East Texas family sues after child becomes sick from peanut butter

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 15, 2011, 4:00am

MARSHALL - An East Texas family has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of contaminated peanut butter after their child became sick.

James Neil Hays Jr. and Anna Hays, individually and as next friends for minor child Clayton Hays, filed suit against ConAgra Foods Inc. on Jan. 4 in Upshur County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division on Feb. 7.

According to the lawsuit, the parents bought the allegedly contaminated peanut butter, manufactured by ConAgra, from a local grocery store in Gilmer. Their child ingested the peanut butter and suffered from symptoms associated with gastroenteritis, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of negligence for allowing an ill employee to process, handle, and prepare food, which presented a serious health risk to customers.

ConAgra is also accused of negligence for failing to require its food handlers to wear gloves while handling food items, failing to warn its customers of the possible danger of a Salmonella infection by an infected worker and failing to place signs in the restroom reminding good workers to wash their hands.

Hays accuse the defendant of breach of implied warranty of fitness for human consumption, strict liability, negligence per se, failing to prevent further injury and failure to remediate harm and for malice.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, exemplary damages, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

The parents are represented by Brent Goudarzi and Marty Young of Goudarzi & Young in Gilmer.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00081

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