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SHERIDAN — A lawsuit against the Sheridan Walmart shopping center was withdrawn last month, but was refiled Thursday in federal court. Attorney Nicholas Murdoch, who is representing the plaintiff, Frederick M. Lollar and other members of his family, said the withdrawal and refiling of the suit was a move geared toward controlling expenses.
The complaint was withdrawn from the 1st Judicial District Court Aug. 7 without prejudice.
Lollar is suing Walmart Stores, Inc., on allegations of the wrongful death of his wife, who died after consuming a cantaloupe purchased at the store that was later confirmed to harbor the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The complaint filed in U.S. District Court of Wyoming also states the Sheridan Walmart store made no effort to inform customers of the potential food contamination after a USDA recall had been issued.
Lollar’s case is one of 33 known deaths believed to have been caused by the outbreak of the bacteria linked to a cantaloupe distributor in Colorado.
The outbreak is classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have lasted through September and October of 2011, but deaths related to the contamination occurred as recently as Feb. 29, 2012.
The CDC also gathered data from 147 people from 28 states who became ill from consuming cantaloupe from the contaminated lot.
There were four confirmed cases of Listeria illnesses in Wyoming, two of whom died. Also, two people in Montana became ill and one died in Bozeman. Most of the people who became ill or died were older than 65.
Lollar is suing the Sheridan Walmart for damages associated with the loss of his wife. Though a monetary amount is not named in the complaint, the statement indicates damages would be more than $75,000.
Walmart did not provide a response to inquiries regarding the refiling of Lollar’s complaint or whether representatives from the corporation attempted to reach a collective settlement with those affected by the outbreak out of court.
Walmart’s Director of National Media Relations Randy Hargrove told The Sheridan Press July 25 that the company takes food safety concerns seriously and is committed to customer safety.
He said it is Walmart policy to not comment on ongoing litigation.