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Tiger Brands plans to fight against listeriosis class-action lawsuit

Tiger Brands says it plans to put up a fight in a class-action lawsuit against the company relating to the deadly listeriosis outbreak of 2018.

The consumer goods group said on Wednesday it had received a summons in respect of the lawsuit this week. The case was given the green light by the Johannesburg high court in December.

“The company intends to defend the class action and is preparing to follow due legal process,” it said.

Tiger Brands, whose shares plummeted in March last year after it was named the culprit in the outbreak, said no specific amount of damages was being claimed at this point. The quantum of damages would only be dealt with if the company is found liable.

The plaintiffs’ claims for damages were being made under the Consumer Protection Act, claims in delict, and claims for constitutional damages.

This was “notwithstanding that the law in SA does not, we are advised, currently recognise a claim for exemplary or punitive damages, or constitutional damages of an exemplary or punitive nature”.

While Tiger Brands has product liability insurance cover, its product liability policy does not include cover for exemplary or punitive damages, it said.

“In addition, should an award be made for constitutional damages, the product liability policy will not cover that portion of the award which relates to exemplary or punitive damages which are not compensatory in nature.

“The company reserves its rights in this regard.”

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