Cantaloupe death leads to suit against produce company and Kroger

Kyle Barnett Sep. 19, 2012, 1:23am

Norman I. Lafargue

BENTON – The widower of a deceased woman is suing a Texas-based produce company he claims allowed infected cantaloupes on the market and resulted in his wife's death.

Allen Ray Gilbert filed suit against Frontera Produce, Ltd., Primus Group and the Kroger Company in the 26th Judicial District Court on Sept. 13. Gilbert claims the defendants together are responsible for the production, distribution and sale of a listeria-infected cantaloupe his wife ate and later died due to infection.

The plaintiff alleges that the infected cantaloupes were grown on a Fronteras Farm, whose procedures were audited by the Primus Group for safety, and distributed and sold by Kroger and that a recall was not called on the fruits until Sept. 19, 2011, which was nearly two months since their shipment.

The defendant is accused of not ensuring the food was not contaminated by potentially lethal pathogens, selling food not fir for human consumption, posing an unreasonable risk to consumers, violating applicable food standards and safety regulations, failing to maintain sanitary conditions, failing to properly apply food safety procedures, failing to properly train employees and failing to test for pathogens.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for deprivation of companionship, grief, mental anguish, distress from loss of loved one, emotional distress from witnessing illness and death, loss of future support, funeral expenses and medical expenses.

Gilbert is represented by Norman I. Lafargue of Shreveport-based McMichael, Medin, D'Anna, Wedgeworth & Lafargue who is serving Of Counsel for Seattle, Wa.-based Marler Clark, LLP, PS.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Parker Self.

Case no. 139958.

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