Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak - Marler Clark Litigation in New Mexico


U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

Christiansen v. Frontera Produce, Primus Labs and Walmart Stores

In a lawsuit, plaintiff Betty Christiansen alleges she purchased a cantaloupe from a Walmart store in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 25, 2011. Her husband, 93-year-old Vernon Christiansen, consumed the cantaloupe in the days following its purchase.

On August 31, 2011, Mr. Christian began experiencing symptoms of Lsiteria infection. On September 2, he was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he succumbed rapidly to his Listeria infection. Mr. Christianson died the following morning.

A blood specimen taken on his admission to the hospital revealed that Mr. Christiansen had been infected with one of five strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak.

His medical expenses totaled over $10,000.

The Estate of Rene Gaxiola v. Frontera Produce, Primus Labs and Walmart Stores

A lawsuit filed by the family of Rene Gaxiola alleges that the 63-year-old died after eating Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe purchased from a Walmart store in Albuquerque, New Mexico in August of 2011. The lawsuit was filed by Mr. Gaxiola’s wife and son.

According to the complaint, Mr. Gaxiola fell ill with symptoms of Listeria infection on September 7, 2011 and his condition deteriorated rapidly. Mrs. Gaxiola drove her husband to the hospital, where he became disoriented and was unable to communicate. His temperature reached over 106 F.

Mr. Gaxiola never regained his faculties, and his condition never improved. A blood specimen tested on September 7 tested positive for one of five strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak. He died on September 10, 2011 in Hospice care.

Medical expenses associated with Mr. Gaxiola’s Listeria infection totaled $14,000.

Wallace v. Frontera Produce, Primus Labs and Walmart Stores

Scott Voorhees, guardian for Christopher Wallace, filed a lawsuit alleging that Mr. Wallace purchased a cantaloupe at a Walmart store in Balen, New Mexico on August 2, 2011. Over the days following its purchase, Mr. Wallace, who was 51 years old, consumed the cantaloupe.

Over Labor Day Weekend 2011, Mr. Wallace fell ill with symptoms of Listeria infection, and by September 7 exhibited behaviors that led his partner to believe Mr. Wallace had suffered a stroke. He was rushed to the emergency department and was promptly admitted to the hospital, where he was believed to be suffering from meningitis.

Mr. Wallace was hospitalized through September 16, receiving treatment and undergoing diagnostic tests in attempts to determine the source of an illness that was causing brain injury. He was released to a rehabilitation facility that day, only to return to the hospital on September 21. Mr. Wallace again underwent multiple diagnostic tests to determine the cause and extent of his neurologic injury. He was treated with antibiotics for a suspected infection and was ultimately discharged from the hospital on October 3, 2011. He remained on antibiotics for a suspected Listeria infection for weeks.

Mr. Wallace has required substantial follow-up medical care, primarily for his neurological injuries, which continue to date and are permanent. His medical expenses to date total nearly $275,000.

Lea County District Court

The Estate of Florence Wilcox v. Frontera Produce, Primus Labs and Walmart Stores

The family of Florence Wilcox, who was an independent, active 96-year-old woman in September of 2011, filed a lawsuit alleging that she purchased and consumed contaminated Jensen Farms cantaloupes from a Walmart store in Hobbs, New Mexico and fell ill with a Listeria infection as a result.

Ms. Wilcox fell ill with symptoms of Listeria infection on September 8, 2011. A neighbor drove her to a local medical center, where she remained for approximately one day, receiving treatment for fever, bloody stools, weakness and general malaise. While there, she submitted a blood specimen that later tested positive for one of five strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak.

Ms. Wilcox’s condition continued to deteriorate over the course of the day, and she was transferred by helicopter life-flight to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, where she was admitted into the intensive care unit and underwent extensive treatment and diagnostic procedures that revealed she had developed meningitis.

Despite medical treatment for meningitis caused by Listeria infection, Ms. Wilcox died on September 15, 2011. Cantaloupe recovered from her home also tested positive for one of the five strains of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria associated with the Jensen Farms cantaloupe outbreak.

Medical expenses associated with Ms. Wilcox’s Listeria infection totaled nearly $180,000.

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