Wal-Mart Sued Over Romaine E. Coli Outbreak

On Friday, Kevin Bonanno filed a complaint in the Western District of Virginia against Wal-Mart Inc., Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., Taylor Farms Retail, Inc. and Taylor Farms New Jersey, Inc. for injuries arising from the wrongful manufacturing, distribution and sale of salad products that were contaminated with E. coli.

According to the complaint, the defendant Wal-Mart is an Arkansas-based corporation that was engaged in the distribution and sale of a variety of products, including the “Marketside Chicken Caesar Salad Bowl.” Further, the complaint states that Taylor Farms is a California-based corporation that grew, distributed and sold vegetable products including ingredients of the “Marketside Chicken Caesar Salad Bowl” to Wal-Mart. 

The complaint states the plaintiff is a Virginia citizen who purchased and consumed three “Marketside Chicken Caesar Salad Bowls” from a Wal-Mart in Winchester, Virginia on November 8th, 2019. The plaintiff alleges that four days after consuming the Salad Bowls, on November 12th, 2019, he began experiencing symptoms associated with an E. coli infection. The complaint further purports that this is consistent with the three to four day average incubation period for E. coli. 

The complaint goes on to state the “Marketside Chicken Caesar Salad Bowls” were later recalled in response to an E. Coli outbreak in romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley region of California. The complaint reports that from November through December 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and public officials investigated an E. Coli outbreak that infected individuals from 27 different states. The complaint further states that the illnesses occurred between September 20th and December 21st, 2019 and evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley region of California was the likely source of the outbreak. 

The plaintiff alleges it is “highly likely” his November 12th illness was an unidentified case in the Salina Valley romaine E. Coli outbreak because he was exposed to a source associated with the outbreak, his symptoms manifested within the average incubation period and his illness occurred during the peak of the multistate outbreak associated with Salinas Valley romaine lettuce. However, the complaint does concede the fact that the plaintiff’s illness was not reported to the Virginia Department of Health and there was no determination if his E. coli infection was a genetic match to the Salinas Valley outbreak due to a lack of test results. 

The plaintiff alleges that he has and will continue to suffer extreme physical and emotional damages and has incurred and will continue to incur significant medical expenses and suffer lost wages as a direct and proximate result of consuming the defendants’ “tainted salad product.”

The plaintiff is requesting an award of $25 million in compensatory damages together with interest and costs alleging negligence, negligence per se, and violation of the Implied Warranty of Fitness and Wholesomeness, the Implied Warranty of of Merchantability and Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff is represented by Regan Zambri Long PLLC and Marler Clark, LLP.