Redd restaurant in Yountville is being sued for wrongful death by the family of a San Diego man who claimed to have suffered food poisoning attributable to scallops eaten as an appetizer and as an entree.
Larry Sacknoff, 61, died Aug. 16, 2014, due to complications caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria found in estuarine or marine environments, according to court documents.
About a year earlier on July 21, 2013, Sacknoff enjoyed scallops at the Yountville restaurant, the suit alleges. He became ill with diarrhea, a symptom of Vibrio, and so did his friends, Mary and Scott Papas, who ate at Redd with him, according to the civil suit.
The Papases eventually felt better, but not Sacknoff, according to the complaint filed by Sacknoff’s daughters, Kristy Keckley, Ashley Sacknoff and Stefanie Sacknoff.
Sacknoff, a former television sportscaster in San Diego, had a history of heart problems and had recently undergone a heart transplant prior to visiting the restaurant. This caused him to have a compromised immune system and inhibited his ability to fight off infection, according to the complaint. “Larry’s fragile condition simply could not handle the aggressive Vibrio pathogen,” the family alleges.
He was treated in the San Diego area for the lingering effects of his infection between Aug. 2, 2013 and March 7, 2014, according to court documents. His treatment included several hospitalizations.
Redd Restaurant and Pierless Fish Corp., a scallop supplier based in Brooklyn, New York, were both named as defendants. In court papers, both denied all allegations.
A settlement with Pierless Fish Corp. was reached in September, and claims against the company were dismissed on Nov. 12, according to Pierless’ attorney Michael Burke with Vogl Meredith Burke LLP in San Francisco. Burke said the terms of the settlement are confidential.
In response to a complaint from Sacknoff’s family, Napa County’s environmental health division inspected the restaurant on Aug. 6, 2013.
Redd, which got a passing B grade, was found to be out of compliance in three food safety areas, including:
— a failure to observe proper cooking time and temperatures
— a failure to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces
— a failure to maintain proper hot and cold holding temperatures for prepared food.
“Scallops prepared during this inspection were less than thoroughly cooked,” the inspector reported. Scallops were served between 108 and 132 degrees, failing to meet the 145-degree cooking requirement, according to the report.
The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages due to strict product liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranties. They also seek wrongful death damages and, in their complaint filed on July 16, 2015, demanded a jury trial.
Attorneys for both Redd Restaurant and the plaintiffs met via court call in December for a case management conference, according to court documents. A jury trial is scheduled for July 11.
Representatives from Redd were unable to comment since the case is ongoing, said Tami von Isakovics, vice president of marketing and public relations at Moana Restaurant Group, on behalf of Redd.
The plaintiffs are being represented by Gomez Trial Attorneys out of San Diego and Ron Simon & Associates out of Houston, Texas. Redd Restaurant is represented by Christopher Beeman and Adrianne Duncan with Clapp, Moroney, Vucinich, Beeman+Scheley based in Pleasanton.
Neither of the attorneys for Redd Restaurant or the plaintiffs were available for comment on Tuesday.