Marler Clark Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Big Olaf Creamery


(Naples, FL.) A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the estate of Mary Billman against Big Olaf Creamery, LLC in the Listeria outbreak linked to this company’s ice cream. Mrs. Billman’s estate is represented by Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm and local counsel Scott Weinstein. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. See complaint below.

On January 18, 2022, Mrs. Billman was in the State of Florida, visiting her daughter who lives in Hollywood, Florida. On this date, at the Big Olaf’s Creamery ice cream parlor located at 3350 Bahia Vista in Sarasota, Florida, Mrs. Billman consumed ice cream that had been manufactured, distributed, and sold by the Defendant Big Olaf. The ice cream that Mrs. Billman consumed on this date was contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

Mrs. Billman’s symptoms persisted, and on January 27, 2022, she woke up with a fever over 103 degrees. Her daughter called an ambulance and Mrs. Billman was rushed to the emergency department at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, where she soon began treatment for a septic illness.

Over the course of the next two days, Mrs. Billman’s organs began to shut down due to her septic illness. By the time her family was able to see her again, she was unconscious. She would never regain consciousness, and died on January 29, 2022, leaving behind her husband, the Plaintiff; three daughters named Kelli Mitsdarfer, Kara Gray, and Richelle Brown; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

On July 2, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the preliminary results of an epidemiologic investigation conducted into the Listeria monocytogenes illnesses of 23 people who live, or who lived prior to their deaths, in 10 different states. The investigation into these illnesses had shown that that the cause of the outbreak was Big Olaf’s ice cream products.

“What is shocking it that the Listeria linked to the outbreak was present in this ice cream beginning in 2021, this shows a complete failure to keep the manufacturing facility clean and in good repair,” said food safety lawyer, Bill Marler.

The first case of illness in the outbreak experienced onset of symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes infection in January 2021. Illnesses occurred sporadically over the course of the year and a half since the first case became ill, continuing to cause illnesses through June of 2022. Due to the delay in symptom onset and illness reporting, the total number of people sickened in this outbreak is not yet known.

The 10 states where cases in this outbreak live, including the number of cases in each state, are as follows: Florida (12), Colorado (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), Pennsylvania (1). Among the 10 cases who did not live in Florida, 8 of them had traveled to Florida in the month before onset of symptoms. This outbreak investigation is on-going.

The Marler Clark Listeria lawyers have unmatched experience representing victims of Listeria. Our Listeria lawyers have represented thousands of victims of notable Listeria outbreaks such as the 2011 Jensen Farms Listeria outbreak where over 33 people died, the 2010 Sangar Fresh Cut Produce Listeria outbreak, the 2007 Whittier Farms Listeria outbreak, the 2012 Marte brand Fescolina ricotta salata cheese Listeria outbreak, the 2016 Dole Lettuce Listeria outbreak and the 2017 Vulto Creamery Listeria outbreak. We are presently assisting in a Listeria outbreak in South Africa that sickened over 1,000 and killed over 200.

Marler Clark has represented countless Listeria victims and is the only firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on plaintiff foodborne illness litigation.

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