Family Settles Pesticide-Related Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The Toone family, whose two daughters died just days after a rat poison was placed around their home, has settled its wrongful death lawsuit filed against Bugman Pest and Lawn Inc., and the employee involved. The lawsuit was filed by the family of 4-year-old Rebecca Kay Toone, and her 15-month-old sister, Rachel Ana Toone, who died in February 2010.

Authorities who investigated the deaths believe that the girls might have inhaled phosphine fumes emitted from Fumitoxin pellets, a rat poison. The Utah Medical Examiner’s report showed that both girls had elevated levels of phosphorus in their bodies. It was reported that the girl’s deaths occurred after the exterminator for Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc., Coleman Nocks’, application of Fumitoxin pellets around the family’s home, in a manner, which was allegedly “inconsistent with the labeling.” The complaint named the Bountiful-based pest control company, Nocks, Bugman owners Raymond Wilson, Sr. and Raymond Wilson Jr., and five unidentified individuals. The complaint sought compensatory damages for the deaths.

Nocks and the pest control company also faced federal charges, and both parties pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to separate misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a registered pesticide.

Less than two months after the death of the Toone girls, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the residential use of Fumitoxin. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, which regulates the use of pesticides – started to crack down and really enforce their rules, mandating that consumers be notified in advance and should be given specific written information regarding any products labeled “danger” are to be used.

Unfortunately, it took the deaths of two little girls in order for action to be taken. Is this justice?

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