Wonderful Pistachios hit with class action over early 2016 Salmonella outbreak

By Jonathan Bilyk | Apr 5, 2017

A Chicago man has served a class action lawsuit against Wonderful Pistachios, saying the nuts seller and Sam’s Club should be made to pay for a Salmonella outbreak allegedly tied to contaminated pistachio nuts.

On March 29, Alejandro Reyes, through attorney Thomas H. Zimmerman and others with the Zimmerman Law Offices, of Chicago, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against the California-based Wonderful company and retailer Sam’s Club, alleging they were negligent in selling nuts contaminated with the illness-causing bacteria, and for not warning consumers the raw nuts could be contaminated.

Reyes asked the court to expand the lawsuit to potentially include thousands of other plaintiffs in Illinois who may have purchased the contaminated pistachios and, like himself, may have fallen ill after eating the nuts.

According to the lawsuit, Reyes purchased a bag of Wonderful Pistachios at a Sam’s Club in Chicago in December 2015.

Reyes then took the pistachios home, where he ate some. Soon thereafter, the lawsuit said, Reyes became ill with abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection. However, after recovering several days later, Reyes purportedly ate more of the pistachios, and again became ill with the same symptoms.

The complaint notes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and state public health agencies, in early 2016, traced a Salmonella outbreak in various places across the U.S. to allegedly contaminated pistachios produced by Wonderful.

The complaint asks the court to approve two potential classes of additional plaintiffs: Everyone in Illinois who developed symptoms consistent with Salmonella infection within 72 hours of consuming Wonderful Pistachios, and everyone in Illinois who bought Wonderful Pistachios at a Sam’s Club store, and then became ill within 72 hours of eating the nuts.

The complaint requests unspecified damages, including actual damages sustained by those who allegedly were sickened by the alleged contaminated pistachios, and attorney fees.

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