Peanut Corporation of America, the company at the center of the nationwide salmonella scare, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and will begin liquidating its assets as legal claims pile up against it.
"Given that PCA is under criminal investigation, I'm not surprised they've gone bankrupt," said Bill Marler, a Seattle-based lawyer representing 47 clients who are suing the company, including family members of two victims who died after reportedly consuming peanut products tainted with salmonella.
Companies that Lynchburg, Va.-based PCA supplied with peanut products have also gone to court against it, and PCA's insurer, Hartford Casualty Insurance, has filed a lawsuit in an effort to limit its liability.
PCA's products have been linked to nine deaths and 636 cases of food poisoning in 44 states, and more claims expected to follow. Records released during congressional hearings last week showed the company continued to ship its products even after they tested positive for deadly bacteria.