Walmart Faces Class Action Over Contaminated Romaine Lettuce

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Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Taylor Farms are facing a nationwide class action lawsuit over allegations it sold packaged salad containing romaine lettuce that was contaminated with E.coli bacteria, despite being labeled as “triple washed and ready to enjoy.”

Plaintiffs RIck Musgrave and Margaret Gray brought the Walmart class action lawsuit on the heels of a multi-state outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections and the subsequent CDC announcement that romaine lettuce from farms in the Yuma, Arizona growing region was the likely source out the outbreak. People across 25 states reported E. coli infections linked to the contaminated romaine lettuce. Thirty-one people were hospitalized, including five who developed kidney failure. There was also one recorded death.

Taylor Farms produces romaine lettuce crops in Arizona and sells its products in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. The packaged lettuce products are marketed as “fresh, handcrafted salads that are convenient, ready-to-eat” and “triple washed and ready to enjoy,”

Shortly after news of the outbreak, Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, issued a recall for Taylor Farms products with romaine lettuce, stating that “[w]e were notified that Taylor Farms, as a result of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public advisory, has initiated a withdrawal on the items listed below due to the potential to be contaminated with E. coli.”

The recall listed the following Taylor Farms’ products with romaine lettuce:

  • Taylor Farms Fiesta Chopped Salad Kit with Grilled Chicken
  • Taylor Farms Southwest Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Asian Chopped Salad
  • Taylor Farms Caesar Kit Family Size
  • Taylor Farms Chopped Romaine
  • Taylor Farms Romaine Blend
  • Taylor Farms Farmhouse Bacon Chopped Salad

According to court documents, Musgrave and Gray say that Walmart, while posting information about the Taylor Farms romaine lettuce recall on its website, the retail giant failed to offered refunds to its customers or post any notices in its stores regarding the contamination. This, they allege, put potentially tens of thousands of Taylor Farms consumers at risk for E.coli infections or worse.

“As a result of Defendants processing, manufacturing, distributing, and selling Taylor Farms’ products with romaine lettuce without taking the proper precautions, Defendants placed in the stream of commerce products that are unusable, unsafe, and have caused purchasers and consumers of those products to suffer or potentially suffer illness, as well as the loss of monies.”

In fact, Musgrave shares that he and his wife became violently sick for several days after purchasing and consuming the contaminated Taylor Farms romaine lettuce products. Additionally, Gray details in the Walmart contaminated romaine lettuce class action that she became ill with stomach issues after purchasing and consuming Taylor Farms Romaine Blend Salad.

Both plaintiffs are seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased Taylor Farms Romaine Lettuce Products between February 1, 2018 to the present, as well as a California subclass. They are asking the court to award punitive damages along with restitution.

Musgrave and Gray are represented by Timothy Fisher, Blair E. Reed, and Scott A. Bursor of Bursor & Fisher PA.

The Walmart Contaminated Romaine Lettuce Class Action Lawsuit is Musgrave, et al. v. Taylor Farms Pacific Inc., et al., Case No. 4:18-cv-02841-SBA, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

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