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Settlement talks under way in listeria lawsuits

DENVER (AP) -- A settlement is in the works in lawsuits against a Colorado farm identified as the source of a nationwide listeria outbreak last fall that killed at least 30 people.

Attorneys for Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., and for 39 people who were sickened or died said Monday a deal could be worked out by this fall.

Bill Marler, the lawyer for 39 plaintiffs, says the settlement could also include a food-processing equipment manufacturer and a company that did a safety audit of the farm.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in December that 30 people died and 146 were sickened. Marler believes 36 deaths can be attributed to the outbreak.

The FDA has said dirty water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame.