A judge has awarded $4 million in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed on behalf of a woman who died after eating a cup of ice cream.
The ice cream was made by Big Olaf Creamery of Sarasota, Florida. The company never appeared in court to defend itself.
The lawsuit was filed by the family of Mary Billman, an elderly woman who was on vacation with her husband and children in Sarasota when she ate Big Olaf ice cream at a restaurant.
She was infected with Listeria bacteria and died only two weeks later.
Health officials linked Big Olaf ice cream to an outbreak that infected at least 28 people in 11 states with Listeria. All of the victims were infected after eating ice cream in Florida, according to the CDC outbreak investigation.
Further testing discovered Listeria contamination in 16 out of 17 ice cream flavors that were sampled, according to the CDC.
Despite being under investigation by health officials in Florida since spring 2022, Big Olaf continued to sell ice cream until July 2022.
Big Olaf also refused to announce a recall for more than a month after the CDC warned people and retailers to stop selling, serving, and eating all ice cream products manufactured by Big Olaf Creamery.