Jensen Farms – the Colorado company whose cantaloupes were linked to last year’s Listeria outbreak that sickened 146 people and killed 36 – has indicated that it is likely to settle cases brought against it by 39 victims and their families.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, the grower says it is likely to opt for settlements with the 39 plaintiffs – represented by food safety attorney Bill Marler, publisher of Food Safety News – once its assets are freed up.
“I would say we are very close,” said Jim Markus, an attorney for Jensens, according to the Denver Post.
The company is offering victims $4 million in settlement money, half of which would come from its insurance policy. The remaining $2 million would come the insurers of the equipment company that allegedly supplied Jensen with used equipment and Primus labs, the safety auditor who allegedly failed to discover contamination problems at the facility that likely led to the outbreak.
“My goal is to make those responsible for the largest food borne death toll in 100 years be legally and morally responsible for a fair resolution of my clients claims,” said Marler in a statement to Food Safety News.
The Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Farms’ cantaloupes officially lasted from July 31 of last year, when onset of the first reported illness was recorded, until October. But in the months that followed, two more victims died of complications from Listeria infections tied to the outbreak.© Food Safety News