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Second Hepatitis Lawsuit Against Townsend Farms and Costco in San Diego

by John Gomez | Last Updated: June 6, 2013

The Houston-based food safety law firm of Simon & Luke, with co-counsel Gomez & Iagmin, has filed another lawsuit stemming from a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak linked to consumption of frozen berries manufactured by Oregon-based Townsend Farms and sold at Costco stores.

The lawsuit was filed against Townsend Farms and Costco Corporation in the Superior Court of San Diego County, California on behalf of 58-year old El Cajon, California resident Cindy Wilson.  Ms. Wilson consumed Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend berries she had purchased at a Costco store in La  Mesa.  On May 6, she began to experience fatigue, dehydration, headaches, muscle and joint aches.  She was taken to her local Urgent Care Center on May 13 where she was examined, treated, and released shortly thereafter with a diagnosis of viral infection.   Over the next few days, she began to experience additional symptoms, including nausea, darkened urine, and yellowing of the eyes and skin.  After her symptoms did not improve, she was taken to her primary care physician on May 17 who, upon inspection, immediately instructed Plaintiff to go to Sharp Memorial Hospital for further treatment and evaluation.  At Sharp, she was given a CAT scan and chest X-ray, asked to submit blood samples, and was given IV fluids for dehydration and anti-nausea medication.  Doctors waited for the test results to determine exactly what was making Plaintiff so sick.  The answer would come from the local health department the next day – she had tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Plaintiff is still recovering from her Hepatitis A infection, and has additional treatment, including an ultrasound, scheduled in the coming weeks.

Plaintiff is a Supervising Investigator for the State of California – Department of Health Care Services.  She has not returned to work since her illness began.

Ms. Wilson is one of at least 49 victims in 7 states who contracted Hepatitis A after consuming frozen Townsend Farm berries.  The victims are located in California, Colorado, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah.  Per the CDC website, Hepatitis A is spread when food or drink contaminated by feces of an infected person is ingested by mouth.

Simon & Luke and Gomez Iagmin filed the first Hepatitis A lawsuit in the United States against Townsend Farms and Costco in Los Angeles on June 3 on behalf of a 51-year old resident of Lakewood, California.   Immediately thereafter, Townsend Farms issued a recall of the tainted berries.

Prior to the lawsuit, Costco had already begun notifying customers to discard the product, despite Townsend Farms’ refusal to acknowledge the link between the frozen berry mix and Hepatitis A illnesses.

Ron Simon, counsel for Ms. Wilson, issued the following statement today: “Costco and Townsend Farms have an obligation to make sure that the food they sell is free of human feces.  They failed that obligation, and will now have to answer for it.”

John H. Gomez, co-counsel, affirms “Californians deserve safe food. In case after case, we fight hard to ensure that it is.”

Simon & Luke currently represents dozens of victims involved in this outbreak, and anticipates filing many more lawsuits in the coming weeks.

About Ron Simon and Simon & Luke

Simon & Luke’s groundbreaking work on behalf of victims in several recent outbreaks (Peter Pan peanut butter, Castleberry’s chili, Nestle cookie dough, Peanut Corporation of America Peanut products, JBS Swift beef, Daniele salami, Subway sandwiches, Wright County Egg / Hillandale Farms eggs, Cargill ground turkey, Agromod papayas, Moon Marine sushi, and Firefly tapas, to name a few) have been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and virtually all other major television networks and print media.

The firm has represented over 5000 victims of food-borne outbreaks in the past five years alone, and has collected over$550,000,000 for its clients.

The firm regularly publishes articles about food safety and litigation at http://www.foodpoisoningnews.com, which are read by viewers in over 175 countries worldwide.

For media inquiries or more information on this outbreak and ongoing litigation, or for client interviews, please contact Ron Simon directly at (713) 819-8116 or ron@simonluke.com.

For San Diego attorney interviews, contact Yolanda S. Walther-Meade at (858)344.2337, or at yolandaselenewm@gmail.com


About Gomez Iagmin

Gomez Iagmin Trial Attorneys out of San Diego have represented victims of a wide variety of food borne illnesses. We have been involved in virtually every national food borne illness outbreak over the last 5 years, including Peter Pan peanut butter, Castleberry’s chili, Nestle cookie dough, Kellogg crackers, Subway sandwiches, Wright County Egg/Hillandale Farms eggs, and Jensen Farms cantaloupe.

For more information about the Gomez Iagmin, please visit www.gomeziagmin.com

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