A judge has given attorneys representing 92 victims of a 2004 salmonella outbreak in West Virginia and eight other states the green light to proceed with their claims against Pennsylvania-based Sheetz and the now-defunct Coronet Foods.

The plaintiffs are among more than 400 people sickened when they ate sandwiches prepared with sliced Roma tomatoes contaminated by salmonella bacteria. Although the salmonella was not traced directly to either company, by law both can be held strictly liable – Coronet because it supplied the tainted tomatoes and Sheetz because it sold sandwiches with those tomatoes to the plaintiffs.

Coronet, which had been headquartered in Wheeling, filed bankruptcy in the months following the outbreak, forcing an automatic stay in the Pennsylvania lawsuit as well as other potential litigation.