The attorneys of the Seattle-based Food Safety Law Firm, Marler Clark, and McMichael, Medlin, D’Anna, Wedgeworth & Lafargue filed a Listeria lawsuit yesterday against Frontera Produce, the distributor of cantaloupes that the FDA identified as the source of a nationwide Listeria outbreak in September 2011; Primus Group, a company that provided auditing services for Jensen Farms, the grower of Jensen Farms/Frontera Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe; and, Kroger, the grocery store were the tainted cantaloupe was purchased. In the 2011 Listeria cantaloupe outbreak the CDC reported that 147 people were sickened in 28 states. The CDC also reported at least 33 people died, including two in Louisiana.

The lawsuit was filed in the 26th Judicial District Court, Bossier Parish, Louisiana (No. 139958) on behalf of Kathleen Buchanan; personal representative of the estate of Frances Gilbert. The complaint alleges that Frances Gilbert consumed Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe grown by Jensen Farms and distributed by Frontera Produce, and that the cantaloupe caused her to become infected with Listeria and suffer injury and death as a direct result.

Frances Gilbert was a resident of Bossier City, Louisiana and in August and September 2011 she purchased and ate Jensen Farms’ Rocky Ford brand cantaloupe. Ms. Gilbert began feeling ill on September 14, 2011 with vomiting, diarrhea and general malaise. She began to feel worse and was transferred to the hospital where she tested positive for Listeria. Ms. Gilbert’s condition continued to deteriorate until she passed away on September 22, 2011. Medical bills were in excess of $50,000. She leaves behind husband, Allen Gilbert, daughter, Kathleen Buchanan and son, James Gilbert.

“The grower, Jensen Farms, has filed for bankruptcy. It is now the responsibility of those in the entire chain of distribution to be responsible for shipping, inspecting and selling a tainted product,” said, William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “The bottom line is that in the United States today you should not die from eating a cantaloupe,” Marler added.

MARLER CLARK is the nation’s leading law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness. Marler Clark represents 44 individuals and families of victims of the 2011 Listeria cantaloupe outbreak. For more information or, if you are a member of the media and would like to have a copy of the complaint, contact please contact, Suzanne Schreck or (206) 346-1888.