Today the food poisoning law firm of Ron Simon & Associates filed the first California cucumber lawsuit on behalf of Doris Zieman, a 73 year old victim of the Salmonella Poona outbreak linked to Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce cucumbers, imported from Baja California. This was the first California cucumber lawsuit filed against Andrew & Williamson for illnesses caused by the tainted Limited Edition cucumbers that are at the center of a nation-wide Salmonella outbreak.

The victim is Doris Zieman. Doris was celebrating her 49th wedding anniversary at Red Lobster with her husband when she consumed the tainted cucumbers. Doris ate a tossed salad as part of her meal, while her husband ate a Caesar salad with no cucumbers. Within a couple of days, Doris had become very ill, and was forced to present to the hospital. Doris was admitted, tested, and found to have Salmonella. Through interviews with the health department, her illness was traced to Red Lobster restaurants, which have been identified as one of the many retail and restaurant establishments to use Limited Edition cucumbers in their businesses. This is the first lawsuit filed in California against the San Diego company of Andrew & Williamson.

First California Cucumber Lawsuit Filed for Tainted Limited Edition Cucumbers

The lawsuit was filed in California in San Diego County, where Andrew & Williamson is headquartered. The company issued a recall on September 4th. Several state and federal agencies have now provided epidemiological evidence supporting the trace-back investigation, leaving investigators with no significant doubt that the imported cucumbers are in fact the source of the 341 Salmonella Poona illness in the United States. Two of the victims have now passed away, and nearly one-in-three have been hospitalized, including Doris Zieman. The two fatalities come from Texas and, ironically, San Diego where the company, Andrew & Williamson, is headquartered.

Red Lobster at Center of Numerous Lawsuits, Including the First California Cucumber Lawsuit

Not only is Andrew & Williamson implicated in the outbreak, but many of the retail establishments have begun to issue recalls of their own, including Safeway and Carrs stores in Alaska, where the cucumbers were used to make made-to-order sandwiches. Wal-Mart is just one of many retail establishments reported to have pulled these cucumbers off their shelves. Red Lobster has already been named in other related lawsuits, notably in Minnesota.

The company, Andrew & Williamson, provided a list of states which have received product directly from them, but reports of victims in other states confirm what authorities have stated, that the cucumbers were much more widely distributed, often through the hands of intermediaries. And because they have been sold in large boxes the public will likely never see, consumers will often be unaware of the source of any cucumbers they purchase, or consume in prepared products like sandwiches or salads.

In addition to Andrew & Williamson importing a dangerous product, other questions arise as to why the cucumbers were not cleaned, especially those used in salads and sandwiches at restaurant establishments like Red Lobster.

The filing of the “First California Cucumber Lawsuit Filed for Cucumber Salmonella Victim” will be followed by other filings in the days to come.