Jensen Farms, the Colorado cantaloupe grower responsible for last year’s Listeria cantaloupe outbreak, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy filings list a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed against the farm that resulted from the outbreak that sickened 146 people and killed 36.
According to Jensen Farms’ bankruptcy lawyer, in an interview with the Denver Post, Jensen’s decision to file for bankruptcy will eventually free up millions of dollars in insurance money and other funds to pay victims.
Attorney and Food Safety News publisher Bill Marler represents 37 clients in the suit, including 12 of those who died.
Now, Marler said, they can move on to lawsuits against companies further down the supply chain: Frontera Produce, the cantaloupe distributor; retailers such as Walmart and Kroger; and Primus Labs, the third-party auditor whose subcontractor, Bio-Food Safety, gave Jensen Farms facilities a ‘superior’ inspection rating just six days before the outbreak began.
“Bankruptcy of Jensen Farms was a necessary prerequisite to allowing families of those who died and those who were injured to seek compensation against Frontera, Primus, suppliers and retailers,” Marler said.
The Jensen Farms Listeria outbreak was one of the deadliest foodborne illness outbreaks in the history of the United States.
Read the bankruptcy filings here.