All News / Outbreaks /

New Mexico Widow Files Cantaloupe Listeria Lawsuit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The widow of a man who died from a Listeria infection has filed a lawsuit against Cantaloupe producer Jensen Farms. The lawsuit was filed by foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark in conjunction with the Albuquerque-based firm Sapien Law. Marler Clark has filed nine previous lawsuits in multiple states against the cantaloupe producer

According to a complaint filed in Bernalillo County District Court (#D-202-CV-2011-12566), 63-year old Rene Gaxiola consumed cantaloupe that was produced by Jensen Farms in the weeks leading up to his illness. On September 7, 2011, Mr. Gaxiola began experiencing symptoms of Listeria illness such as fever, chills, cramps, and diarrhea. The same day his condition worsened rapidly and his wife Susanna took him to Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, where he became disoriented, unable to communicate, and his temperature rose to over 106 degrees. Over the next three days Mr. Gaxiola’s condition continued to deteriorate and he died in the hospital on September 10. The lawsuit states that blood samples tested positive for a strain of Listeria associated with a multistate cantaloupe outbreak.

On December 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that at least 146 people had been made ill with Listeria as a result of consuming Jensen Farms cantaloupe. At least 30 deaths and one miscarriage have been attributed to the Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe.

The lawsuit also names distributor Frontera Produce as well as food safety auditors Primus Labs and Bio Food Safety as defendants. According to news reports, just days before the outbreak the auditors gave Jensen Farms a 96% score on the farm’s facilities audit. However, on October 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a contradictory report of its own, detailing unsanitary conditions and rampant Listeria contamination inside the Jensen Farms packing facility.

“This outbreak has shined a bright spotlight on third party food safety auditors,” said Marler Clark Listeria attorney William Marler. “For some time, those of us with knowledge of the food industry have questioned their validity. Perhaps now, with 30 dead, it is time to reexamine their role in food safety.”

MARLER CLARK is the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness. The firm’s food poisoning attorneys have unrivaled experience and have secured over $600,000,000 for their clients, including a recent $1.1 million Listeria judgment. For more information or, if you are a member of the media and would like to view a copy of the complaint, contact Cody Moore at 1-206-407-2200 or

[1] Colorado El Paso County District Court # 2011CV5007; Colorado Arapahoe County District Court # 2011CV1891; Texas Brazoria County District Court #65009; Canadian County District Court #CJ-2011-709; U.S. District Court Maryland #1:11-CV-2810; Federal District Court Oklahoma #11-348SPS; Missouri District Court #4:11-cv-04280-FJG; Dallas County District Court #DC11-13866; Lea County District Court #CV-1011-1074.

Get Help

Affected by an outbreak or recall?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

Get a free consultation
Related Resources
Listeria Food Poisoning

What is Listeria and how does it cause food poisoning? Listeria is a gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium that is ubiquitous and can grow under either anaerobic (without oxygen) or aerobic (with...

The Incidence of Listeria Infections

How common are Listeria infections? Listeria bacteria are found widely in the environment in soil, including in decaying vegetation and water, and may be part of the fecal flora of...

The Prevalence of Listeria in Food and the Environment

Listeria bacteria are common in nature. Listeria monocytogenes is omnipresent in nature; it is found widely in such places as water, soil, infected animals, human and animal feces, raw and...

Transmission of and Infection with Listeria

Listeria typically spreads to people through contaminated food or water, but can also be transmitted from mother to fetus. Except for the transmission of mother to fetus, human-to-human transmission of...

Who is Most at Risk of Becoming Ill with Listeria?

The elderly, pregnant women, and anyone immunocompromised is most at risk for contracting Listeria. Several segments of the population are at increased risk and need to be informed so that...

Outbreak Database

Looking for a comprehensive list of outbreaks?

The team at Marler Clark is here to answer all your questions. Find out if you’re eligible for a lawsuit, what questions to ask your doctor, and more.

View Outbreak Database