Judge Grants $33M Default against Spice Company
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday granted a $33 million default judgment against a New York-based spice company involved in a nationwide salami recall in 2010 after it failed to respond to a lawsuit brought by a Rhode Island-based meat company.
U.S. District Court Judge William Smith granted the request for a default judgment by Burrillville-based Daniele International, Inc., against Brooklyn-based Wholesome Spice and Seasonings, Inc.
Daniele recalled more than 1.2 million pounds of meat in 2010 after a salmonella outbreak in 44 states sickened more than 250 people, and an investigation by the federal Centers for Disease Control found salami made by Daniele was the source of the outbreak. At least 40 people were hospitalized.
The Rhode Island Department of Health at the time found the same strain of salmonella in closed containers of pepper Daniele bought from Wholesome Spices and another company, Mincing Trading Corp., based in New Jersey.
Daniele sued the two companies in 2010, claiming the recall was caused by the pepper. An auditor hired by Daniele estimated it had lost more than $33 million as a result of the recalls, including more than $25 million in past and future profits and $3.9 million in money that had to be returned to customers.
Richard Beretta, Jr., a lawyer for Daniele, said his team is looking into whether it can collect on the judgment.
The New York State Division of Corporations says the company was dissolved in April. A working telephone number for the company could not be found.
Daniele's case against Mincing Trading is pending. It has denied the pepper was contaminated at the time it was sold.