Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

‘Daubert Hearing’ Scheduled for Stewart Parnell’s ADHD Witness

Attorneys for the government and defendant Stewart Parnell have agreed on a date for a “Daubert hearing” to determine the viability of an expert witness ready to testify that the former peanut company executive suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

A “Daubert hearing” is an evidentiary proceeding held by a federal judge to determine the admissibility of expert scientific testimony. It was named for the plaintiff in the 1993 case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals.

The government and defense attorneys have agreed that Dr. Joseph C. Conley, Jr., Parnell’s clinical psychologist from Lynchburg, VA, will testify at such a hearing on March 13, 2014, before federal Judge W. Louis Sands. The government also has the right to call its own expert witness.

Parnell, his brother Michael, and two other former managers of the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) are together charged with a total of 76 federal felony counts in a complex criminal case involving conspiracy and fraud. The indictments followed PCA’s involvement as the source of a deadly Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak in 2008-2009 that resulted in nine deaths and 700 people being sickened.

If recognized by the judge as an expert, Conley is prepared to say that Stewart Parnell’s ADHD means, according to his attorney, that “the tragic events at PCA (Peanut Corporation of America) were not the result of a complicated, concerted scheme, but rather the result of inept daily plant management and negligent employees.”

Also pending is a motion by the Parnell brothers for separate trials. Stewart Parnell’s attorney wrote to the court on Jan. 15 to say that he had nothing more to offer on the issue.

The scheduling order puts the federal criminal case on track for this coming July and August, possibility beginning as early as July 7. The case is being tried in U.S. Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Albany.

© Food Safety News
  • John Munsell

    I’m still laughing, at this latest attempt to downplay Stewart Parnell’s complicity in this eggregious and deliberate sanitation problem. In the late 60′s, comedian Flip Wilson popularized the phrase “The Devil Made Me Do It”, thus Flip was ostensibly not responsible for his actions. Fast forward 50 years, and Mr. Parnell claims no responsibility for unsafe peanut butter, because the devil (ADHD) made him do it. Egads, what is happening in this country? Do Parnell’s attorneys think the legal system is run by functional illiterates? John Munsell

  • Oginikwe

    Wait! Wait!! Did he eat Twinkies, too? He can multiply his chances of getting off with that junk food defense! (The Twinkie Defense: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twinkie_defense)

    If this crap defense works, justice is just plain stupid.

  • Randy Napier

    Jeff,
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I try (and believe me I try hard) to forgive and pray for them, but I just can’t and I will carry that heavy heart with me the rest of my life. He (and the rest of them) took my mother from me. I have always thought that I was a better person and a forgiving, but once I heard the defense of ADHD…… I am truly sorry that I cannot forgive. God help me….

  • KennethKendrick

    Can fly high personal plane for a thousand miles but has and mental disorder…we all know better. Id you get an email that says “turn em lose” when you know the peanuts have salmonella what attention span do you need for that to be conspiring. I know better, the other employees know better, and the email chain (in the congressional record) shows this is a load of BS. He ordered the GA plant to “turn em loose” but now wants to blame others. This is an insult to people who really do suffer from ADHD and would not be able to open 3 plants….but somehow he can operate 3 plants, fly a plane, read lab reports, and try to sell of cheaper peanuts to a company breaking labeling laws, get busted for doing it on the spot, and write a 3 page letter still trying to convince them to buy and mislabel….this is an insult to people with real mental issues, who are not crooks.