Federal court officers have recommended a sentence of life in prison for a peanut company executive convicted of selling salmonella-tainted food, a move that attorneys on both sides called "unprecedented" for a food-poisoning case.
In fact, Marler and other experts say the trial of Parnell and two co-defendants last year was the first federal food-poisoning case to be tried by an American court. A jury convicted Parnell of 71 counts including conspiracy, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and other crimes related to a salmonella outbreak in 2008 and 2009. The Centers for Disease Control linked the outbreak to nine deaths and 714 illnesses. It prompted one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.
For many years, no doubt to the great annoyance of the people reading this, I have been harping on about a common sense revising of liability in corporate American as the key method to curtailing corporate malfeasance. That is to remove the shield that the entity of a corporation provides and to hold both the entity and the officers of it simultaneously responsible for their actions. In any corporation for any kind of actionable violation, there is a key decision maker. There is someone who makes the decision that recalling those cars makes less financial sense than settling the lawsuits, or that following proper safety processes entails too much cost. So when a flaw that has been recognized and studied by a car company roasts a family of five alive in the middle of the highway, you have a direct connection to the decision that killed them and the person who made it. When a piece of machinery that has been tagged as a H&S issues but isn't replaced due to cost cripples a worker for life, you have exact information who made that call. If it's a committee that did it, they share liability equally.
So, here's my question. After the first wave of executives find themselves on trial for conspiracy to commit murder or negligence causing bodily harm, how fast do you think the pushback is against the board towards maximizing profits at the expense of safety? Especially in those states where are their money is flowing to politicians who support the death penalty and mandatory sentencing.