According to law360, settlements have been approved by the court in lawsuits involving tainted cantaloupe. The cantaloupe, infected with the deadly bacteria listeria, killed over thirty people and made 147 people ill.
An Arapahoe County, Colorado judge dismissed twenty-four of the twenty-six wrongful death cases and consolidated the lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation. One case was remanded to a Texas court and the last case involved a minor. That case was eventually transferred to a probate court.
The bacteria-ridden melons caused the largest foodborn death toll in American in over seventy-five years.
The lawsuits were filed by thirty family members of the thirty-three people who passed away. Fifteen people and entities were listed as defendants, including Jensen Farms, where the tainted cantaloupe allegedly originated; food safety auditor Primus Group Inc.; distributor Frontera Produce Ltd.; retailers Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co.; and a number of additional retailers and restaurants. The plaintiffs were represented by attorney William D. Marler.
One plaintiff, Robert Antle, filed a lawsuit on behalf of his late wife, Sandra. Mr. Antle alleged in his lawsuit that Primus hired subcontractor Bio Foods Safety Inc. to audit Jensen Farms. Jensen Farms allegedly misrepresented the conditions at their facility. The auditor rated Jensen Farms with a superior rating, but the conditions allegedly should have led to a failure rating instead. Had Jensen Farms failed the audit, the illnesses allegedly would not have caused the deaths and grave injuries to consumers.
The listeria outbreak was first traced back to the mellons grown at the Rocky Ford region in Colorado before being narrowed down further to Jensen Farms as the source.
In May, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. agreed to settle claims with over twenty-four families. One wrongful death suit in Louisiana was settled with Kroger, Primus and Frontera.
If you or a loved one have been sickened or injured after eating a bacteria-ridden food product, contact our expert food contamination lawyers 24/7 at 617-787-3700.