Louisiana Record

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Woman's lawsuit against Costco is transferred to federal court


By John Sammon | Jun 24, 2018

BATON ROUGE – A lawsuit in which a woman alleged the contaminated smoothie drink she consumed caused her to contract Hepatitis A is being moved from a state to a federal court.

The plaintiff Elizabeth Trahan contended that she to suffer ills including drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, fever, joint pain, yellow eyes and skin as a result of drinking an “Organic Fresh Smoothie Blend” from Rader Farms Inc. 

Rader Farms based in Delaware, a subsidiary of Inventure Foods Inc. of Delaware, and Costco Wholesale Membership Inc., a mulitnational corporation incorporated in the state of Washington, are the two defendants in the case.

Trahan lives in East Baton Rouge.

The ingredients of the organic strawberry-raspberry drink included blueberries, kale and spinach.

Under what is known as “diversity of citizenship,” a case can be transferred from a district court to a federal court if the parties reside in different states and the amount claimed exceeds $75,000.

The court brief stated that Trahan’s medical bills to treat her illness are in excess of $25,000 and the cost is currently ongoing and will exceed the $75,000 threshold.

As a result the case has been removed from where it was pending in the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana, to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

“This removal is predicated upon the fact that there is a diversity of citizenship between the parties in this litigation and the amount in controversy exceeds the federal jurisdictional amount,” the court brief read. 

The defendants Costco Wholesale Membership Inc. and Rader Farms Inc. through its parent company Inventure Inc. consented to the removal of the case, the brief noted.   

The court said the amount in controversy had satisfied the requirements for moving the case.        

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