Christina Stueve Hodges Jun. 6, 2013, 9:07am

Schnucks claims it is not to blame for the food poisoning suffered by a Fairview Heights woman and her daughter.

In response to a St. Clair County lawsuit, the store says the plaintiffs suffered an illness that was the result of a “natural health process,” not from a salad purchased at its Fairview Heights store.

“Plaintiffs' illnesses, if any, were the result of natural health processes and would have occurred just as they did irrespective of Schnucks’ actions or conduct,” its response states.

A status conference in the case is set June 11.

On May 28, St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic reassigned the case from St. Clair County Judge Robert LeChien to St. Clair County Judge Andrew Gleeson.

Tiffany Sinovic and Thomas Sinovic filed suit on March 4 against the store and its employees, Gregory Wilhelm, Patti Smith, Dan Schad, Pete Korobey, Cindy Grohmann and Tina Malacarne.

Tiffany Sinovic claims she bought a salad Oct. 19, 2011.

On Oct. 20, 2011, Tiffany and Addison Sinovic experienced abdominal discomfort, diarrhea and vomiting and then became hospitalized on Oct. 23, 2011 for a number of days, the suit states. Both were later diagnosed with shiga toxin and E. Coli, the complaint says.

Schnucks responded to the lawsuit May 6. Schnucks claims the negligence of others, over whom the defendants exercise no control, was the sole proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries or was a proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries, the suit explained.

“Plaintiffs’ alleged injuries and damages were due to, and proximately caused by, in whole or in part, an intervening or superseding injury, illness, condition or other cause,” the response states.

“At the time of sale, the product at issue in the complaint comported in all respects with its intended design and purpose.

“Schnucks’ product was not unreasonably dangerous, given the state of knowledge regarding such products.

“At all material times, defendants acted with due care and complied with applicable statutory, regulatory and common law requirements, to the extent they were required to do so."

The Sinovics seek a judgment of more than $50,000.

Thomas R. Ysursa of Belleville represents the plaintiffs.

Gerard T. Noce, Michael Reda and Matthew Noce of HeplerBroom in St. Louis represent the defense.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-123.

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