Listeria Lawsuits Filed - National Law Journal - February 15, 1999

National Law Journal
February 15, 1999

Chicago - The first Lawsuits have been filed stemming from the outbreak of the listeria bacteria in hot dogs and other processed meats produced by divisions of Sara Lee Corp. Listeria are common bacteria but can pose a serious risk to people with weakened immune systems , as well as the elderly , diabetics and pregnant women. Chicago lawyer Kenneth Moll filed the first suit on Dec. 30, 1998, in Cook County court in Chicago seeking class action status on behalf of all those who purchased the meats; there will be subclasses, he says, to include those who were injured or died from the bacteria. Paluch v. Sara Lee Corp., 98L-15072. On Feb. 2, Mr. Moll and lawyers from his firm filed a separate wrongful death suit on behalf of a man whose wife allegedly died after eating tainted meat. Badner v. Sara Lee Corp. 99L-1254.

Mr. Moll said that he interviewed former employees at the Bil Mar Food Plant, a Sara Lee division, and that they talked about unsanitary conditions at the plant and faulty cooking processes. Sara Lee spokeswoman Theresa Herlevsen declined to comment on the allegations about the conditions.

In addition to Mr. Moll, of counsel Saul Wexler and associates Hal Kleinman and Paul Bullard are working on the case. Sara Lee is represented by Chicago's Jenner & Block; from that firm are partners Anton R. Valukas, Jefferey D. Coleman and Dean N. Panos.

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