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A federal judge has approved a settlement in the cases stemming from last year's salmonella contamination of peanuts and peanut butter. The Peanut Corporation of America was responsible for the peanut salmonella outbreak that killed nine and sickened at least 700 people in 2008 and 2009. The PCA filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
U.S. District Judge Norman Moon has approved the $12 million settlement, according to the Associated Press. Some funds will be paid by PCA's insurer, Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., and some will be paid by Kellogg Co., which purchased some of the peanut products. Settlement funds will be divided based on the severity of the victim's illnesses.
As discussed in a post on FindLaw's Common Law, the investigation that followed the outbreak seemed to indicate Peanut Corporation of America executives may have known of the possible contamination, but decided to ship their products regardless. At this time, no criminal charges have been brought against anyone connected with the salmonella outbreak.
According to FoodSafetyNews, a claims administrator appointed by the bankruptcy court trustee was entrusted with the division of the settlement fund among the victims. He dismissed one claim he found suspicious and which turned out to be just one of 43 lawsuits filed in federal courts by the would-be claimant.
Plaintiffs' attorneys are satisfied with the settlement. "I am pleased that we will be able to tell our clients that they will finally receive reimbursement for their medical expenses and wage loss," said Marler Clark managing partner Bill Marler. "This has been a complex settlement process but has resolved to the benefit of those injured."