Up to $125,000 for Maple Leaf victims
Globe and Mail Update
February 2, 2009 at 10:59 AM EST
Maple Leaf Foods Inc. says its $27-million settlement in a
food-poisoning class-action lawsuit is heading to court for final
approval, with victims receiving payments ranging from $750 to $125,000.
The company said Tuesday it would pay $125,000 to the estates of those
who died from a listeriosis outbreak at a Toronto food-processing
facility, adding that "additional substantial amounts" would be paid to
immediate family members. Legal costs and other expenses will also be
paid out of the settlement fund, the company said.
Twenty people died after developing listeriosis, a bacteria that poses a
particular threat to the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened
immune systems. The outbreak, which triggered a massive food recall
August, was tied back to deli meat from Maple Leaf's Toronto plant. In
all, some 668,000 kilograms of meat was called back.
The company said claims could be submitted online , and must be received
before July 31.
The production line at Maple Leaf Foods has enhanced safety protocols
following last year's listeriosis outbreak. Production lines are now
cleaned daily, and the machines that slice meats are taken apart every
two weeks for more thorough cleaning. (Fred Lum/The Globe And Mail)
Anyone who purchased meat between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 are considered
members of the class-action suit, but to receive cash a claimant would
have to prove a link between the meat and their illness. Anyone who
purchased the recalled meat, but didn't eat it, does not qualify.
"To qualify for payment under the settlement, you must deliver
supporting documentation to verify that you or the person you represent
qualifies," the company said. "The court requires statutory declarations
that prove that the information provided on claim forms is accurate.
Otherwise, the claims administrator cannot validate claims."
Court dates are March 5 in Ontario, March 10 in Saskatchewan. A date
hasn't been set for Quebec. Anyone who objects to the settlement must
register their disapproval by March 2, and would be expected to appear
in court to voice their concerns.
The company released a compensation grid, showing how much money those
who ate the meat may expect to receive:
- Someone who was ill for up to 48 hours would receive $750
- Up to a week receives $3,000
- Up to two weeks receives $5,500
- Up to a month receives $8,000
- If listeriosis led to a secondary infection that didn't cause ongoing
symptoms, such as meningitis or pneumonia, the settlement is $35,000
- If listeriosis caused sustained or permanent symptoms, the settlement
is $75,000 plus $750 for each day of hospitalization
- If secondary complications affected the nervous system and caused
"serious and permanent impairment of physical and/or mental function,"
payment is $125,000 plus $750 for each day of hospitalization. A family
member who was affected psychologically could receive $10,000.
- A death would lead to a $120,000 payment to the victim's estate. A
spouse would be eligible for an additional $35,000, while children could
receive $30,000, parents could receive $20,000 and siblings or
grandchildren could receive $5,000. Funeral expenses up to $13,500 would
also be covered.
- Anyone who "sustained psychological injuries or trauma for up to 60
days" after eating tainted meat, without any injuries, could receive up
- Anyone who was at particular risk, such as pregnant women and the
elderly, but did not become ill could receive up to $6,000 for
psychological trauma that lasted up to 60 days.
- If psychological symptoms lasted more than 60 days, compensation is
set at $13,500.
- Those in the vulnerable group who experienced psychological symptoms
for more than 60 days could receive $17,500.