Following a meeting with some family members of victims of the 2011 listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from their farm, Eric and Ryan Jensen signed over a lawsuit they filed against PrimusLabs to the victims.
Attorney Bill Marler, who represents 46 of the 64 victims and their families who have filed civil suits against the Jensen brothers, said Nov. 21 that he would soon file a notice of appearance in Colorado state court in the case against the Santa Maria, Calif., auditing firm.
By “assigning” the case to the victims, the Jensens have basically taken themselves out of the lawsuit against Primus Labs, Marler said. Now he and the other lawyers representing victims in civil cases against the Jensens will prosecute the Colorado case against PrimusLabs.
Any settlement in the Primus Labs case will be divided among the victims, Marler said. He said he could not estimate how long it would take to resolve the case. Marler will continue to represent 46 clients who have filed civil suits against the Jensens.
In the suit against PrimusLabs, the Jensen brothers contend the auditing firm should be liable for damages related to the 2011 listeria outbreak that killed at least 33 people.
The Jensens hired PrimusLabs to do a food safety audit of their operation, but the company paid a third-party contractor to do the job.
Bio Food Safety, a Texas company, sent auditor James Dilorio to Jensen Farms, Holly, Colo., on July 25, 2011, according to the Jensens’ complaint.
Dilorio gave the Jensens’ operation a score of 96 out of 100. He did not raise questions about numerous issues that the Food and Drug Administration cited in its inspection report on the Jensens’ farm and packing facility after the deadly outbreak.
The Jensen brothers each pleaded guilty to six federal misdemeanor criminal charges and are free on bonds, awaiting a Jan. 28 sentencing hearing in Denver.