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Salmonella death prompts suit against Union City firm

The daughter of a San Leandro woman who died of a salmonella infection last year has filed a lawsuit against U.F. Union International Food, which has a processing facility in Union City.

Donna Pierce, 69, contracted the infection from tainted pepper she ingested while she was recovering from lung surgery at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward. Her daughter, Tamara Lucier, 50, of Huntington Beach, is seeking unspecified damages on behalf of her family, including reimbursement of medical and funeral expenses.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.

Other defendants listed in the claim are Foodservice Partners of California LLC and Delaware-based companies Foodservice Partners Inc. and Sysco Corp.

"(Donna) had a close-knit family and they are devastated by the loss," said Drew Falkenstein, an attorney representing Lucier who is with Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark, which specializes in food safety law.

Pierce, who succumbed to complications from the infection in April, had four daughters and a sister, Falkenstein said. Her death was part of a salmonella outbreak last year that sickened at least 33 Californians and 87 West Coast residents, according to the lawsuit. An investigation by the California Department of Public Health found the outbreak came from white pepper manufactured, distributed and sold under several brand names by Union International.

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