One lawsuit has been filed against Walmart and Chamberlain Farms, of Owensville, Indiana, on behalf of two children, siblings, who were diagnosed with Salmonella Typhimurium after eating cantaloupe purchased at a Michigan Walmart store. Another lawsuit has has been filed against Chamberlain Farms on behalf of another child from Michigan. According to the lawsuits, the children are part of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium infections that have been linked to cantaloupe grown by Chamberlain Farms and distributed to retailers, including Walmart, in several states.
Kentucky has been hardest hit, with over 50 confirmed cases of illness and two deaths. To date, the CDC has reported illnesses in the following states: Alabama (13), Arkansas (3), California (2), Georgia (3), Illinois (21), Indiana (18), Iowa (7), Kentucky (56), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (6), Minnesota (4), Mississippi (5), Missouri (12), New Jersey (2), North Carolina (3), Ohio (4), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (6), Texas (2), and Wisconsin (4).
These lawsuits represent the first of many that attorneys anticipate will be filed on behalf of the more than 170 victims of the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak. “Victims of this outbreak and their families should be compensated for medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, emotional distress and other damages,” said attorney Fred Pritzker, national Salmonella lawyer and food safety advocate. “Businesses responsible for growing and selling contaminated food need to be held accountable, and these lawsuits accomplish that.”
According to Pritzker, who represents Salmonella food poisoning victims throughout the United States, these kinds of cases generally make claims under three theories of liability: strict liability, negligence and breach of contract. “Food sold for human consumption should be always be free of dangerous pathogens like Salmonella,” said Pritzker.