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California salmonella suit for breach of implied warranty; other claims

Adulterated food can be the basis of a consumer protection lawsuit.

Alleging salmonella poisoning, two Californians filed a lawsuit in May 2015 in the California state Superior Court in Los Angeles County against an established, well known West Los Angeles Mexican restaurant, after the women were seriously sickened after having lunch together there.

Ingestion of the bacterium salmonella by eating infected food can cause severe and dangerous gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, fever and even worse, including in some cases chronic arthritis. In their complaint, the women say that their infections were confirmed through hospital laboratory tests and that two months after the incident they still suffered from lingering symptoms.

Other patrons made similar allegations on social media, leading to an inspection by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, according to Food Safety News. The Los Angeles Times reports that some customers had to be hospitalized.

The agency reportedly issued several safety citations and ordered immediate corrections, although the establishment remained open to the public.

The salmonella lawsuit

The plaintiffs' suit requests a jury trial, money damages and costs and brings four legal claims against the defendant restaurant:

  • Breach of implied warranty of merchantability by allegedly selling contaminated food when the restaurant impliedly warranted its safety
  • Strict product liability in violation of state law for allegedly selling an adulterated, defective, unreasonably dangerous food product not fit for human consumption
  • Negligence and negligence per se for allegedly breaching its duty to supervise employees food and to follow state food-safety laws
  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress because defendant allegedly knew or should have known that its breach of the duty to exercise due care in providing food to plaintiffs would cause the women "severe emotional distress and mental suffering"

The restaurant's response is unknown.

Breach of the implied warranty of merchantability

California law implies a warranty of merchantability to a consumer product when sold, even if the seller does not expressly warrant the product's safety and fitness for the purpose for which it is intended or usually used. When food is sold, the implied warranty is that it is fit and safe to eat and will not make the consuming person ill.

Warranty remedies are also available under federal law.

The implied warranty that a product is merchantable is often the legal basis for lawsuits alleging that a variety of consumer products - from vehicles to home appliances to tools to technology and more - are unfit for their normal and presumed uses.

Any Californian who is harmed financially, physically, through property loss and more, because of a dangerous or defective product, should seek advice and representation from an experienced consumer rights lawyer who can explain the client's potential legal remedies.

From his office in Seal Beach, attorney Michael Humphries of The Law Offices of Michael S. Humphries represents clients in matters of consumer protection, including issues related to dangerous and defective products, especially vehicles that are "lemons."

Keywords: adulterated food, consumer protection, lawsuit, California, salmonella, breach, implied warranty, restaurant, infection, inspection, citation, consumer product, merchantability, use, dangerous product, defective product

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