Oklahoma Lawsuit Names Frontera Produce as Additional Defendant

Marler Clark, the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness, today filed a fourth Listeria lawsuit against Colorado-based Jensen Farms, whose Rocky Ford cantaloupe has been identified as the source of a multi-state Listeria outbreak. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the family of a Canadian County, Oklahoma man who died after eating Jensen Farms Rocky Ford cantaloupe, also names Frontera Produce, a Texas-based company that sold and distributed the Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe in Oklahoma.

According to the complaint, which was filed in Canadian County District Court, William T. Beach consumed cantaloupe produced and distributed by the defendants in early August. Mr. Beach subsequently fell ill and was taken to the hospital by ambulance after his wife, Monette, found him collapsed on the kitchen floor, unable to speak or breathe regularly on August 28. Mr. Beach was discharged from the hospital two days later, but his condition worsened and he was again rushed to the hospital, where he died during a routine intubation procedure. The Oklahoma State Department of Health later contacted Mr. Beach’s wife and six daughters to inform them that he had tested positive for Listeria.

“The story of William Beach’s death is simply heartbreaking,” said Beach Family attorney William Marler. “While the companies at fault can’t bring Mr. Beach back, we think that the least Jensen Farms and Frontera can do in this instance step up and compensate his family for their loss.”

William Beach’s death is one of eight confirmed deaths in a Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe that has so far sickened 55 people in 14 states. On September 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had found evidence of Listeria contamination at Jensen Farms, a company that produces approximately 40% of all Rocky Ford cantaloupe distributed throughout the United States.

“Food companies have a responsibility to produce wholesome, unadulterated food. Jensen Farms and Frontera should know the risks associated with producing and distributing fresh produce like cantaloupe,” added Marler, who has represented victims of past cantaloupe-related foodborne illness outbreaks. “The bottom line is that this outbreak should have been avoided and people like Mr. Beach should still be enjoying life with their families.”