The family of Clifford Tousignant, who died in January after eating salmonella-contaminated peanut butter in Brainerd, Monday filed a lawsuit against Kanan Enterprises, the makers of King Nut peanut butter.
The family is represented by food-borne illness law firm Marler Clark and Minneapolis-based Jardine, Logan, & O'Brien. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.
"The tragedy of a lost family member is the worst and clearest example of why we need to reform our food safety system," Bill Marler, the family's attorney, said in a news release. "This family lost precious years with their patriarch, because tainted food was shipped to our most vulnerable populations: the elderly, the sick and children."
Tousignant - father, grandfather and decorated Army veteran who served in Korea and Vietnam - became sick in late December. The father of six, Tousignant spent 22 years in the Army. He was awarded the Purple Heart three times during his Korean War service. Tousignant's family in Brainerd could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Doris Flatgard and Shirley Mae Almer, both living in Brainerd, also died after eating salmonella-contaminated peanut butter. Both families are represented by Minneapolis attorney Fred Pritzker. Flatgard was living at Good Samaritan's Oakwood House. Almer was a resident at Good Samaritan Society-Bethany and Tousignant lived at Good Samaritan Society-Woodland.
In the news release for the Tousignant family, the law firm noted King Nut peanut butter, which was distributed in five-pound containers to nursing homes, schools and hospitals, used peanut products manufactured by Peanut Corp. of America. Those salmonella-contaminated products sickened nearly 700 people and is linked to nine deaths. Containers of King Nut tested positive for the strain of salmonella associated with the nationwide outbreak.
Salmonella, a bacteria that is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S., triggers diarrhea, cramping and fever. It can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The King Nut peanut butter at the Good Samaritan Society facilities in Brainerd tested positive for salmonella.
Marler Clark reported Tousignant fell ill in late December, after eating King Nut peanut butter served at the Woodland Good Samaritan Village nursing home. Tousignant is described as having profuse diarrhea, which caused him to be hospitalized on New Year's Eve. He remained in the hospital until Jan. 4, and while there, tested positive for salmonella. He returned to the nursing home, but continued to suffer diarrhea and had difficulty eating. He was rushed back to the hospital on Jan. 11, but died on Jan. 12 from sepsis following his salmonella infection.
Marler Clark represents more than 80 victims of the Peanut Corp. of America salmonella outbreak. The firm also represented the majority of victims of the ConAgra (Peter Pan/Great Value) peanut butter outbreak of 2006-2007.
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