LTL Attorneys Defense Verdict: Jury Rejects $18 million Product Liability Wrongful Death Claim

On behalf of its clients Göknur and United Juice Corp., the largest fruit and vegetable concentrate company in Turkey, LTL Attorneys defeated a product liability claim where plaintiffs sought $18 million in damages. Plaintiffs alleged that their 89-year-old mother’s death in 2013 was caused by consuming a contaminated batch of pomegranate arils included in Townsend Farms’ Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend that she had purchased at Costco. Although a Hepatitis A outbreak was in fact connected to the Anti-Oxidant Blend, LTL took the position that there was no proof that the deceased—who was never even a Costco member—had purchased and consumed the Anti-Oxidant Blend.

After a 11-day jury trial, on Thursday, October 26th, following a three-hour deliberation, the Los Angeles jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense (which included co-defendants Costco, Townsend, Purely Pomegranate Inc., and Fallon Trading Co. Inc.). The jury found that plaintiffs failed to prove that the deceased ever consumed the Anti-Oxidant blend.

The case was tried by LTL partner Damian Martinez, and LTL associates Kevin Kelly and Erica Kim. Lead counsel for the Plaintiffs was well-known food safety lawyer Ron Simon. His co-counsel was prominent California consumer lawyer John Gomez.

“We are very pleased with this outcome, which was a result of thorough preparation and an unrelenting focus on our client’s goals,” said Enoch H. Liang, LTL’s managing partner. “We are very proud of our team and the well-deserved result for our client.”

The case is Darla Schelitzche et al. v. Townsend Farms Inc. et al., case number BC576437 (Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles), part of a consolidated mass action, the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend Cases, case number JCCP4812.