Paramount Farms sued in tainted almonds case


SPOKANE —Seattle food-safety attorney, William Marler, today filed a lawsuit against California-based almond producer, Paramount Farms. The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court on behalf of the Morris family of Kennewick, Washington, three of whom became seriously ill and required hospitalization after eating Salmonella-tainted raw California almonds produced by Paramount Farms and sold by Costco. The almonds were purchased in January 2004. At least 18 people, and likely more, have suffered Salmonella infection linked to the consumption of raw California almonds produced by Paramount Farms and sold under the Kirkland Signature, Trader Joe’s, and Sunkist brands.

The lawsuit alleges that Paramount Farms, as the manufacturer of the almonds should be held strictly liable for the injuries suffered by the Morris’s. The company recalled over five million pounds of almonds after the Food and Drug Administration linked the almonds to ill consumers in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. The recall has been expanded to 13 million pounds and extends in the United States, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, France, Britain and Italy.

“There have been prior incidences of Salmonella-tainted almonds that have led to illnesses and recalls,” said William Marler, attorney for the family. “Paramount Farms should have known this and taken appropriate precautions to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

In April 2001 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned the public not to consume California raw whole almonds after 140 people became ill with Salmonella infection. “Eighteen people have become ill with Salmonella infection so far during this outbreak. I would be willing to speculate that the number of illnesses related to this outbreak will continue to rise,” Marler added.

Salmonella bacteria cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, Salmonella can enter the bloodstream and can lead to arterial infections such as infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and reactive arthritis.

###

BACKGROUND: Marler Clark is known as the premiere foodborne illness litigation firm in the United States. The firm has achieved success representing victims, mostly children, in the largest salmonella outbreaks across the country over the last ten years. These include the Harmony Farms alfalfa sprout outbreak, the Brook-Lea Country Club outbreak, the Kunick cantaloupe outbreak, an outbreak at a Western Sizzlin’ restaurant in North Carolina, the Shipley Sales cantaloupe outbreak, Black Forest Bakery outbreak, Malt-O-Meal cereal outbreak, Sun Orchard orange juice outbreak, and Linh’s Bakery outbreak. Marler Clark has also obtained record verdicts and settlements on behalf of thousands of people infected with Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, hepatitis A, Listeria, Shigella, and Campylobacter. Total recoveries to date on behalf of victims are in excess of $100 million. See also www.about-salmonella.com, www.foodborneillness.com, and www.salmonellablog.com.

More about the Paramount Farms almond Salmonella outbreak can be found in the Case News area of this site.