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Mixed Fruit Suit: Del Monte Offers to Settle with Man Claiming Injury from Flying Jar Lid

Del Monte Mixed Fruit Cans on Store Shelf (AP Photo, file)

Del Monte Mixed Fruit Cans on Store Shelf (AP Photo, file)

DETROIT (CBS/AP) A Michigan man who says he was knocked unconscious when a lid exploded off a jar of fruit and hit him in the face was offered $150,000 to settle his lawsuit against a grocer and a fruit company.

But the lawyer for Darryl Alexander of Southfield says the offer from Del Monte Foods of San Francisco and Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. is too low because his client has permanent eye damage.

Del Monte and Kroger insist there's no credible evidence that the jar was unsafe, but they made the offer last week after a judge refused to dismiss Alexander's lawsuit.  Alexander claims that in April 2008 the stubborn lid flew through the air and struck him in the eye after he hit it with the rubber handle of a screwdriver. This he says, happened after he first placed the jar of Orchard Select mixed fruit under warm water.

"It happened so fast. I just had no time to react. ... I staggered, lost consciousness and fell to the floor. I eventually screamed for my wife," the 56-year-old Alexander said when interviewed during a deposition last December.

Kroger and Del Monte made the $150,000 offer this week, about a month after U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan cleared the way for a trial by refusing to throw out much of the lawsuit. A trial date has not been set.

The offer is "not an admission that defendants are liable," said Jack Klamink, attorney for Del Monte and Kroger.

The court file includes a photo of a fruit jar and a badly damaged lid that no longer fits. Alexander was treated at a hospital and wore an eye patch for several weeks.

  • Barry Leibowitz

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