating. Not long after that, the Food and Drug Administration inspected the facility and found, among other infractions, Listeria-contaminated water under packing equipment. Once the lawsuits were filed, the companies involved in this fiasco either went bankrupt or settled out of court.

“At issue will be, among other things, whether or not one of the defendants, the lab responsible for checking the fruit, actually owed the deceased a duty when they performed their inadequate facility audit. If there is no duty, the company is then not responsible for damages,” Schuelke explained. With over $13 million alone in plaintiff hospital bills, this wrongful death case may well be worth watching closely.

To learn more or to contact an Austin personal injury attorney or Austin injury lawyer, visit http://www.civtrial.com.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944