South African and American lawyers are joining forces to launch a class action suit against Tiger Brands as international and local health experts warn that SA is facing a food safety crisis, notes Legalbrief. With the country in the grip of the world’s most serious listeriosis outbreak, which has so far claimed at least 183 lives, there was news yesterday in a Sunday Times report that Tiger Brands faces a potentially huge class action suit, which could be led by prominent US food safety lawyer Bill Marler, who arrived in SA last week.

According to a report in The Mercury, South African attorney Richard Spoor confirmed his firm has partnered with US firm Marler Clark and will be engaging the services of other experts in the field as it prepares to bring class action proceedings.

On its website, Marler Clark said its lawyers have ‘unmatched experience’ in representing victims with listeriosis. Spoor noted that while ‘theoretically’ supermarkets that sold these products could also be part of the claim, it was not good to ‘create any unnecessary complexities’ in the matter.

Spoor, who has spearheaded legal action against gold producers over the fatal lung disease silicosis, reportedly told Weekend Argus: ‘I expect to launch it in two to three weeks.’

According to a News24 report, he said his reason for acting was ‘that the overwhelming majority of those affected by this epidemic are poor people; they're widely distributed and there's an enormous range of damages that people have suffered’.

Tiger Brands chief executive Lawrence MacDougall said ‘we'll have to deal with (litigation) when we get to it, right now our focus is on food safety’.

But there was more bad news for Tiger Brands in a TimesLIVE report, which notes forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan plans to lay murder and attempted murder charges against the company.

It is high time that corporations were held to account for their actions‚ more so when their negligence has resulted in deaths that could have been avoided‚ had the organisation heeded the warnings‚’ O’Sullivan is quoted as saying.

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