Another tomato grower has filed a claim for damages against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alleging that the agency announced a nationwide recall of all tomatoes in the United States in 2008 without having identified tomatoes as the source of a Salmonella outbreak. Williams Farms Produce Sales, Inc. v. United States, No. 11-01399 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.S.C., filed June 8, 2011). Details about similar claims also filed in a South Carolina federal court appear in Issue 395 of this Update.
According to the complaint, FDA ultimately conceded that tomatoes were not the source of the Salmonella contamination, but not before the price for tomatoes plunged. Alleging negligence, defamation, slander of title, product/ commercial disparagement, unconstitutional taking, and violation of unfair trade practices law, the plaintiff seeks actual damages in excess of $11 million, special damages, compensatory damages, treble damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.