Marler Clark filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of seven people who became ill with Salmonella Enteriditis infections after eating Paramount Farms raw almonds between September, 2003 and May, 2004. The lawsuit was filed in the South Judicial District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Case No. NC036770).
All seven plaintiffs had Salmonella infections linked to almonds manufactured and sold by Paramount Farms. Paramount Farms recalled roughly eighteen million pounds of almonds in May, 2004 after the CDC traced the Salmonella illnesses of 29 people in twelve states and Canada to consumption of Paramount’s raw almonds between September, 2003 and May, 2004.
“We have been working to settle our clients’ Salmonella claims against Paramount Farms for almost a year now,” said William Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark. “Unfortunately, Paramount has not made reasonable offers to our clients to settle their claims”
The plaintiffs are residents of California, Washington, and Arizona. Marler Clark previously filed Salmonella lawsuits against Paramount Farms on behalf of a Kennewick, Washington family and a Renton, Washington, man who suffered from reactive arthritis, a complication of Salmonella infection.
“At this point, we feel that the only chance of obtaining just compensation for our clients is letting a jury decide the value of these claims,” Marler concluded.

As the Associated Press’ article Kennewick family sues almond producer reported today, a Kennewick family has sued California-based almond producer Paramount Farms, alleging the mother and two young children were sickened by salmonella-tainted almonds. Shawnna Morris and her two young children got sick in February after she purchased a package of raw almonds, produced by Paramount, at a store in Kennewick, in southeast Washington. All three were diagnosed with salmonella enteritidis.

Both Shawnna Morris and her 3-year-old daughter ate the nuts, said lawyer Bill Marler of Seattle. He alleges the family’s 1-year-old son became ill from contact with his mother and sister.

Federal regulators have received reports of 25 people falling ill, most likely from raw almonds supplied by Paramount. The company has voluntarily recalled 13 million pounds of raw almonds nationwide, and the size of the recall appeared likely to grow as federal investigators continue to identify distributors and repackagers of almonds that originated from Paramount.

The recall covers millions of packages sold under a variety of brand names across the country, as well as almonds shipped to eight countries. The FDA has received reports of salmonella enteritidis in at least six states so far. No fatalities have been reported.

Young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to infection from salmonella. Symptoms include fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Salmonella in almonds is rare. This is only the second reported outbreak. So far, investigators have found no trace of salmonella in any of the recalled almonds or at Paramount. Experts say it is possible the outbreak may never be traced to its source.

Warren King, Seattle Times medical reporter, reported today that tainted almonds have sicken four Washington residents, including a mother and her two children in Kennewick and a Seattle man. Health authorities said recent investigations showed they suffered acute intestinal illness stemming from the almonds. Their cases were among two dozen reports of the illness in 10 states.

Some 13 million pounds of the nuts supplied by Paramount Farms of California and packaged under a variety of brands have been recalled.

Investigators have found no trace of salmonella in any of the recalled almonds or at Paramount, investigators say, and it’s possible the outbreak’s source may never be found.

Scott and Shawna Morris, of Kennewick, this week filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Spokane against Paramount. Their Seattle-based attorney, Bill Marler, said Shawna Morris and her 3-year-old daughter, Crew, contracted the illness from eating the nuts in February. The couple’s 1-year-old son, Brek, then became ill from contact with his mother and sister. Marler said Shawna Morris was hospitalized for two days with the illness, salmonella enteritis, which can cause headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and dehydration.

A man in his 50s was very ill in November from eating the tainted almonds, said Matias Valenzuela, a spokesman for Public Health Seattle & King County. Officials would not reveal other details for privacy reasons.

Authorities said all of the Washington cases stemmed from eating almonds sold at Costco under the Kirkland Signature brand. Costco has mailed about 1.2 million letters to members worldwide about the recall. The recalled almonds were in packages with “best (used) by” dates from Aug. 21, 2004, through March 15, 2005.

The recall has expanded to more companies and additional “best by” dates since the initial announcement of the tainted raw almonds on May 18. Besides Kirkland Signature, other brands and stores affected in Washington state include:

Trader Joe’s and Sunkist brands Aug. 24, 2004, through May 20, 2005.

Gold Shield brand 2.5-ounce bags: Lot 4049, best used by February 2005; Lot 4120, best used by April 2005; and Lot 4139, best used by May 2005. Eight-ounce bags: Lot 3294, best used by October 2004; and Lot 3321, best used by November 2004.

As Bee Staff Writer Mike Lee reported today, the FDA says more outlets are likely affected by the Kern County product. My firm filed suit Monday against Paramount Foods, whose raw almonds are the target of a greatly expanded product recall.

“More labels and more (brand) names will be coming out,” said Jack Guzewich, director of emergency response in FDA’s food-safety division. “It’s not done yet.”

The FDA has tentatively linked 18 cases of food poisoning to raw almonds from Paramount Farms of Lost Hills in Kern County, the state’s largest almond grower. Potentially related illnesses still are being investigated.

Over the weekend, Paramount expanded its recall to 13 million pounds from 5 million pounds. It also said that it immediately would start pasteurizing all almonds before they are shipped.

“There have been prior incidences of salmonella-tainted almonds that have led to illnesses and recalls,” said William Marler, attorney for the family, in a statement. “Paramount Farms should have known this and taken appropriate precautions to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

From today’s Business Wire, Marler Clark is Suing Paramount Farms Over Salmonella-tainted Almonds. My firm filed a lawsuit against California-based almond producer, Paramount Farms on behalf of the Morris family of Kennewick, Washington, three of whom became seriously ill and required hospitalization after eating Salmonella-tainted raw California almonds produced by Paramount Farms and sold by Costco. The almonds were purchased in January 2004. At least 18 people, and likely more, have suffered Salmonella infection linked to the consumption of raw California almonds produced by Paramount Farms and sold under the Kirkland Signature, Trader Joe’s, and Sunkist brands.

“There have been prior incidences of Salmonella-tainted almonds that have led to illnesses and recalls,” said William Marler, attorney for the family. “Paramount Farms should have known this and taken appropriate precautions to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

In April 2001 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned the public not to consume California raw whole almonds after 140 people became ill with Salmonella infection.

“Eighteen people have become ill with Salmonella infection so far during this outbreak. I would be willing to speculate that the number of illnesses related to this outbreak will continue to rise,” Marler added.

Salmonella bacteria cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, Salmonella can enter the bloodstream and can lead to arterial infections such as infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis. See also www.about-salmonella.com, www.foodborneillness.com, and www.salmonellablog.com.