Attorneys in both the USA and Canada have launched Class Action suits against Diamond Pet Foods and Costco, in the latest development in this cross-border Salmonella saga.

The Canadian suit was filed on May 9, 2012 in the Superior Court of Quebec by the Consumer Law Group; the US suit was filed in the US District Court, Eastern District of New York on May 30, 2012 (Civil Action #CV12 2708).

Neither suit has received wide publicity yet, and the US suit, as of earlier today, boasted only two class members.

As of June 13, 2012, the CDC confirmed 20 cases of human salmonellosis in 13 states, all of them caused by a single strain of Salmonella Infantis – the same strain that was recovered from samples of dry pet food manufactured in the Gaston, South Carolina production facility of Diamond Pet Foods. Two cases also were confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada – one in Quebec and one in Nova Scotia.

It is rare that I choose to comment on the filing of law suits, class action or otherwise. But certain wording in the US filing by Samuel H. Rudman of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP made me cringe. On page 2 of the filing, and again on page 10, the Complaint refers to “the Salmonella virus.”

Messrs. Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd: Salmonella is NOT a virus. Salmonella is a bacterium. The two are very different – they have different survival and growth characteristics. Please get your terminology right!

It’s bad enough when a news reporter – whether in print, on the Internet, on radio or on television – makes this error and shows his or her ignorance. It’s doubly bad when a formal legal complaint makes the same error. It shows a lack of knowledge and lack of attention. It’s sloppy and does not engender confidence.

Messrs. Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd: Please educate yourselves. Your clients – actual and potential – deserve your full attention.