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Woman Seeks Damages for Poisoned Apple

SACRAMENTO (CN) - A woman was hospitalized for a month with listeria she got from a caramel apple she bought from a Wal-Mart in Northern California, she claims in court.

Darlene Vouri sued Bidart Brother Apple Packing, of Shafter, Calif., Happy Apple Co. and Wal-Mart, on Tuesday in Superior Court.

Vouri says she was hospitalized on Nov. 8, 2014, and that the Bidart Brothers did not recall the apples until Dec. 22. She claims the FDA ordered Bidart Brothers to recall all of its Granny Smith and Gala apples after an inspection of its Shafter facility found listeria throughout the place.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 32 people in 11 states have been infected with the strain of Listeria monocytogenes as of Jan. 9 this year, that 31 have been hospitalized and listeriosis has contributed to three deaths.

Vouri says her doctors needed to perform a spinal tap to diagnose her, and that the spent more than a month in hospital, including a stay in an isolation room for quarantine.

Company owner Leonard Bidart called the outbreak "devastating to the Bidart family," in a statement.

"As a family-owned grower operating in California since the 1930s, we place safety at the forefront of everything we do. Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by the apple-related listeriosis outbreak," Bidart said.

Vouri and her husband seek damages for negligence, breach of warranty, product liability, pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

They are represented by John Gomez of San Diego, and Ron Simon & Associates, of Houston, which specializes in food safety.

Attorney Ron Simon said the Vouris are "struggling as her condition remains day-to-day."

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