Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Peanut
Source of Article: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/first-wrongful-death-lawsuit-filed/story.aspx?guid=%7B2A2AD235-846B-4E36-8B39-9C99AF2CC5CC%7D&dist=msr_1
Last update: 1:57 p.m. EST Jan. 27, 2009
Fred Pritzker, founder and president of national food safety law firm Pritzker | Olsen, P.A., filed the complaint Monday in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis for the heirs and of Shirley Mae Almer, 72, of Perham, Minnesota: Jeffrey Almer as trustee of the heirs of Shirley Mae Almer v. Peanut Corporation of America, a Virginia business entity and King Nut Companies, an Ohio business entity.
King Nut Companies is an Ohio-based firm that allegedly
distributed the contaminated peanut butter that came out of PCA's plant in
According to the complaint, the product was delivered to
a nursing home in
The complaint alleges that her death on December 21 was a direct result of consuming peanut butter that contained the same genetic strain of Salmonella that has sickened more than 500 other people in 43 states. On January 13, the FDA announced that PCA initiated a recall that included the product that had been served to Mrs. Almer.
"This is a very large and significant recall," Pritzker said. "It points to a number of vulnerabilities in our food safety system that require legislation and funding to correct. Consumers should feel concerned and demand a significant overhaul."
The complaint alleges negligence on behalf of PCA and King Nut for failure to train and properly supervise peanut butter production workers and other employees; failure to safely produce, store and transport its products; failure to maintain sanitary conditions during and after production; failure to prevent cross-contamination and failure to properly test its products, as well as other acts of negligence.
The complaint also alleges that PCA and King Nut are negligent per se for failing to comply with Minn. Stat. Chapter 31 and 21 USC Sec. 331.
The complaint also makes a claim for damages under the doctrine of strict liability.
Pritzker said Mrs. Almer was the
"canary in a coal mine" whose death helped lead health
investigators to the plant in
According to the complaint, Mrs. Almer's
children were notified January 6 that she died with a Salmonella infection.
Days later, the
Pritzker said grieving family members were angered to learn that the peanut butter served to Mrs. Almer contained the same deadly pathogen associated with hundreds of Salmonella infections since mid-September.
Mrs. Almer, who grew up in New
Pritzker | Olsen has considerable experience and a reputation for success in representing survivors of foodborne illnesses (including E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella and Shigella). The firm is involved in virtually every national outbreak and has collected large sums on behalf of people injured or killed by adulterated food. In addition, the firm is devoted to educating the public about food safety issues and advocating for badly needed food safety legislation and increased funding for the federal, state and local agencies charged with protecting our food and enforcing food safety laws.
Pritzker and members of his firm are frequent guests and commentators about food safety issues and have been interviewed by and profiled in a number of media sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and CNN.
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