In a related matter, a products liability suit has been filed by a woman who came down with a listeria infection after purchasing caramel apples. This suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bidart Bros. Apple Packing Co. and Happy Apple Co. Inc. is the latest suit over the ongoing outbreak that has sickened more than 30 people and killed at least seven. Plaintiffs Darlene Vouri and her husband, Francis Vouri, say that Darlene Vouri became ill with listeriosis, an infectious food poisoning disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, and was later hospitalized. They had purchased Happy Valley caramel apples on Oct. 14, 2014, from a California Wal-Mart location. Bidart Bros. is an apple supplier that supplied apples to Happy Valley.
The suit is at least the second over the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that in December was connected to the consumption of contaminated caramel apples last month. The complaint in the latest case said that Darlene Vouri was hospitalized after suffering from persistent neck pain and headaches and two serious falls due to loss of muscle control, before doctors discovered a listeria infection on Nov. 14, 2014. After returning home on Dec. 10, Darlene Vouri still required in-home nursing and suffered from neck, head and joint pains. On Jan. 10, 2015, she suffered a third fall and remains “in guarded condition requiring ongoing medical treatment,” according to the complaint.
“The caramel apples were defective because they contained Listeria monocytogenes and defendants failed to give adequate warnings of the product’s dangers that were known or by the application of reasonably developed human skill and foresight should have been known,” the Vouris’ complaint alleged. In addition to strict products liability, the suit brings a count of negligence alleging the defendants breached their duty of care by doing one or more of: failing to properly test the caramel apples, failing to prevent human and/or animal feces from coming into contact with the apples, failing to apply policies to maintain sanitary conditions, and failing to warn the public of the danger that the caramel apples were contaminated, among other potential breaches.
A wrongful death suit was filed in a California court last month against Safeway Inc., alleging an 87-year-old woman died of a listeria infection after eating a caramel apple purchased at a Safeway grocery store.
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