Leak from defective meat packaging causes shopper’s slip and fall

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Case in Point

November 12, 2013

Leak from defective meat packaging causes shopper’s slip and fall 

The plaintiff sued the producer of the packaged chicken, alleging negligence and defective manufacture. She claimed the package was not properly sealed when it left the defendant’s factory. The jury awarded about $679,900. Mansfield v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

Judy Mansfield was shopping at a grocery store and put a package of Pilgrim’s Pride chicken in her shopping cart, unaware that it was leaking. Soon after, she slipped on liquid that had seeped from the package onto the floor beneath her cart.

Mansfield, 50, suffered a herniated disk at L4-5 and meniscal tears to both knees. She underwent a lumbar fusion and arthroscopic surgeries on both knees. Her past medical expenses totaled about $80,000. She continues to suffer pain and a reduced range of motion in her knees and lower back, and she may need additional physical therapy and knee surgery. Her future medical expenses are estimated at about $50,000.

Mansfield sued Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., alleging negligence and defective manufacture. The plaintiff contended that the package was not properly sealed when it left the defendant’s factory.

The plaintiff also sued the grocery store where she bought the chicken and the company that manufactured the package-sealing equipment used at the plant. Those defendants reportedly settled for confidential amounts, and the case proceeded against Pilgrim’s Pride.

The jury found for the plaintiff and awarded about $679,900, allocating fault at 65 percent to Pilgrim’s Pride and 35 percent to the store.

Citation: Mansfield v. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., No. A 100613-C (Tex., Orange Co. Jud. Dist. July 25, 2013).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member John G. Werner and Taylor Miller, both of Beaumont, Texas.


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