According to news reports, the U.S. bankruptcy judge said today he will sign an order establishing a $12 million fund to pay claims from people sickened by Salmonella poisoning connected to Lynchburg-based Peanut Corporation of America.

The action by judge William E. Anderson sets the framework for settling about 175 claims for illnesses traced to PCA’s plant in Blakely, Georgia.  The fund will be administered by Roy Creasy, bankruptcy trustee for Western Virginia. The money will be provided by two Hartford Insurance divisions.

According to William Marler, attorney for 125 of the filed claimants, "the $12 million will be a start in compensating the victims and their families.  Please remember, at least nine people died and over 700 were sickened."

Notice of the claims process will be published in USA Today.  "People still have time to file claims with the Court.  The $12 million can only be used to compensate the personal injury victims.  If $12 million is not sufficient to satisfy all claims, Kellogg and King Nut, the two largest re-manufacturers, will need to pay the balance," added Marler.