Popcorn-Loving Woman Sues ConAgra

     QUEENS, N.Y. (CN) – A woman says she needs to use an oxygen tank and may need a lung transplant after eating two to three bags of Act II Lite microwave popcorn a day for 16 years. Agnes Mercado says ConAgra and Givaudan Flavors knew the diacetyl butter flavoring causes “serious, debilitating respiratory illnesses.”

     In her complaint in Queens County Court, Mercado says she “consumed two to three bags of butter flavored microwave Act II Lite popcorn daily” from 1991 to September 2007.
     She says ConAgra, which makes the Act II popcorn, and Givaudan, which makes the butter flavoring, failed to warn about the effects of diacetyl. She also sued eight other companies that had a hand in the diacetyl. Complications of breathing diacetyl include bronchiolitis obliterans, chronic obstructive bronchitis, chronic cough, emphysema, fatigue, and severe impairment of lung function, according to the complaint.
     Mercado says her doctors diagnosed her with severe lung disease in April 2010, ordering her to use an oxygen tank and telling her she is “likely to require a lung transplant in the near future.”
     Givaudan has been sued so often by employees claiming to have been harmed by diacetyl that the company entered into litigation with its insurers in February 2008, seeking to compel them to cover damages from employee lawsuits.
     Mercado seeks punitive damages for breach of warranty, failure to warn, defective design, and negligence. She is represented by Wendy Fleishman with Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein of Manhattan.

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