The lawyers involved in bringing the class action against Tiger Brands for the listeriosis outbreak that killed more than 200 people would ‘definitely’ file for certification of this month.
“We have reached agreement that the class action must be certified,” said Thami Malusi, an attorney with Richard Spoor Attorneys.
“Tiger Brands will not oppose certification but will defend the merits and quantum.”
He added that Tiger Brands’ decision not to oppose the certification of the class action instituted against it would save the case time, because usually in class actions, the defence raised various technical grounds for opposing the certification of a class action in court.
The certification of the silicosis class action took six years to obtain court approval because of opposition by the gold mining companies involved, Malusi said.
Richard Spoor Attorneys and LHL Attorneys are jointly bringing the class action.
Malusi said the class action lawyers had put together a plan to get hold of the claimants. This plan will be filed with the court when the certification of the class action is done.
It was hoped that the plan to make contact with the claimants would largely be effected by the department of health as a full media campaign to reach each claimant would be “extremely expensive”, he added.
The lawyers in the class action met with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday.
“The minister today agreed to find the class action members provided that the court issued an order approving that,” Malusi said.
“We will looking to finalise our certification law papers and will definitely file in October. We need to get a court date to present the Tiger Brands listeriosis certification application.”
The lawyers involved in the class action will also run a small media campaign to supplement the people that the National Department of Health will communicate with via its database.
The lawyers in the class action have identified four distinct groups of people as classes for those who were infected with listeria monocytogenes as a result of ingesting contaminated food products originating from, or having passed through, the Enterprise meat-processing facility at Polokwane, which is owned by Tiger Brands, from October 23 2016 to August 27 2018.
The four classes are: individuals and babies who contracted listeriosis but did not die as a result; individuals who were dependent on another person who died of listeriosis; and individuals who were and/or are maintaining another person who contracted listeria monocytogenes.