Tainted Cantaloupe Death Leads to Federal Lawsuit Against Walmart
A man, whose wife died after eating a cantaloupe tainted with Listeria monocytogenes, removed his lawsuit against a local Walmart from state court, re-filing the action in federal court in an effort to control expenses. Frederick M. Lollar, of Sheridan, Wyoming, claims that the store is responsible for his wife’s death because they did not warn customers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recall of the products, despite pulling them from the store shelves after the Lollars had purchased one. One of 33 Deaths According to court documents, Lollar purchased the cantaloupe at the Sheridan Walmart around September 1, 2011. Lollar claims he ate about a quarter of the melon, while his wife consumed the rest. She became ill and died at a local hospital on September 19, 2011. Tests confirmed the presence of the bacteria. Mrs. Lollar’s death was one of 33 throughout the country linked to the contaminated cantaloupe, which came from a distributor in Colorado. Four people in Wyoming became ill, and two of them died, according to sources. What is Listeria? Listeriosis, a condition caused by eating foods that are contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, is considered a type of food poisoning. Contamination of vegetables or fruits occurs through soil or manure used as fertilizer, and animals can also carry the bacteria, causing contamination of meats or dairy products. The bacteria are especially harmful to pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage or premature delivery, and newborns can contract the illness if the mother is infected during pregnancy. Those with a compromised immune system and the elderly are also susceptible to serious illness and death due to the bacteria. No Warning to Customers Court documents claim that Walmart removed the cantaloupe from the shelves after the Lollars purchased the fruit, but did not notify customers of the potential contamination, despite a recall by the FDA that prompted the store to remove the melons. Attorneys for the Lollars say that the store had an obligation to notify customers of the contamination so that they could avoid eating any fruit purchased prior to the recall. Although the lawsuit is for an unspecified amount, many believe that the case could reach more than $75,000. When a foodborne bacteria causes illness or death a product liability claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an injury or death that may have been caused or worsened by foodborne bacteria.