Two years ago two young girls died from pesticide poisoning. The family of the girls has just settled its wrongful death claim against the company and an employee the family claims were responsible for the girls’ deaths.
Nathan and Brenda Toone’s attorneys and the attorneys from Bugman Pest and Lawn filed papers ending the dispute last month. Two years ago, the Toone family contracted Bugman Pest and Lawn to exterminate field mice outside the Toone family home. They had authorized the use pesticides for the extermination. Within several days of Bugman Pest and Lawn’s treatment, the two Toone daughters’ hearts stopped and both died. The pesticide, Fumitoxin, was alleged by the family to have been improperly used in proximity to their house, and thus directly contributory to their daughters’ deaths.
Adding to the seriousness of the complaint, a key component and the active ingredient of Fumitoxin is aluminum phosphide. Aluminum phosphide was outlawed by the US Environmental Protection Agency just a few months after the Toone girls’ deaths.
Bugman Pest and Lawn, as well as its employee, Coleman Nocks, agreed to plead guilty to one count of misuse of a pesticide as part of the settlement agreement. In exchange, the Toones settled their claim against Bugman, Nocks, and “John Does 1-5,” who they alleged were responsible for Nocks’s training and use of equipment.
Previously, Bugman and Nocks had filed documents contending that the primary fault lay with unidentified “third parties” over whom Nocks would and could have no control.
The other details of the settlement are as yet unclear. The suit claimed unspecified damages. It alleged negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, nuisance and abnormally dangerous activity. The plaintiffs listed on the lawsuit included the two deceased girls, the girls’ older siblings, and the parents.
The criminal case to which Nocks and Bugman pled guilty will conclude its sentencing phase next month.