Bloomberg Law’s® extensive network of reporters and editors provides comprehensive authoritative coverage of significant developments and issues in product safety and liability...
Criminal convictions and lengthy prison sentences for two peanut industry executives stemming from a widespread salmonella outbreak that led to nine deaths will stand, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Jan. 23.
The outbreak in 2008 and 2009, which sickened at least 714 people in 46 states, helped spur the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, a federal law designed to prevent, rather than respond to, foodborne illness outbreaks.
The three-judge panel rejected claims by Stewart and Michael Parnell, executives of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), that jurors had impermissibly researched the outbreak, and therefore were exposed to information other than that presented in court.
The appeals court in its unpublished opinion deferred to the district judge, who conducted two hearings on the extrinsic evidence claims, and also noted “overwhelming” evidence of guilt in the case negating the notion that any improper evidence influenced the jury’s verdicts.
Prosecutors charged that PCA knowingly shipped salmonella-tainted peanuts, and that the Parnells defrauded customers by covering up the presence of salmonella and fabricating documents accompanying peanut shipments that said the product was free of pathogens.
The sentences in the cases, which include three years of supervised release, are the largest ever imposed in a food safety case.
Stewart was sentenced to 336 months in prison, while Michael was sentenced to 240 months.
The court rejected Michael’s claim that his sentence was excessive.
The conviction of another PCA employee, Mary Wilkerson, also was upheld.
Judges Gerald B. Tjoflat, Beverly B. Martin, and R. Lanier Anderson III participated in the decision.
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore represented Stewart Parnell.
Williams Mullen, as well as Cook Noell Tolley & Bates represented Michael Parnell.
The Ledford Law Firm represented Wilkerson.
The case is United States v. Parnell , 11th Cir., No. 15-14400, unpublished 1/23/18 .
To contact the reporter on this story: Steven M. Sellers in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2018 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)