Fruit Grower Wins in New Jersey Appeals Court

March 1, 2019 – Press Release

March 1, 2019 (Newark, NJ) — Hawkins Parnell & Young scored a significant appellate victory when the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed summary judgment for our client, Wawona Packing Company. Wawona grows stone fruits on 9,000 acres of farmland in California and supplies peaches, plums and pluots to supermarkets and grocers across the United States.

In Picciano v. Wawona Packing Company, A-003071-17, an appeals court ruled that plaintiff failed to adequately establish that his alleged food poisoning was caused by fruit distributed by Wawona. Plaintiff claims that he contracted listeria as a result of eating contaminated peaches purchased at a local Costco. Testing revealed he did not have listeria and he never had any of the peaches tested. Wawona issued a recall notice for potential listeria contamination a month earlier, including the period of time plaintiff purchased the peaches in question. At the trial level, the Hon. Patrick Bartels ruled that Wawona was entitled to summary judgment because plaintiff could not establish a specific illness and that the actual peaches he ate were contaminated. Simply being sold during a recall period was not sufficient. The appeals court agreed and affirmed the dismissal. Trial lawyer Roy Viola and Manuel Guevara from HPY's New York office handled the case and the appeal.