The First Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a jury verdict tracing the source of E. coli-contaminated beef to Greater Omaha Packing Co. thus sustaining a third-party indemnification claim against it. Long v. Fairbank Reconstruction Corp. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co., No. 12-1412 (1st Cir., decided November 21, 2012).
Two Maine residents sickened in the outbreak settled for $500,000 with Fairbank Reconstruction, which had purchased the meat from Greater Omaha and further processed it for sale in retail-sized packages by grocery stores. Fairbank sought indemnification from Greater Omaha, and the trial focused for the most part “on the ‘traceback’ analyses that led Fairbank’s experts to conclude that the contaminated meat could only have come from the [Greater Omaha] combos and not from another supplier’s product.” The court found that “ample evidence” supported the jury’s conclusion that Greater Omaha was the source of the E. coli contamination that sickened the two women. The court also found that Greater Omaha could not show plain error as to the introduction of a video to which it had not objected during trial.