Cape Town - Litigation in the listeriosis class action suit is set to go ahead later this year while parties continue to build their case against Tiger Brands - with just under 70 more official affidavits added to the matter.
Richard Spoor Inc Attorneys, a South African activist and human rights attorney in partnership with LHL Attorneys Inc. and Marler Clark, confirmed they awaited a trial date but have urged potential claimants in the meantime to submit affidavits to confirm which foods were consumed before falling ill.
Senior counsel for RSI attorneys, Nilesthra Padayachee, confirmed both parties have submitted pleadings while Tiger Brands maintained its non-liability for the outbreak.
Padayachee said they hoped to secure a trial date in the third or fourth quarter of this year.
“The parties have exchanged pleadings. Despite the overwhelming evidence against them, Tiger Brands has filed a plea denying that they are legally liable for the outbreak...“Unfortunately we are yet to receive any offers of settlement from Tiger Brands.
“Our team continues to forge forward collecting our clients’ medical records, preparing expert reports, and drafting documentation that will be necessary to prove our case.
“We are in regular communication with Tiger Brands’ attorneys to discuss different approaches to possibly expedite or simplify the trial,” said Padayachee.
The outbreak of listeriosis that South Africa experienced in 2018 was the largest outbreak of listeriosis ever reported worldwide at the time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The outbreak was declared in December of that year, and out of 134 traced patients, 61 have died, the WHO said.
Tiger Brands said: “We confirm that the case is currently before court in a class action litigation. Tiger Brands’ legal team and the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the class action are attending to pre-trial preparations to get the matter ready for trial, at which liability will be determined by the court.
Tiger Brands reiterates its commitment to ensure that a resolution of the matter is reached in the shortest possible time, in the interest of all parties, particularly the victims of listeriosis.
“As part of the overall endeavour to expedite resolution of the matter, Tiger Brands’ legal team, and plaintiffs’ attorneys have recently reached agreement to jointly approach the NICD for access to their records, which are vital to a determination of the action.
The release of this data is critical to enable the resolution of the matter to be expedited,” Tiger Brands said.
On their website, giving an update to class claimants, RSI attorneys said: “As explained in our last update, we have introduced a new protocol for affidavits to confirm which foods were consumed before you or your loved one became ill. These affidavits are essential to prove a link between the consumption of Tiger Brands’ Enterprise products and the harm that you or your loved one experienced.
“As of August 2022, we have embarked on a programme to assess the psychological harm suffered by claimants as a result of the outbreak.
This is done through a ‘Q-Sort’ assessment. Our field workers will be visiting clients who suffered miscarriages or stillbirths as a result of listeriosis, and those that lost an infant and asking for the assessment prepared by psychologists to determine the psychological harm or mental distress experienced,” RSI Attorneys said.
The attorney company said they continued to provide Tiger Brands with documentation showing the harm caused to class members.
Class action participants have been urged to get in touch with RSI Attorneys via WhatsApp or send a ‘please call me’ to 082 044 0875.
Alternatively, call 010 009 6925 or email [email protected]