MIAMI – An elderly Taylor County woman who spent about seven days hospitalized for exposure to salmonella has filed a complaint against an Indiana-based egg producer and a Missouri-based grocery chain following a recall of more than 200 million eggs earlier this year.
Judy Roberts of Perry filed her 15-page personal injury and product liability complaint on May 14 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Defendants in the case are Rose Acre Farms, doing business as Hyde County Egg, and Moran Foods individually and as a successor in interest to Save-A-Lot Food Stores and as a successor in interest to Coburn Farms. Moran Foods is registered in Plantation while Hyde County Eggs operates in North Carolina.
Counts against the defendants include strict product liability, breach of warranty and negligence. Roberts' complaint demands a jury trail and seeks "just compensation in a fair and reasonable amount for the damages," compensation, punitive damages and "additional and/or further relief, including without limitation interest, costs, and reasonable attorney fees, as this court deems just, equitable, necessary and proper in the circumstances."
Allegations in Roberts' complaint stem from a multistate outbreak of Salmonella confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early spring. In April, Rose Acre Farms, "through an abundance of caution," voluntarily recalled nearly 207 million eggs, the FDA said at the time. The voluntary recall occurred because the eggs had "the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Braenderup, an organism (that) can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems," said the FDA.
The FDA also noted the affected eggs were sold under brand names that included Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, Sunshine Farms, Publix and Sunups. According to court documents, investigators inspected Rose Acre Farm Inc.'s Hyde County Egg farm between March 26 and April 11 and collected samples for testing.
"The FDA analyzed the samples, which revealed that the same rare strain of Salmonella that caused the illnesses was present at the Hyde County Egg facility, tying the facility to the outbreak."
In May, the CDC announced multistate outbreak of Salmonella Braenderup linked to Rose Acre Farms shell eggs. In its announcement, the CDC recommended consumers, restaurants and retailers "should not eat, serve, or sell recalled eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms’ Hyde County farm. Throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a refund."
The CDC reported that 35 people were infected with Salmonella Braenderup in nine states, Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the CDC’s May 13 update. Eleven hospitalizations were reported, but to date no deaths, according to the CDC.
Roberts, a 70-year-old diabetic and cancer survivor, claims she suffered "severe symptoms of salmonella poisoning, including vomiting, severe diarrhea and a fever" shortly after her consumption of eggs produced by Rose Acre Farms, packaged by Coburn Farms, from a Save-A-Lot store near Perry in March, her lawsuit said. According to court documents, "Her symptoms continued to get worse to the point where she could no longer lift herself out of the bed."
Roberts was hospitalized almost four days at Doctors Memorial Hospital until she "was released to return home" April 5, but was returned to the hospital via ambulance six days later following a visit to her primary care physician in which she tested positive for salmonella bacteria," the complaint said. Roberts was again released from the hospital April 14 and she "continues to recover and faces uncertain future medical complications," the lawsuit said.
Rebecca Vinocur, an attorney in Coral Gables, filed the complaint under case number 0:18-cv-61082-DPG.