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Class Action Against Con Agra is Nationwide
Class Action News | 2007/03/26 16:18

Plaintiffs counsel Kathryn E. Barnett announced today that 32 consumers, including the parents of nine children that became seriously ill after eating Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter, spanning 16 states filed an amended class action complaint today against the international food conglomerate ConAgra Foods, Inc. The proposed class consists of all persons nationwide that contracted Salmonella Tennessee from eating ConAgras contaminated peanut butter, which was all manufactured and packaged in a single location ConAgras plant in Sylvester, Georgia.

"This case shows that the number of 425 persons made ill from eating Salmonella tainted peanut butter as reported by the Center for Diseases Control constitutes a gross underestimate," stated Kathryn Barnett of the national plaintiffs law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. "We believe thousands of consumers have been made sick over the past two years. Since the recall was announced in February, our law firm alone has been contacted by over a thousand persons that have reported symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, including fever, stomach cramps and severe diarrhea which in many cases required hospitalization."

The plaintiffs in the nationwide class action lawsuit reside in Albertville and Flomaton, Alabama; Cabot and Romance, Arkansas; Oakley, California; Manalapan, Palm City and Winter Garden, Florida; Chatsworth and Dalton, Georgia; Hymera, Indiana; Paducah, Kentucky; Lake Charles and Slidell, Louisiana; Holly Springs, Mississippi; Jackson, Ohio; Camden, Friendship and Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Texas; Manning and Newberry, South Carolina; Jackson, Ohio; Grandview, Washington; and Lenore, West Virginia. The case, entitled Ware v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., is before the Federal court in Rome, Georgia.

"My husband and I were terrified when our son became so sick. We called our pediatrician and raced to the Emergency Room with him, stated plaintiff Kelli Hamman of Flomaton, Alabama. I never dreamed it could have been caused by peanut butter. I don't understand why my son and other children had to suffer like this, and I hope ConAgra will take responsibility and answer to every family that has suffered."

Ms. Barnett advised consumers: "If you have suffered symptoms of contaminated peanut butter, do not discard the evidence; instead mark the peanut butter with 'Do Not Eat' or 'Contaminated' and make certain the jar is stored in a safe place that is beyond the reach of children. The peanut butter can be tested for the presence of Salmonella."

Representing the plaintiffs are Kathryn E. Barnett of the Nashville, Tennessee office of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP; Clay Jenkins of Jenkins & Jenkins, PC, of Waxahachie, Texas; and Robert H. Smalley, III, of the Dalton, Georgia law firm of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, LLP.

Consumers stricken by Salmonella poisoning who wish to learn more about the lawsuit and report their experiences to plaintiffs' counsel should visit or contact injury attorney Kathryn E. Barnett toll-free at 1-866-313-1973.

Members of the media who wish to receive a copy of the complaint should contact Brandan De Coteau at

Law Firm Getting Many Submissions For Pet Food
Class Action News | 2007/03/24 05:23

A Madison law firm that filed a class-action lawsuit in the wake of a massive recall over contaminated pet food said it has been getting many submissions. Progressive Law Group, LLC, filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this week. The firm said that it's getting 20 to 30 submissions on their Web site every hour and that they are now working with attorneys across the country in the handling of the case.

"The stories are so tragic our staff numbers are sorting out the information and they actually broke into tears," said Frank Jablonski, an attorney with Progressive Law Group, LLC. "This is an enormous mess-up by these companies and the amount of tragedies by these companies is huge and terrible."

Meanwhile, the company at the center of the recall is speaking out for the first time since the recall.

"Our hearts go out to the thousands of pet owners across Canada and the United States for their losses and their worries," said Paul Henderson, president and CEO of Menu Foods.

The company said it is grateful that investigators have finally pinpointed a cause. Investigators said that rat poison contaminated the pet food.

The manufacturer said it will take responsibility for veterinary costs linked to the tainted food.

As of Friday, the contaminated pet food has been blamed for at least 17 animal deaths. That number represents the confirmed cases, so the number of deaths could increase much more, WISC-TV reported.

Scientists said the Menu Foods brand of wet and gravy style food was contaminated by rat poison, but they don't know how the poison got into the food.

For information on the pet food lawsuit, visit

Class-action lawsuit launched over pet food
Class Action News | 2007/03/23 16:59

Jacqueline Johnson of Madison, Wisconsin filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming that Menu Foods, Inc. produced and distributed dangerous pet food. More than 95 pet owners have joined a class-action lawsuit against Menu Foods Inc., saying it produced and distributed pet food that might be dangerous, and possibly deadly, to animals.

The complaint contends her gray tabby, Gumbie, became ill after eating food from an Iams Select Bites pouch in early February. Gumbie became lethargic, refused food and lost weight, she said, and a veterinarian diagnosed acute renal failure. The cat was "pet-hospitalized" and prescribed intravenous fluids.

Johnson told CNN she considers herself lucky. "Thankfully we got her to the vet in time. My cat was very ill, but there are lots of people around the country whose pets have died or been euthanized."

Since coming home, Gumbie has required a great deal of care. "It is stressful to have to stick a needle in the cat every day," said Johnson, who has had to administer daily subcutaneous fluid-and-drip injections since bringing Gumbie home.

Gumbie is likely to require medical tests and monitoring every few months, and Johnson expects this will increase her expenses considerably. She said she already has paid more than $3,000 in veterinary bills.

Johnson's attorney, Frank Jablonski of Progressive Law Group, said more than 95 people have joined the suit since it was filed, and he expects many more.

"We have all the clients we need," he said. "We wouldn't bring a lawsuit that we are not confident we will win." The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. Courts will have to certify the class and what venue will hear the case.

Menu Foods spokesperson Sam Bornstein declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the company has received tens of thousands of consumer inquiries and is doing its best to respond to them. "Our hearts go out to many thousands of pet owners, some of them for their losses and some for their worry," he said.

Menu Foods announced the precautionary recall March 16. The recall affects dog and cat food manufactured between December 3 and March 6, and is limited to "cuts and gravy" style pet food in cans and pouches produced at its plants in Kansas and New Jersey. The food is packaged under a wide variety of brand names.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and Menu Foods have been unable to identify the root cause of the problem, but the FDA said Tuesday that officials were focusing on a recent supply of wheat gluten as the likely culprit.

FDA confirms salmonella came from peanut butter
Class Action News | 2007/02/24 18:33

An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning that has sickened 329 people and sent 51 of them to the hospital was definitely caused by contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday. The FDA has warned consumers not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May of last year and to throw out any Great Value brand -- sold by Wal-Mart Inc. -- with the lot number 2111 on the lid.

"Product testing by several states has now confirmed that Peter Pan peanut butter and certain Great Value brand peanut butter are the sources of the foodborne illness outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee that began in August 2006," the FDA said in a statement released late on Friday.

"To date 329 individuals have become ill from consuming the contaminated peanut butter, and 51 of those persons were hospitalized."

The FDA said the outbreak was still going on. "Potentially contaminated products include 3/4 ounce and 1.1 ounce single serving packs of Peter Pan brand peanut butter," the FDA said.

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