Client Update: 21 April 2022
LISTERIOSIS CLASS ACTION CLASS MEMBER UPDATE
Dear Listeriosis Class Action Claimants,
We express our concern for those of you who have been affected by the recent floods in KZN. If you have changed your address or contact details as a result of this (or for any other reason), please let us know.
We also advise you that two new paralegals, Celiwe Mdletshe and Busisiwe Mashego, have joined our team and may be in contact with you in the upcoming weeks.
As communicated previously, the SCA found that Tiger Brands’ argument that it may not be the ‘sole source’ of the listeriosis outbreak has no relevance in the class action at this stage and described its subpoenas as too broad. Tiger Brands had until 25 February 2022 to initiate an appeal. This time has now lapsed and as such, the main trial can now proceed to determine Tiger Brands’ liability to the four classes of claimants who form this class action.
We are currently preparing for a pre-trial meeting, in preparation for application for a trial date. We also continue to provide Tiger Brands with documentation demonstrating the extent of the harm caused to the class members, indicating the merits of our case. Your co-operation in providing the requisite documents and participating in sometimes lengthy narrative interviews with our team is important in developing the class action and sincerely appreciated.
CLASS MEMBER PARTICIPATION
Our assessment of damages claims for class members also continues to move forward. As explained previously, in order to hold Tiger Brands liable for these damages, we need to establish a causal link between the consumption of the Enterprise products and the suffering experienced by the claimants. Many of you would have already received a consumption affidavit. This is a statement under oath attesting to the products which you or your family member purchased and consumed, together with the harm suffered as a result of the consumption of these products.
These affidavits, together with medical records and actuarial calculations will assist in quantifying the damages suffered by each claimants. In as much as we recognise the loss of your loved one or the harm that you have suffered as a result of this illness, is immeasurable, legally we are obligated to meet certain criteria to prove and quantify these damages. To this end, we may need to contact you to provide us with further information.
Class action proceedings depends largely on the strength of documentation we have in our possession. All class members have already submitted (or will be in the process of submitting) on-boarding documents. These include a copy of your identity documents; a signed power of attorney; signed medical release form and various affidavits. Without these documents, we are unable to request the relevant medical records and blood test results, that assist in establishing causation and proving damages. We appeal to you to provide us with these documents as a matter of priority. Without them, we cannot process your claim.
We once again remind you of the following –
- Information Regarding Medical Care:
We understand that this information may take you time to access as the outbreak occurred some time ago. It is however essential that we are provided the correct name of the hospital and/or clinic that you visited over the outbreak period (if you visited more than one hospital at that time, please provide all details for both hospitals); the admission and discharge dates and the patient number. Medical records are key to proving your claim.
- Consumption Affidavits
Thank you to all those claimants who have submitted consumption affidavits. In the upcoming months, we will be in contact with claimants who have not submitted consumption affidavits. Kindly return signed affidavits to us as soon as possible. If you do not have access to fax or email, we will arrange for our outreach team or a courier to collect it from you.
- Information Regarding Loss of Income or Earning Capacity
Depending on the severity of your listeriosis infection, you may have a claim for loss of income or earning capacity. To calculate your claim, we require substantial documentation. A paralegal will be in touch with you regarding what is required. Again, we are aware of the time that has now passed, but these documents are essential and we will do our best to assist you in obtaining them (i.e. letters to your previous employer).
- Narrative Interviews:
Narratives are the cornerstone of our claims. They tell the story of how you (or your loved one) contracted listeriosis, what was experienced during the illness and how life has changed since. A paralegal will contact you for an interview once your medical records are received and vetted. We will not be able to proceed with your claim until we have consulted with you and obtained the history of your illness. We have struggled to reach many of our clients for these interviews, so if you have changed your contact information please let us know.
Thank you for providing the requisite documents and taking your time to sit through lengthy interviews, which help us in continuing to build a strong case against Tiger Brands.
We understand the frustration at how lengthy this process is. This is unavoidable and unfortunately the nature of litigation in South Africa. Please be assured that we remain committed in moving forward swiftly and reaching resolution as soon as possible.
In the interim, please provide us with an update of your current state of health (or that of a loved one) after contracting listeriosis. To those claimants who have lost their loved ones, please let us know how the family is coping with this loss and the changes you may have been forced to make after this loss.
Get in touch with us via WhatsApp or send a ‘please call me’ to 082 044 0875. Alternatively, call our offices on 010 009 6925 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We once again thank you for your patience and look forward to hearing from you.
RSI and LHL