Packaged goods company Tiger Brands on Wednesday confirmed receipt of a summons in respect of a class action lawsuit seeking damages for the 2018 listeriosis outbreak.
The Johannesburg High Court granted a certification order in December 2018, authorising the issue of a summons in a class action to be instituted against Tiger Brands.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the company noted that, “no specific amount of damages is being claimed in the summons, as the first stage of the class action is concerned with liability and not the quantum of damages.”
The latter will be dealt with in the second stage of the class action, after the court has made a ruling with regard to liability – if the court finds Tiger Brands liable.
“The plaintiffs’ claims for damages comprise three parts, namely . . . in terms of the Consumer Protection Act; alternatively, claims in delict; and . . . claims for exemplary or punitive or Constitutional damages,” the company advised, adding that, based on its understanding, South African law does not currently recognise claims for exemplary or punitive damages, nor Constitutional damages of an exemplary or punitive nature.
Tiger Brands reaffirmed that it had product liability insurance cover “appropriate for a group of its scale.”
It added that its insurers have advised that the product liability policy does not include cover for exemplary or punitive damages, nor would it cover the portion of the award which relates to exemplary or punitive damages which are not compensatory, should an award be made for Constitutional damages.
Tiger Brands concluded its statement by noting that it intends to defend the class action and, “when appropriate,” will issue further communication as material milestones in the legal process are reached.