Posted: Sep 3, 2013 3:37 PM by MTN News
Updated: Sep 3, 2013 5:21 PM
UPDATE: 5:20 p.m. 9/3/13 Judy Slate talked to Wal Mart late this afternoon. Their spokesperson says the company takes food safety very seriously. They have not had an opportunity to review the lawsuit yet so can not comment directly on it.
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana alleges that a Bozeman man died of Listeria after consuming a cantaloupe he had purchased from a Walmart store in Bozeman.
The lawsuit was filed Friday, Aug. 30. In it, the wife of Jerome Onsager, Bette Onsager, alleges her husband began experiencing symptoms of Listeria infection in the first week of Sept. 2011 after consuming a portion of a Jenson Farms cantaloupe purchased from the Walmart Supercenter in Bozeman.
On Sept. 6, 2011, Onsager fell, became disoriented and had trouble functioning. His wife summoned help from neighbors and took him to the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital emergency department, where he was admitted for treatment of a Listeria infection.
The lawsuit names Frontera Produce LTD, Primus Group Inc., Walmart Stores Inc and others as defendants.
He died on Jan. 21, 2012 after months of medical treatment at various medical centers. The cost of treatment related to the infection exceeded $675,000.
A total of 147 people in 28 states were infected with the five strains of Listeria bacteria. Montana had two confirmed cases.
In total, 33 people died from the outbreak, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Officials say this outbreak ended in Oct. 2011.
For a look at the timeline of the outbreak of Listeriosis linked to whole cantaloupes from Jensen Farms, Colorado, click here.
To view the court documents from this case, click here.
From a previous story: Listeria is rare but more deadly than well-known pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. Most healthy adults can consume Listeria with no ill effects, but it can kill the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. It is also dangerous to pregnant women because it easily passes through to the fetus. The CDC said the median age of those sickened is 77, and most ill people are over 60 years old.
Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, often with other gastrointestinal symptoms.
We have contacted Walmart and have not gotten a response at this time.
We will have more information on this story later in the day.