Man Sues Blue Bell for Listeria-Contaminated Product That Allegedly Caused ‘Profound Brain Damage’

The man has had to move back in with his parents for long-term care, and is unable to work as a result of listeriosis infection

The lawsuit is the first of its kind, but a food safety attorney said that he has been approached by at least 100 people who became sick from Blue Bell products.  

A former Texas resident who claims that he “damn near died” as the result of listeriosis infection from eating Blue Bell ice cream filed a lengthy lawsuit against the company that includes an accusation of “profound brain damage.”

Blue Bell — which recently recalled its entire product line following a listeria contamination that caused 10 people to fall ill, three of whom subsequently died — is facing severe public scrutiny after a USDA investigation revealed that the company had likely known about the listeria since 2013.

Moreover, the recall cost Blue Bell an estimated $10 million, forcing the company to eliminate 37 percent of its employees — 1,450 people — and furlough approximately the same number of workers.

According to the federal lawsuit, in 2013, David Philip Shockley developed a severe listeriosis infection after he “consumed a variety of Blue Bell ice cream products contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.” The case is believed to be the first of its kind against Blue Bell, but food safety experts have warned that it is certainly not the last.

The lawsuit does not specify a specific monetary sum, but Shockley’s lawyer is adamant that “this is a very significant case, in terms of the damages.”

The suit continues, “The bacteria infected [his] blood and migrated to his brain where it caused extensive damage, leaving him unconscious and near death.”

Other complaints listed include “physical pain; disability, including... dizziness, inability to balance and coordinate movements, fine motor skill impairment... slowed cognitive processing, and slowed movements; mental anguish, including a clear diminished enjoyment of life; extensive, invasive, and long-term medical treatment; and a loss of earnings and of future earning capacity.”


Shockley has had to return to Maryland to his parents’ care, and is unable to work. Fred Pritzker, Shockley’s food safety attorney, insisted that given the fact that his client consumed more than one contaminated Blue Bell product that was later recalled, “there’s virtually no chance it came from anyplace else.”