Victims settle with Wal-Mart in cantaloupe listeria cases

05/13/2014 04:40:00 PM
Coral Beach

For additional details, see "Wal-Mart says Primus, others should pay in listeria case"

All 23 civil cases against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. related to the 2011 listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe it sold have been settled out of court.

Another 40 civil cases filed against the Kroger Co. by its customers or relatives of customers who died in the outbreak are still pending in state and federal courts, said food safety attorney Bill Marler.

Details of Wal-Mart’s settlements are not public record. The individuals who are receiving payments were required to agree to not reveal financial or other details of the settlements.

“We’re pleased that both sides could come together to resolve the case,” said Marler, who is representing 46 of the 66 people who have filed civil cases in relation to the listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms, Holly, Colo.

“While we can’t discuss the details or terms of the (Wal-Mart) settlement, we are pleased with the resolution which was in everyone’s best interest.”

Wal-Mart’s national director of media relations Randy Hargrove also declined to discuss details of the settlements.

"We’re happy that both sides could resolve the cases. We can’t discuss the details or terms of the settlement, however we are pleased with the resolution which was in everyone’s best interest," said Hargrove.

The retailer is filing notices of settlement in the individual courts where the 23 cases were filed.

Marler said by settling the cases, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is out of the picture as far as the victims’ lawsuits are concerned.

The retailer had filed cross-claims against other parties, including distributor Frontera Produce and food safety auditor Primus Group Inc., but those cross claims no longer apply since Wal-Mart reached settlements with the plaintiffs in the cases.

Those plaintiffs have claims pending against other parties, including Jensen Farms and owners Eric and Ryan Jensen, Primus, Frontera and retailers that sold the cantaloupe. The Jensen brothers also have a federal case pending against the food safety auditing company.

The listeria outbreak killed 33 people and sickened another 147 in 28 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 10 people who died were infected with the same subtypes of listeria responsible for the outbreak, but the CDC reported local health officials did not indicate listeria as the cause of death on those death certificates.

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Produce Guy    
Texas  |  May, 20, 2014 at 06:52 AM

I would love to know Mr. Marler's fees in all this...

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