I know lawyers suffer from an image problem. Most people think we spend our weekend on fancy golf courses or driving jet boats around tropical isles. I actually like driving jet boats at high speed. I had one once. But I don’t have any time anymore, especially in the aftermath of each of these continued outbreaks.
The letter that follows is to Mr. Townsend at Townsend Farms in Oregon, the company that produced the frozen berry product that gave their consumers the troubling liver disease we call hepatitis A.
As you are aware, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked 79 hepatitis A illnesses in 8 states to the consumption of Townsend Farms Frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend products. This number is expected to continue to rise.
The Marler Clark law firm represents over two dozen of these people, and their families, who are suffering from, or recovering from, their acute hepatitis A illnesses. Two individual personal injury lawsuits have been filed – in California and Arizona to date. We expect to file more.
Costco indicates that it sold at least 330,000 bags of your product across the country. In addition, Harris Teeter stores sold your product under a different label but have so far not been linked to hepatitis A illnesses. Since the hepatitis A outbreak was announced on May 31, 2013, and the recall of your product was announced on June 3, 2013, it is likely that tens of thousands of individuals have either received blood tests to determine whether they were infected by hepatitis A, or received hepatitis A vaccination or immune globulin injections.
On behalf of several putative class representatives, Marler Clark has filed, or will file, class actions in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Washington. These class actions seek to recover damages on behalf of people who have had blood testing, or received vaccinations or injections to prevent the onset of symptoms. We intend to file a similar class action in Oregon, under theories including strict product liability, breach of express and implied warranties, negligence and negligence per se.
Before filing the enclosed complaint, however, on behalf of putative class representatives in Oregon, and pursuant to the notice requirement of Civil Rule 32H, specifically sections 1(A) and 1(B), we are required to send you this notification letter to demand relief before filing suit. We ask that Townsend Farms do the following:
- Admit that Townsend Farms Frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend Products are the source of the hepatitis A outbreak reported by the CDC;
- Pay the amount of any bill or cost charged to any person who has had blood tested for the presence of hepatitis A, or to any person who has been vaccinated or received an immune globulin injection,due to his or her consumption of your product and/or exposure to another person who consumed your product. Also, to the same group of people, pay the amount of all other general, special, incidental and consequential damages incurred as the direct and proximate result of their consumption of your product;
- Reimburse Costco for any and all costs expended by it to ensure that people exposed to your product, either directly or secondarily, have received necessary blood testing to determine the presence of hepatitis A virus, or received vaccination or immune globulin injection;
- Reimburse any state, local, or federal health organization for all costs expended to ensure that people exposed to your product, either directly or secondarily, have received necessary blood testing to determine the presence of hepatitis A virus, or received vaccination or immune globulin injection;
- Reimburse any state, local, or federal health organization for all costs expended in the investigation of the hepatitis A outbreak;
- Revise the labeling on the Townsend Farms Frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend Products to more clearly inform the consumer that it may contain component parts that are not grown in the United States, and;
- Donate $50,000 to Stop Foodborne Illness to assist in food safety education.
We look forward to your prompt response.