Seattle food-illness attorney Bill Marler asked a federal judge in West Virginia to allow plaintiffs' attorneys to bargain with those representing Sheetz and Coronet Foods. Coronet is the now-bankrupt company from Wheeling that sold the salmonella-tained tomatoes to Sheetz.
Any settlements of less than 50-thousand dollars would be paid outright; larger settlements would need court approval.
More than 400 people were sickened in nine states -- including Virginia -- in the outbreak at the Pennsylvania-based chain of convenience stores.
The Centers for Disease Control traced the tainted tomatoes to a Florida packing house which it has not identified.