Court backs jail time for egg executives in salmonella case

By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld jail sentences for two egg industry executives whose Iowa company caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak in 2010.

In a long-awaited decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday backed the three-month jail sentences issued last year to Austin “Jack” DeCoster and son Peter DeCoster.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett sentenced them last year, citing a “litany of shameful conduct” that happened at their large egg-production company. But Bennett allowed them their freedom while they appealed the sentences, which the DeCosters argued were unconstitutional and unreasonable. Business groups took up their cause.

In a 2-1 decision, an appeals panel ruled that the DeCosters “are liable for negligently failing to prevent the salmonella outbreak” and that jail time is appropriate.

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