Listeria Class Action

From the office of Richard Spoor, South African activist and human rights attorney in partnership with LHL Attorneys Inc. and Marler Clark the United States' leading law firm representing victims of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Client Update: 28 September 2020

Introduction

Greetings to all our clients!

Litigation preparation for trial continues against Tiger Brands. Importantly, in terms of this preparation the Class Attorneys and Tiger Brands have reached resolution on a method for discovery where Judge Lamont will oversee monthly reporting from Tiger Brands. Other developments include the granting of leave to appeal in the interlocutory subpoena applications.

Defendants’ Discovery

On 24 June 2020, the Class Attorneys filed an application to compel Tiger Brands to discover the documentation relevant to the case, after months of requests to do so on both a formal and informal basis.

On 9 September 2020, the parties met before Judge Colin Lamont, who is judicially managing the case, in an attempt to resolve the matter before resorting to a hearing. Consequentially, the parties have agreed that the Court will oversee the defendants’ discovery process through a method of monthly reporting and the possibility of a third-party manager. The application to compel discovery has been postponed indefinitely.

We trust that the agreement between both parties will enable a swift preparation for trial.

Subpoena Appeal Hearings

On 15 September 2020, the Court heard various applications for leave to appeal by parties subpoenaed by Tiger Brands. In June, the Court handed down judgment upholding various subpoenas issued by Tiger Brands to various entities in the meat industry. The matter in dispute is whether laboratories, meat producers and the NHLS are obliged to give Tiger Brands their testing information for the period of the listeriosis outbreak. Tiger Brands hopes that this information will show that Tiger Brands was not the only meat producer with Listeria in its facilities. We are confident that if Tiger Brands gets access to this testing information, it will not help its case. The date for the appeal of this matter in the SCA is pending.

These applications are separate matters to the main class action and have no direct bearing on Tiger Brands’ liability to the class members; only its ability to access documents from other parties relating to the pleadings. We will closely monitor the appeal and to the extent intervention will aid resolution in the dispute we will consider intervening.

Going Forward

The Listeriosis Class Action team continues to prepare for trial. We remain hopeful that Tiger Brands will act as a responsible corporate citizen and make offer of settlement before the matter reaches the trial stage. We shall continue to update the class members on all further developments as they arise.

In the event that you have any further information to provide the Class Attorneys, please contact the relevant paralegal who has been in contact with you, or contact our team by sending a 'WhatsApp' or 'please call me' to 082 044 0875, or email listeria@rsinc.co.za and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Please ensure you get in contact should any contact detail or personal circumstance change.

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Spoor


Richard Spoor Inc. Attorneys

Address:

PO Box 52536
Saxonworld, 2132
Johannesburg, RSA

Fax:

Fax: (011) 482 1491
Fax2: (086) 619 7343

Call us:

0800 037 772

If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.