May 20, 2015 — A man from Houston, Texas has filed a federal lawsuit against Blue Bell Creameries after he nearly died of food poisoning after eating Listeria-contaminated ice cream.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the lawsuit (Case No. 1:15-cv-425) was filed in federal court on behalf of David Philip Shockley, a 32 year-old who suffers from ulcerative colitis and was using medications that make him vulnerable to gastrointestinal infections.
In 2013, Shockley says he developed a severe migraine, called 911, was rushed to the hospital, and remained hospitalized for five days on life support. He was “unable to walk, talk, swallow or move much of his body,” according to the complaint.
He was diagnosed with Listeria meningitis, which allegedly “caused extensive damage, leaving him unconscious and near death.”
The lawsuit (PDF) states:
“The source of the Listeria monocytogenes that caused his infection was one or more of the Blue Bell products he consumed in the months leading up to his acute infection.”
Meningitis is a life-threatening condition involving inflammation of the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord. It is one of the most serious complications of a Listeria infection. Shockley survived but continues to suffer from a severe neurological condition known as posterior fossa syndrome (PFS).
As a result, he was unable to work and moved from Texas to Maryland so his parents could more easily care for him. He continues to receive rehabilitative services and has medical bills totaling more than $400,000. His attorneys say he will lose $185,000 in wages.
Blue Bell recalled all of their ice cream products in April 2015. Health officials say 10 people have gotten sick in four states, including three people who died in Kansas, and the outbreak has been ongoing since 2010.
The FDA reports that Blue Bell had 17 positive swabs for Listeria on surfaces in their facilities since 2013, but did not inform the FDA or issue any recalls until two months ago.
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