Ron Simon & Associates Files Hepatitis A Suit Against Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Today the food poisoning law firm of Ron Simon & Associates filed a lawsuit in Prince William County, Virginia, on behalf of Robert Daly, a victim of the hepatitis A outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe.   The lawsuit was filed in Virginia in Prince William County, where Robert resides.

The victim is Robert Daly. Robert regularly drank smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Cafe as part of his commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle. Unbeknownst to him, one of his smoothies contained strawberries imported from Egypt that were contaminated with hepatitis A virus.

In late August, Robert began to feel ill. On August 24th, his fever, nausea, extreme body fatigue and extreme body aches prompted him to seek medical treatment at an urgent care facility, where doctors performed routine labs and released Robert with instructions to recuperate at home and to stay hydrated.

Robert’s health continued to deteriorate. Five days after he first sought medical help, Robert was hospitalized at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, where he tested positive for hepatitis A virus. He remained hospitalized for three days, and has been under the care of his primary care physician since his discharge.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe: 127 Victims and Counting

The FDA, CDC, and state health officials later confirmed the likely source of the outbreak.

Epidemiological and traceback evidence indicate that frozen strawberries from Egypt – which Tropical Smoothie Cafe purchased and then used in the smoothies they made and sold to customers – were, in fact, the likely source of the outbreak.  By August 8th, Tropical Smoothie Cafe reported that all Egyptian frozen strawberries had been removed from locations in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

As of noon on September 20, 2016, the VDH reports that 102 Virginia residents who have tested positive for Hepatitis A have also reported consuming a smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Cafe prior to becoming ill. Victims in seven other states have also been identified, including victims in Arkansas (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), West Virginia (6), and Wisconsin (1). So far, at least 47 victims have required hospitalization, but none have died.

On August 19th, the company stated it had removed the Egyptian berries from all restaurants nationwide. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has since switched to an alternate provider for strawberries.

Imported Berries at Center of Numerous Hepatitis A Outbreaks in United States

This does not constitute the first time berries imported from the Middle East have caused an outbreak of HAV. Three recent such cases include a 2012-13 outbreak in Europe that was traced to frozen berries imported from Egypt, Morocco and/or Turkey; a 2013 U.S. outbreak that sickened 165 people in 10 U.S. states and was linked to  linked to pomegranate arils imported from Turkey; and a 2012 outbreak in British Columbia linked to pomegranate seeds from Egypt.

Mr. Simon currently represents dozens hepatitis A victims across the US, including a large number from the 2013 US outbreak linked to pomegranate arils imported from Turkey. A producer included the fruit in a “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend,” a popular product sold in bulk at Costco locations.

A copy of the lawsuit filed today may be found here.

If you or a family member became ill have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A and you would like to explore pursuing a legal claim, contact an attorney at Ron Simon & Associates for a free case evaluation by calling 1-888-335-4901 or filling out our free case evaluation form. Attorneys at Ron Simon & Associates have represented victims in past hepatitis A outbreaks nationwide as well as victims of the current Tropical Smoothie Cafe outbreak.