Lawsuits have begun piling up all over the country. A woman in Katy, Texas has filed a lawsuit claiming that the contaminated peanut butter made her sick. She fell ill after eating peanut butter on her pancakes and was hospitalized shortly afterwards. Her lawsuit claims that ConAgra was negligent in allowing the outbreak because the company knew the peanut butter could easily become tainted by salmonella. The plaintiff is asking for $10,000 to cover her medical bills, plus $65,000 for pain and suffering.
A Kentucky man has filed a lawsuit after eating contaminated peanut butter. His suit is seeking class action status on behalf of anyone who suffered from gastrointestinal problems from eating Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter. The man's lawsuit alleges that ConAgra did not maintain sanitary conditions when preparing its peanut butter and did not warn people of the danger of salmonella poisoning. He is requesting a trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages. In Chicago, a family has filed a lawsuit after a mother and two children fell so ill after eating peanut butter that they required emergency medical services.
At least one lawsuit has been filed claiming that eating contaminated peanut butter resulted in the death of a woman. A family in Pennsylvania has filed a negligence and wrongful-death lawsuit against ConAgra Foods Inc., alleging that the victim's death was the result of salmonella contracted from peanut butter. The woman was hospitalized with gastrointestinal problems and developed a bacterial infection. She died on January 30. Her husband and daughter also became ill after eating the peanut butter.
Meanwhile, an attorney from Seattle has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of people who were injured after eating the contaminated peanut butter. This lawsuit will represent people who fell ill after eating the peanut butter but did not require hospitalization. More serious injuries, such as those that required hospitalization, will be handled in a separate lawsuit.
Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter brands with product codes beginning with 2111 were recalled after officials discovered they were contaminated with salmonella. The outbreak made almost 300 people ill, although a firm in Seattle has reported that they have been contacted by almost 2,500 people regarding the lawsuit. It is not yet known how the salmonella contamination occurred.
Initially, the recall only included peanut butter bought since May 2006; however the recall has now been expanded to include products that were purchased as early as October 2004. The recall was also expanded to include peanut butter toppings.
Salmonella can cause nausea and diarrhea but usually clears up within a week.