Over a year after the outbreak of Salmonella in peanut butter that sickened hundreds and caused the deaths of at least nine, criminal prosecution of the responsible parties has yet to begin. Marler Clark, who represents more than 45 of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) victims, is assisting them in an effort to hold PCA president Stewart Parnell accountable for his actions. Some of the victims spoke this week about Parnell and PCA.
“As someone who testified in front of the House subcommittee last February, I saw the emails that Parnell had sent out,” said Lou Tousignant, whose father, Clifford Tousignant, died from eating the tainted product. “I saw that he knowingly shipped contaminated product to high-risk areas (nursing homes and schools). If there can be a precedent of criminal charges for those that knowingly commit an act that can cause harm to society, maybe someone like Parnell would think twice before shipping contaminated products that sickened hundreds and killed 9 people, including my father.”
Bill Marler, managing partner of Marler Clark and attorney for the victims, agreed. “In 17 years of litigating every major foodborne illness outbreak in the US, I have not seen a clearer situation that demanded criminal prosecution,” he said. “If not this case, when?”
“We think his actions were akin to a personal invasion of our home to assault Karen,” said Larry Andrew, whose wife was severely sickened by Salmonella in PCA peanut butter. “He killed people! If a similar methodology were to be undertaken by a cell of terrorists, the country would be outraged and the federal government would immediately arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.”
Earlene Carter, whose mother, Minnie Borden, succumbed to her Salmonella infection, added that Mr. Parnell “…should face the consumers under criminal law – not civil – to answer for the crimes he committed. After depriving families of their loved ones (who are gone to soon), he should not be shielded. This should never happen again.”