Ron Simon & Associates Files Hepatitis A Lawsuit Against Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Yesterday the national food safety law firm of Ron Simon & Associates, along with The Warren Firm of Charlottesville, Virginia, filed a lawsuit against Tropical Smoothie Café for sale and distribution of smoothies contaminated with Hepatitis A.  

The lawsuit was filed in Prince William County Circuit Court on behalf of Woodbridge resident Robert Daly.  

In July and August, Robert purchased several smoothies from the Tropical Smoothie Café located in Woodbridge, VA.  Robert considered them to be a vital part of his commitment to maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

In late August, Robert became ill with fever, nausea, and body aches, and was forced to seek medical treatment. Initially, his physicians performed routine labs and instructed him to rest, recuperate, and stay hydrated. 

But within a few days, Robert's condition rapidly deteriorated.  Doctors admitted him to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, where he tested positive for Hepatitis A.  He spent three days in the hospital before he was released. 

Robert is still recovering from his Hepatitis A illness and is under the care of his primary care physician and a gastroenterology specialist.  

Tropical Smoothie Cafe – At Least 127 Victims and Counting

On September 1, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it was investigating a multistate outbreak of foodborne HAV in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state and local health agencies. According to the CDC, the investigation began in early August when the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) identified an outbreak of Hepatitis A cases potentially linked to smoothies from Tropical Smoothie Café restaurants in that state. 

The FDA, CDC, and state health officials later confirmed that frozen strawberries imported from Egypt used in the smoothies served at Tropical Smoothie Café locations were the likely source of the outbreak. Following notification by the FDA, Tropical Smoothie Cafe reported that it had stopped using Egyptian frozen strawberries in their locations in Virginia and neighboring states by August 8, 2016.  

As of noon on September 20, 2016, the VDH reports that 102 Virginia residents who have tested positive for Hepatitis A have also reported consuming a smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Cafe prior to becoming ill. Victims in seven other states have also been identified, including victims in Arkansas (1), Maryland (12), New York (3), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), West Virginia (6), and Wisconsin (1). So far, at least 47 victims have required hospitalization, but none have died.

According to the CDC and FDA, the investigation into the source and distribution of the strawberries is ongoing, with governmental representatives in dialogue with their counterparts in the Egyptian International Health Regulations National Focal Point. 

Attorney Ron Simon Issues Statement for Victims, Sets up Hepatitis A Claim Center

Attorney Ron Simon, who represents Robert Daly and a number of other Tropical Smoothie victims, issued the following statement today: "We are very concerned about the continued importation of untested fruit from regions of the world known to have a high prevalence of Hepatitis A.  This lawsuit and others will determine whether Tropical Smoothie acted with appropriate haste in pulling these tainted berries off the market before others could become ill."

Mr. Simon and his law firm have established a Tropical Smoothie Claim Center to assist victims in the outbreak.  The Claims Center can be reached toll-free at 1-888-335-4901. 

Mr. Simon currently represents dozens of Hepatitis A victims across the United States, including victims of the Townsend Farms Hepatitis A outbreak which involved tainted pomegranate arils imported from Turkey.

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