The family of an elderly Minnesotan whose death was linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak has sued the manufacturer of the peanut butter the man had eaten.

Clifford Tousignant, 78, originally of Duluth, died Jan. 12 in a Brainerd nursing home.

Although health officials said underlying health problems made it difficult to say whether salmonella was directly responsible for his death, a Minneapolis law firm filed suit against the company that makes King Nut peanut butter.

The suit, against Kanan Enterprises, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Hundreds of people were sickened and a handful died nationwide during the outbreak.

Last winter's salmonella investigation focused on peanut butter distributed to food suppliers in seven states by the King Nut company and nationally by the Peanut Corp. of America, of Lynchburg, Va.