> Deadly Peanut Butter Lawsuit Appeal Given ‘More Time’ - The Food Safety Company Deadly Peanut Butter Lawsuit Appeal Given ‘More Time’ - The Food Safety Company
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    Monday, 14 November 2016

    Deadly Peanut Butter Lawsuit Appeal Given ‘More Time’

    Stuart Parnell is serving prison time for his role in the salmonella outbreak - Img source: Chicago Tribune
    A US judge has awarded greater scope for preparations to be made to a legal appeal following the convictions of several individuals in September 2014 for their culpability in a deadly outbreak of salmonella carried in tainted peanut butter. Nine died and hundreds were made sick in the United States after contracting salmonella from PeanutCorporation of America (PCA) products in 2008-9. The appellants’ prior charges included conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and the sale of misbranded foods. The trial is said by the appellants’ legal team to be ‘the most significant food safety case in history.’

    In total, three people were sentenced in 2014: Stewart Parnell, former President of PCA; his brother, Michael Parnell, formerly of P.P. Sales and broker for PCA; and Mary Wilkerson, former quality assurance manager at PCA. Their sentences of 28 years, 20 years and five years respectively were dealt by W. Louis Sands, Senior U.S. Court District Judge, but are being appealed in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Their legal team has now been granted 3,000 additional words to their opening briefs and a time extension until 25 November to submit them.

    The main charges for which the Parnell brothers were sentenced involved the shipping of peanuts containing salmonella before lab testing had yielded results, and the subsequent falsification of lab results with a view to cover things up.

    Their attorneys, Joseph R. Pope and Justin Lugar, assert the case ‘spans tens of thousands of pages and features a number of extraordinarily complex legal and factual issues.’ As the Huffington Post pointed out some months ago, although Judge Sands ruled in April that the accused would not have to pay any restitution to their victims, claiming it would be too complicated and take too long to nail down precise amounts due, the initial decision was nevertheless ‘the harshest criminal penalty ever for a U.S. producer in a food-borne illness case.’

    The appeal, which has yet to begin, is expected to run for some time.

    James Stannard

    James has a Bachelor’s degree in History and wrote his dissertation on beef and protest. His heroes list ranges from Adele to Noam Chomsky: inspirations he’ll be invoking next year when he begins a Master’s degree in London.
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