Law360 reports that Maryland Casualty Co. has asked a Pennsylvania federal court Friday to limit its liability to $2 million for its insured’s, Fallon Trading Co.’s, role in brokering a shipment of pomegranate seeds from Untied Juice/ GoKnur from Turkey that sickened 162 consumers with hepatitis A and caused at least 25,000 to seek preventative vaccines. Fallon sold the seeds to Purely Pomegranate, which then sold them to Townsend Farms Corp., which sold them to Costco.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July identified GoKnur’s pomegranate seeds as the most likely source of last year’s hepatitis A outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found at least 162 people from 10 states became ill from the infected seeds. The FDA and the CDC announced the outbreak in late May 2013, linking it to a frozen fruit blend made by the Oregon berry grower Townsend Farms Corp. Another Oregon company, Scenic Fruit Co., recalled its frozen organic pomegranate kernels after the agencies found they may be contaminated with hepatitis A. Pomegranate seeds from Goknur were the only ingredient common to all of the recalled products, according to the FDA.
Maryland Casualty is seeking a declaratory judgment that despite a $4 million aggregate limit in its policy, it is required to indemnify Fallon for only $2 million because of a cap on occurrence liability. Maryland Casualty argues that even though there are thousands of claims, they all stem from one accident.