Header graphic for print
Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

Marler: Townsend Farms Should Pay Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs and Lost Wages

SEATTLE, WA — Bill Marler, attorney for victims of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak traced to a frozen berry and pomegranate mix made by Townsend Farms, called on the company today to pay all outbreak victims’ out-of-pocket medical costs and lost wages to cover missed time off work while caring for themselves or family members suffering from hepatitis A infections.  According to a June 19 update to the CDC website, “Multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A infections potentially associated with ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ frozen berry and pomegranate mix,” at least 110 people in 7 states have fallen ill with hepatitis A infections as part of the outbreak traced to the Townsend Farms product.

Marler, who represents sixty-three of individuals who claim to have become ill with hepatitis A infections after eating the frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix, noted that all of his clients had sought medical treatment, with some requiring hospitalization due to the severity of their hepatitis A infections.  Some have missed several weeks of work.  Marler Clark has filed 6 lawsuits on behalf of ill persons in Arizona, California and Washington.[1]

Marler Clark also has filed Class Action on behalf of those who received blood draws to test for recent hepatitis A exposure, or who received hepatitis A vaccines or immune globulin shots to prevent the illness.[2]

“We’ve seen other responsible companies step up to the plate and pay our clients’ medical bills and lost wages up front in the past.  It’s the right thing to do,” he said.

After the initial onset of Hepatitis A infection, which includes muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, fever and malaise, people infected with the virus become jaundiced.  This yellowing of the skin and eyes is a sign that liver function is impaired, and can last for several weeks to months after the onset of symptoms.  In general, people with hepatitis A usually recover within 2 months; however, 10 to 15 percent of people who fall ill have prolonged or relapsing disease for up to 6 months.  [Source:  About-Hepatitis.com]

“Even for people with health insurance, medical bills can cause a financial strain.  That’s especially true if a person misses time from work and does not receive paid time off.  Townsend Farms’ failure to produce a safe product impacts not only my clients’ physical health but potentially also their financial health,” Marler continued.  “The company should make an effort to restore its customers’ financial health as soon as possible.”

BACKGROUND:  William Marler and the attorneys at Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks.  The law firm has recovered over $600 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims of foodborne illness.

1. Individual Lawsuits

  • Arizona:  Maricopa County Superior Court Case No. CV2013-008589 and Pima County Superior Court Case No. 2:13-CV-001146-MEA
  • California:  San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2013-00051417-CU-PL-CTL, San Diego County Superior Court Case No. 37-2013-00052490-CU-PL-NC, Yolo County Superior Court Case No. YOSU CVPO 130001067 and Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. 8C512593
  • Colorado:  Arapahoe County District Court Case No. 13CV30211
  • Washington:  Snohomish County Superior Court Case No. 13-2-05597-8

2.  Class Action Lawsuits

  • Arizona:  Pima County Superior Court Case No. C20133225
  • California:  Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2013-00654042-CU-MT-CXC
  • Colorado:  El Paso County District Court Case No. 68E33494AEB36
  • Hawaii:  Hawaii Circuit Court Case No. 13-1-1683-06-VLC
  • Idaho:  Ada County District Court Case No. CV 0C 1310499
  • Nevada: Clark County District Court Case No. A-13-683473-C
  • New Mexico: Bernalillo County District Court Case No. D-202-CV-2013-04991
  • Oregon:  Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 130608425
  • Washington: King County Superior Court Case No. 13-2-22482-8 SEA