Richard Spoor Inc Attorneys filed the class action suit in the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, seeking compensation for the damage caused by contaminated Enterprise products on behalf of victims of the deadly listeriosis outbreak.
Spoor said the first court hearing date might be set in the next three months, to also allow time for Tiger Brands to respond and prepare their answering documents.
“It is a procedural matter. We have to wait and see if Tiger Brands will decide to approve or oppose the class action. We’re hoping they don’t,” said Spoor.
He added that it could be in Tiger Brands’ interest to approve the class action, because it could present a binding settlement and eliminate the proposition of having to deal with different judgments in different courts for individual cases.
If Tiger Brands approves of their terms, they could meet to reach a settlement and present their consensus to the court.
The firm has already selected the 10 applicants who will represent the hundreds of victims who have claimed to have been affected by the listeria outbreak, in court.
Within the class action suit there are four main categories. These include: “Individuals who contracted a listeria infection but did not die; individuals who contracted the infection in utero but did not die; individuals who were dependent upon other individuals who died as a consequence of their listeria infection; and individuals responsible for taking care of other individuals who contracted a listeria infection.”
When court proceedings begin, the first stage would deal with liability issues.
“This means determining issues related to whether the presence of listeria monocytogenes in the Enterprise products was the cause of the listeria outbreak and if it was enough to cause ill health and deaths of consumers,” said Spoor.
In the second stage, individuals would describe the damages they suffered and compensation due. This would most likely be an administrative stage, rather than a legal procedure.