Schnucks blames produce provider for E.coli case

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Sep 16, 2013

Schnucks blames its produce provider for selling it tainted lettuce that caused two customers to get sick and believes the provider should be liable for any resulting illnesses.

Tiffany Sinovic and Thomas Sinovic filed a lawsuit on March 4 blaming Schnucks for causing their food poisoning. Tiffany Sinovic and her daughter consumed romaine lettuce from the food bar on Oct. 19, 2011, and were hospitalized for several days and later diagnosed with shiga toxin and the food borne illness E.coli, their suit claims.

However, Schnucks denies all allegations and claims it is not liable for the incident. It claims that Vaughan Foods, Inc. should be held responsible for selling it poor-quality products.

In court papers filed Sept. 5, Schnucks says if it is found liable to the plaintiffs, then Vaughan should be liable to Schnucks and employee defendants.

Under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act, Schnucks argues that it may seek contribution from others who may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and damages, its motion states.

Schnucks claims Vaughan “expressed and impliedly warranted that the romaine lettuce was of good, fresh quality and unadulterated, free from pathogens including E.coli and generally fit for human consumption,” states Schnucks' third party petition motion.

Vaughan is an Oklahoma corporation that processes and distributes fresh vegetables and other perishable foods.

Schnucks previously claimed the plaintiffs became sick “as a result of natural health processes that would have occurred just as they did irrespective of Schnucks’ actions or conduct,” its response states.

A motion hearing regarding Schnucks’ motion for leave to file third-party petition is set before St. Clair Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson on Oct. 15 at 9 a.m.

Schnucks also demanded a jury trial, according to its motion.

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

The plaintiffs are represented by Thomas R. Ysura of Belleville.

Schnucks and employee defendants are represented by Gerard T. Noce, Michael Reda and Matthew Noce of HeplerBroom in St. Louis.

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

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