Wal-Mart settles personal injury claims from Listeria outbreak
Florida consumers may remember the tragic deaths of 33 people following an outbreak of Listeria in 2011. Investigations into the matter traced the cause of the outbreak to a cantaloupe farm in another state. Media reports indicate that a settlement was recently reached between Wal-Mart, who offered the infected melons for sale, and 23 families who lost loved ones through personal injury.
The original lawsuits included the claims of 17 individuals who became ill but survived and 28 families who lost loved ones. The cases totaled over $12 million in medical expenses alone. A spokesperson for Wal-Mart asserted that the company’s concern for the safety of their customers remains paramount. He stated that all contaminated melons were removed the moment Wal-Mart learned about the contamination; however, families of affected victims claimed that Wal-Mart’s reaction was too slow.
Two brothers, who owned the farm responsible for the outbreak, pleaded guilty last year and received sentences of home detention and probation, along with orders to perform community service and pay restitution. Upon investigations following the outbreak, it was determined that the dirty conditions of the water, floors and equipment in the packing house were the likely cause of the Listeria outbreak. Consequently, the family-owned farm filed for bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy court resolved lawsuits that were filed against the farm.
Florida consumers have the right to be protected against dangerous and defective products that have the potential to cause personal injury. Any injuries sustained under such circumstances give the victims the right to pursue personal injury claims — or wrongful death claims in cases of fatalities — in a civil court. Successful presentation of such a claim may result in monetary damages awarded to cover medical and end-of-life expenses, along with other costs allowed under state law.
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If you, a friend or a family member find themselves in a situation such as this, please call the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A. at 305 670-3330 right away. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is a licensed civil law attorney who has been practicing law since 1987. He is available whenever you need him to pursue your rights. Please learn about our firm at www.FerrisLawFirm.com.