Listeria Lawsuit

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You rightfully expect your food to be safe, but sometimes manufacturers, packagers, suppliers, grocery stores, or others sell tainted food with Listeria and other foodborne illnesses. An experienced attorney can help you identify who is responsible for your condition and assist you in filing a Listeria lawsuit seeking compensation for damages, such as past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and, in the worst cases, wrongful death.

Listeria monocytogenes are bacteria that lead to infections called listeriosis when ingested. Most cases of Listeria infections are not severe, but pregnant women, newborns, people who are immunocompromised, and the elderly can face serious infections that lead to severe illness and even death.

You may also face financial and emotional hardship if you or a loved one experienced a severe Listeria infection. An experienced lawyer can help you file a Listeria lawsuit and pursue compensation.

Can You Sue for a Listeria Infection?

You can file a lawsuit if you get Listeria from the food purchased from someone else, such as at a restaurant or grocery store. You must prove that you suffered damages, such as medical bills or lost wages.

Each state has different laws regarding safety procedures and negligence in food poisoning cases. Partner with a Listeria lawyer who knows your state’s laws and has experience handling these cases. If you file a suit against the wrong person or do not file on time, you could lose your right to pursue compensation regardless of your damages.

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If You Have Been Made Sick by Another Company’s Fault!

What Is Listeria?

Listeria is a common name for the foodborne illness listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria, causes this illness that starts in the gastrointestinal tract. Listeria monocytogenes can be found in soil, water, and decaying vegetation. It resists many ways to kill germs in foods, such as salt, smoke, or acidity. 

Unlike many other bacteria, Listeria can continue to grow and multiply even when foods are refrigerated, making it especially dangerous. It can live in food processing plants for years. You get listeriosis by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria.

When it is in the gastrointestinal tract, Listeria can lead to minor symptoms in healthy people. Others in high-risk groups develop invasive infections that spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract, potentially leading to much more severe symptoms and illnesses.

Listeria Symptoms

In the United States, about 1,600 people become ill with listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. Minor cases lead to listeriosis symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. They generally do not lead to hospitalization. When Listeria spreads to the nervous system, it can cause additional symptoms, such as confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. 

Invasive listeriosis spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract, putting those affected in danger of contracting illnesses such as septicemia and meningitis. Invasive listeriosis can lead to illness in pregnant women, as well as miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature deliveries. It can also cause bacteremia or meningitis in their newborns. Fetal deaths happen in about 20 percent of cases, and newborns die in about 3 percent.

Foods That Carry Listeria

Unpasteurized dairy products, like yogurt, are the primary source of Listeria bacteria in food. It is also found in uncooked meats, vegetables, and foods contaminated after cooking, such as deli meats, hot dogs, soft cheeses, and smoked seafood. Popular foods like pizza that has been contaminated can carry Listeria. Pasteurization and cooking can kill Listeria, but it may be reintroduced before packaging. It is important to know what causes Listeria and how we can prevent it.

Listeriosis and High-Risk Groups

Several groups are at higher risk of contracting listeriosis, including:

Healthy bodies can usually clear Listeria through normal immune system responses, limiting its spread. However, in immunocompromised people, Listeria goes uncontrolled and spreads through the bloodstream to other organs, such as the liver and spleen. In pregnant women, Listeria is carried through the bloodstream into the placenta and the fetus.

Listeria Outbreaks

One of the most significant Listeria outbreaks in the U.S. was in 1985. It was linked to soft cheeses containing unpasteurized milk and resulted in 142 illnesses, 28 deaths, and 20 fetal losses. Another deadly outbreak was linked to Listeria in cantaloupes in 2011. It led to at least 147 cases, 143 hospitalizations, and 33 deaths across 28 states. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks past and current Listeria outbreaks. In 2023, it reported outbreaks related to:

Liability in a Listeria Lawsuit

Listeria contamination could happen at innumerable points in food supply chains, resulting in potential liability for:

All sorts of things can lead to contaminated products in the food production chain. Unsanitary conditions, failure to store food at safe temperatures, poorly trained workers, failure to clean food before packaging, and not cooking food to appropriate temperatures can all lead to Listeria outbreaks.

How Much Is a Listeria Lawsuit Worth?

It is difficult to predict and impossible to guarantee the amount of compensation you can win in a Listeria lawsuit. However, an experienced Listeria lawyer can give you an idea of what your case might be worth after learning more about your specific situation. Ultimately, they can help you pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damage, including:

A minor case of Listeria with a short hospitalization may result in a few thousand dollars worth of damages. One involving prolonged hospitalization, long-term health problems, or death could result in millions of dollars in damages.

A Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell Creameries resulted in the company recalling all of its products in 2015. While individual settlements are not reported for this case, the federal government ordered the company to pay $20 million in fines.

Other cases include a $4 million award for the family of a woman who died due to Listeria in Big Olaf Creamery products. Another Listeria illness resulted in a $1.1 million award for the family of someone who died after eating Listeria-contaminated celery from Sangar Produce & Processing Company.

Contact an attorney immediately if you suspect you became sick from a foodborne illness. You may otherwise have difficulty recovering damages, especially if the company goes bankrupt trying to compensate other victims in a widespread outbreak.

What Do You Need To Prove in a Listeria Lawsuit?

The strategy your attorney takes will be based on the specifics of your case and the relevant laws in your state. The following legal theories may come into play in food poisoning cases:

  1. Negligence – Suppliers may be liable for your Listeria because they were negligent in handling your food. They have a duty to keep consumers safe, and if they breach that duty and cause you harm, you can sue for damages. 
  2. Strict Liability – In some cases, food suppliers may be held “strictly liable” regardless of whether they were negligent.
  3. Breach of Warranty – Food items come with an express or implied warranty of safety. So, if food is tainted with Listeria, you can claim a breach of warranty.

By accessing business food safety records, as well as collecting witness and expert testimony, your lawyer can help prove who is responsible for your Listeria.

How Long Do You Have to File a Listeria Lawsuit?

The time limit for filing your Listeria lawsuit is known as the statute of limitations and varies by state. If you do not file your case on time, a judge will most likely throw it out, regardless of its merits. Depending on your jurisdiction, you may have as little as one year to file. Though there are exceptions to these strictly enforced deadlines, it is best to consult with an attorney before relying on them in case they do not apply to your case.  

Should I File a Listeria Lawsuit?

You may have the right to sue for compensation if you contract Listeria after consuming food you rightly expect to be safe. If you have medical bills, lost wages, or other damages, the responsibility for the financial burden of your Listeria diagnosis may lie with another party.

Remember, lawsuits also help hold manufacturers accountable for their unsafe food practices. Without this added pressure, these companies may continue producing or preparing foods in unsafe conditions, putting profits over people. 

Your Listeria lawsuit may also trigger a wider investigation into how you got sick, prompting others to come forward. If media outlets and health department officials reach out, your voice could help keep others safe. 

An experienced Listeria lawyer will know what evidence to collect and how to hold those responsible for your illness accountable. They will also understand the laws that apply to listeria lawsuits in your state.

Contact us for help filing a Listeria lawsuit. We will connect you with an experienced lawyer who can explain your full legal rights and options.


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