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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Suburban Cincinnati Woman Finds Rodent Head In Can Of Beans: Kroger, Stokely Ordered To Trial

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The presence of the rodent head does not seem to be disputed. And none of the adulterated Stokely brand canned green beans that Teresa Scheffler-Morgan poured into a casserole dish while making an evening meal were eaten. Instead, the case will go to a Hamilton County jury in August largely over the question of post-traumatic stress disorder. Judge John Andrew West recently rejected efforts by Kroger Co. and Seneca Foods Corp. to toss the case out of court. The companies claimed the victim had to eat the beans to show she was harmed:

"Defendants cannot be held accountable for Plaintiff Scheffler-Morgan's underlying postraumatic stress disorder. The condition existed prior to any actions by Defendants . . . It is simply not reasonably foreseeable that a food product that contains an adulterated substance will cause a consumer to suffer from postraumatic stress disorder upon merely viewing or observing the adulterated substance . . . Had Plaintiff Scheffler-Morgan consumed a portion of the adulterated food product the issues before this Honorable Court would be different; however, Plaintiff Scheffler-Morgan did not consume any portion of the food product."

So what happened? Here's the story from the woman's lawyers:

"As she was preparing the evening meal, she opened the can of green beans and emptied its contents in a casserole dish. There was an unusual and rancid smell. Teresa observed a chopped up rodent's head in the green beans. She experienced a panic attack, but thought she would be okay. However, Teresa became violently ill over the next several days. She lost her appetite and became depressed and lethargic. As a result of this shocking incident, Teresa experienced extreme intestinal distress. After undergoing a battery of tests with various physicians, it was determined that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

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