Jensen Farms Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak and Litigation
Marler Clark represents the families of 45 victims of the 2011 Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe grown by Jensen Farms. The law firm has pursued compensation from Jensen Farms, the firms that audited the farm’s food safety practices, the companies that distributed the Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes and the retailers that sold the unsafe food.
Jensen Farms declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on May 25, 2012. All Marler Clark clients’ claims with Jensen Farms were resolved through the bankruptcy proceedings; however, claims against other parties have yet to be resolved. Therefore, Marler Clark has filed or amended lawsuits on behalf of all 44 families in July and August of 2013. Those lawsuits were brought against multiple defendants in courts from 12 states. They are filed on behalf of the families of 28 people who died and 17 people who survived. The total medical expenses to date are in excess of $12,000,000.
All defendants named are entities who participated in the manufacture, distribution, and/or sale of the contaminated cantaloupe that caused injury.
Defendants named in these lawsuits include:
Walmart Stores, Inc. (“Walmart”), an Arkansas company that distributed and sold Jensen Farms Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe in Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and Montana.
The Kroger Co. (“Kroger”), an Ohio corporation that distributed and sold Jensen Farms Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe in Colorado, Louisiana, Texas and Missouri.
Dillon Companies, Inc. d/b/a “King Soopers” (“King Soopers”), a Kansas corporation that distributed and sold Jensen Farms Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe in Colorado.
Frontera Produce, Ltd., a Texas corporation that distributed and sold cantaloupe produced by Jensen Farms.
Primus Group, Inc. d/b/a “Primus Labs”, a California corporation that provided auditing services for agricultural and other businesses involved in the manufacture and sale of food products, including Jensen Farms. Primus retained the services of certain subcontractors, including a Texas company called Bio Food Safety, to provide auditing services, including at Jensen Farms’ ranchlands and packing facility on or about July 25, 2011, roughly one week before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the first victim of the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak.
CH Robinson Worldwide, Inc., a Minnesota company that distributed and sold cantaloupes grown by Jensen Farms to customers in the Midwest.
First Watch Restaurants, Inc., a Florida corporation that owned and operated the First Watch restaurant located at 4117 West 83rd, Prairie Village, Kansas.
Aldi, Inc., an Illinois corporation that sold Jensen Farm cantaloupes.
Freshpack Produce, Inc., a Colorado corporation that distributed, and sold cantaloupes to retail food stores in the State of Colorado.
Harps Food Stores, Inc., d/b/a “Price Cutter” (Price Cutter), an Arkansas company that sold cantaloupe.
Homeland Stores, Inc. (“Homeland”), an Oklahoma corporation that sold Jensen Farms cantaloupe.
Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (“AWG”), a Kansas corporation that distributed and sold cantaloupes to retail food stores in the State of Oklahoma.
Pruett’s Food, Inc. (“Pruett’s), an Oklahoma corporation that sold cantaloupe.
Sunflower Farmers Markets, LLC, (“Sunflower”), a Colorado corporation that sells food products in Colorado, including cantaloupe.
Lawsuits were filed in the following states:
*File-stamped copies of all complaints are being uploaded as they are returned to the Marler Clark offices.
The Jensen Farms Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak
On September 2, 2011, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) announced that it was investigating an outbreak of Listeriosis. By September 9, CDPHE had determined that the likely source of the Listeria outbreak was cantaloupe; on September 12, the public health agency stated that the cantaloupe had been grown in the Rocky Ford growing region of Colorado. It was later determined that the contaminated cantaloupes were grown by Jensen Farms of Holly, Colorado.
Jensen Farms recalled its Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes on September 14, 2011, in response to the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis.
On September 19, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it found Listeria monocytogenes in samples of Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupe taken from a Denver-area store and on samples taken from equipment and cantaloupe at the Jensen Farms packing facility. Tests confirmed that the Listeria monocytogenes found in the samples matched one of the multiple strains of Listeria monocytogenes associated with the multi-state outbreak of listeriosis.
By the time the Listeria outbreak was over, a total of 147 persons from 28 states had been infected with 5 outbreak-associated strains of Listeria monocytogenes.
- 142 Listeria outbreak victims were hospitalized.
- 33 people died.
- 1 woman pregnant at the time of illness had a miscarriage
- 7 of the illnesses were related to a pregnancy; 3 were diagnosed in newborns and 4 were diagnosed in pregnant women.