TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —The family of an Illinois woman who died after becoming ill from eating Listeria-contaminated ice cream has won a $4 million judgement in a federal courtroom in Tampa.
Mary Katherine Billman, 79, died after she ate ice cream produced by Sarasota-based Big Olaf Creamery.
The company was linked to a multi-state outbreak of Listeria that sickened more than two dozen people. The CDC said there were 28 confirmed illnesses, 27 hospitalizations and one death across 11 states.
Symptoms of Listeria infection can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, confusion, stiff neck, loss of balance and headaches. It is more likely to sicken pregnant individuals, newborns, those 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Billman’s estate sued Big Olaf in July 2022. A Massachusetts couple also filed a lawsuit in July, alleging that the contaminated ice cream caused the woman to have a miscarriage.
On Tuesday, Judge William F. Jung of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled against Big Olaf, ordering the company to pay $3 million in compensatory damages to Billman’s estate along with an additional $1 million for punitive damages.