Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

I Got Listeria. How and Who Do I Sue?

If you haven't heard of all the recent recalls of listeria infected products, such as spinach, frozen foods, hummus, and ice cream, you've been living under a rock, and need to take a second look in your refrigerator.

However, if you've been unlucky enough to be infected with listeria, you're probably wondering, how and who do I sue?

Suing For Listeria

Listeria can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, muscle ache, convulsions, miscarriages, or even death. Because of your injury, there are several legal theories that you may allow you to sue for damages.

Strict Liability

Strict liability allows a person injured by a defective product to win damages without having to show that the manufacturer or seller did anything wrong. To be able to make a strict liability claim, you must show that the product had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused injury when used in the manner it was intended to be used, and the product had not been substantially changed.

Violation of Implied Warranty

An implied warranty promises that a product is safe to use for its intended purpose. Food products that are not safe to eat would definitely violate an implied warranty.

Negligence

You can sue for negligence if you can show that the manufacturer or seller breached a duty of care to produce a safe product and caused you injury as a result.

Who to Sue?

The hard part of determining who to sue is figuring out where you got the listeria from. Usually, a recall would point you in the right direction, or you could have your stool tested to see if it matches a strain of listeria found in a specific food item.

Once you've determined which product caused your listeria infection, it's pretty standard practice to sue the store where you bought it, the manufacturer that made the food, and the producer who supplied the infected ingredient.

For example, a California couple affected by the caramel apple listeria outbreak sued Wal-Mart who sold the caramel apples, Happy Apple Co. who made the caramel apples, and Bidart Bros. who supplied the apples to Happy Apple Co.

Listeria lawsuits, while possible, can be complicated and hard to prove. If you've been infected by listeria, consult with an experienced products liability attorney to consider your options before you sue.

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