Today the food poisoning law firm of Ron Simon & Associates filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County, CA, on behalf of a California resident, Darlene Vouri, and her husband Francis Vouri, after she consumed Happy Apple brand caramel covered apples from Wal-Mart. Darlene and Frank purchased the caramel covered apples on or about October 14th, and Darlene ate one shortly thereafter. Within days she was very ill, with head and neck pain, muscle and body pain, and disorientation. She sought medical attention on several occasions in the ensuing weeks, but her condition seemed to be worsening, compelling her physician to schedule an MRI. But before Darlene could present for the MRI, her condition got the better of her, and she fell. It was November 8th, and her husband rushed her to the nearest hospital.

Darlene was treated and released, pending the results of a number of tests, but had a repeat fall on November 9th. She was again hospitalized, and numerous tests were run to determine the etiology of her condition. Her physicians began to suspect ascetic meningitis, and ordered a spinal tap. The spinal tap revealed bacterial meningitis, and the pathogen was confirmed to be Listeria monocytogenes. Darlene was transferred to an isolation unit where she was quarantined and her physicians, in consultation with infectious disease, began to treat her aggressively with a regimen of IV antibiotics. Darlene was eventually removed from quarantine and placed in a longer-term facility for ongoing 24 hour-a-day care and medical treatment.

It was not until December 10th, a month after being admitted to the hospital, that Darlene was discharged home, and then with in-home nursing. Darlene has remained unable to ambulate and to perform basic life-functions, and has relied heavily on the nursing staff and her husband for daily care. On January 10th, Darlene once again collapsed, and now remains under medical observation and in guarded condition.

Heath Department Confirms Darlene Linked to National Listeria Outbreak

Darlene’s illness was immediately reported to local and state health agencies, and thereafter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The California Department of Public Health interviewed Darlene and Frank, and asked them for their receipt of purchase for the Happy Apple caramel covered apples from Wal-Mart. Darlene and Frank have cooperated fully with county and state health agencies. Darlene is now a confirmed victim of the Bidart Bros./Happy Apples Listeria monocytogenes outbreak of 2014.

Darlene and Frank Contact Ron Simon & Associates

Darlene and Frank became aware of the Listeria outbreak after consultation with the health agencies that contacted them, and thereafter through the media. After more than a month in the hospital, both knew that the medical bills and ongoing treatment and assistance they would need to carry on a normal life would be incredibly expensive. They contacted national food safety lawyer Ron Simon’s office, who has represented thousands of food borne illness victims, and discussed their legal options. Ron Simon filed a Listeria lawsuit on their behalf in Sacramento County Court in California on Tuesday, January 13th , naming Bidart Bros, Happy Apples, and Wal-Mart. According to Ron Simon, “filing a lawsuit is often the only way to get the attention of a large corporation, and to begin the process of determining what went wrong. It is now clear that the Listeria bacterium was on Bidart Granny Smith and/or Gala apples, and that these apples were used by a number of manufacturers to make commercially salable, prepackaged caramel apples for the Halloween season. It appears that the apples were not properly cleaned or tested for Listeria by either Bidart Bros or Happy Apples, and that when they were put on the shelves of Wal-Mart, they contained a potentially deadly pathogen, Listeria. At some point in the production and dissemination of this product, basic food safety guidelines were not followed.”

If you or a loved one became sick after eating caramel covered apples, or Granny Smith or Gala apples from Bidart Bros., the food safety lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates encourage you to seek medical attention. If you wish to discuss potential legal rights, please call 1-888-335-4901.