Lawsuits Over Hepatitis A Outbreak in Organic Berries

shutterstock_112619243Lawsuits Against Organic Berry Company Move Forward While More Cases of Hepatitis A Reported

A massive outbreak of Hepatitis A across eight states has officially affected 79 people, many of whom have ended up in the hospital. The outbreak was linked to organic “antioxidant blend” berries produced by Townsend Farms, marketed under the name “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend” and sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores.

On June 4th, Townsend Farms issued a recall for the berry blend, but by June 5th, it was discovered that 79 people across California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Washington had come down with Hepatitis A. The CDC interviewed ill patients, and 40 of 55 of them recalled having eaten the berry blend before becoming sick.

Now, some of the patients are issuing personal injury lawsuits against the manufacturer or the stores that sold the contaminated product.

Lynda Brackenridge, a 51-year-old woman living in Lakewood, California, is suing Townsend Farms and Costco after she became one of the 11 people contaminated with Hepatitis A to end up in the hospital.

After she ate the berries on May 22nd, Brackenridge came down with a fever, chills, and fatigue. Soon after that, specific Hepatitis A symptoms began to appear, including darkened urine, jaundice, and dry heaving. She went to the hospital and found that she had the highly contagious Hepatitis A, and was isolated from other patients.

Her lawyer says that it is unclear when Brackenridge will be released from the hospital. Although her doctors hope that she will make a full recovery, they cannot say for sure yet. According to the CDC, Hepatitis A is fatal to 1 in 200 patients.

The CDC’s website notes that this particular strain of Hepatitis A is unusual in North America, and more common in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the berry’s label, ingredients came from several far-away places, including Argentina, Chile, and Turkey, as well as the US.

A resident of San Diego, California has also come forward and filed a personal injury lawsuit against Costco. Cathy Wilson, 58-years-old, is the caretaker for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. After contracting Hepatitis A, Wilson has been unable to attend work, or see her mother. Although her symptoms are finally beginning to clear up, Wilson is still fatigued and says that she cannot safely make the drive to either location.

“I’m very fatigued. I basically don’t leave my house,” said Wilson.

A third personal injury lawsuit was filed on Friday, June 7th, for Placentia, California resident Andres Nieto. On May 1, Mr. Nieto consumed Townsend Farm’s berries and became ill. After going to an urgent care facility for help, he was diagnosed with possible Hepatitis, but they did not say what strain. A few days later, Mr. Nieto became even more sick, and was hospitalized. After several tests, doctors informed him that he had contracted highly contagious Hepatitis A. Although his health is beginning to improve, he still experiences fatigue, and will have to undergo many blood tests to ensure the disease clears his system. He will also need testing to uncover any long-term liver damage, which can be caused by Hepatitis A.

An attorney from Townsend Family Farms said they believe the pomegranate seeds from Turkey are to blame. The FDA and CDC are still investigating the outbreak.

The Strom Law Firm Protects Citizens Harmed by Defective Products, Including from the Hepatitis A Outbreak

The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm keep a close watch on recalls of dangerous and defective products in the US. We aim to protect our clients’ health and safety, and hold manufacturers to the highest possible standard of safety. Product recalls are especially important because defective drugs, medical devices, food, and toys can seriously injure or even kill consumers. If you or a loved one have experienced severe, life-limiting side effects from a defective product or drug, such as contracting Hepatitis A from Townsend Family Farm’s berries, and believe that your pain stems from a product recall that came too late, you may be entitled to compensation. The Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.


  1. […] Townsend Farms recalled their Organic Anti-Oxidant Berry Blend, but by the next day, 79 cases of Hepatitis A related to consumption of the berries had been […]

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