Following a hearing on the admissibility of expert testimony proffered as to Stewart Parnell’s ability to form the intent to commit alleged crimes arising from a national Salmonella outbreak linked to the Peanut Corp. of America, the company he formerly owned, a federal court in Georgia has excluded the expert, finding his testimony unhelpful and lacking a link to the criminal allegations. United States v. Parnell, No. 13-12 (U.S. Dist. Ct., M.D. Ga., Albany Div., order entered June 24, 2014). Details about the criminal charges appear in Issue 472 of this Update.
Clinical psychologist Joseph Conley would have testified that Parnell has an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder condition that was so severe he likely never read, nor understood the significance of, many of the emails on which the government’s case relies. According to the court, “Dr. Conley’s testimony is a ‘diminished capacity defense’ designed to show that Parnell did not form an intent to defraud customers, but that testimony is unhelpful to the jury. The allegations in this case involve a complex scheme to defraud and allegations of willfulness—not errors and mistakes in processing ‘the daily plethora of calls and emails required in managing three companies.’”