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The family of two girls who died from pesticide poisoning nearly two years ago has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and employee blamed for the accident.
Attorneys for Nathan and Brenda Toone's family joined with those representing Bugman Pest and Lawn of Bountiful and former employee Coleman Nocks in filing court papers last month that ended the civil suit. Second District Judge Michael Allphin finalized the case on Nov. 21. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Expressing their intent to see "that those responsible for this tragedy are held fully accountable, both within the civil and criminal justice system," the Toones filed the case in March. Just over a year earlier Rebecca Toone, age 4, and her sister, Rachel, age 15 months, succumbed after breathing fumes from the pesticide Fumitoxin the company used to exterminate field mice outside their Layton home.
The Toone's attorney, Peter Summerill, had no comment on the case, including the settlement terms. "At this point in time," he said, "the Toones have no comment."
While they have declined public comment throughout the case, the Toones have attended every court hearing.
Lawyers for Bugman and Nocks did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Settlement discussions were reportedly underway in October, when Nocks and Bugman owner Ray Wilson, Sr., changed their pleas to "guilty" to a single count of the federal crime of misapplying a registered pesticide, charges related to using too much Fumitoxin too close to the house on Feb. 5, 2010.
As part of the plea bargain in the criminal case, both men accepted responsibility for the deaths. Previously, both defendants had denied culpability.
The company said in papers filed in the wrongful death case on June 1 that "other individuals and entities may be at fault for the matters complained of in the plaintiffs' complaint and may have liability for the injuries and damages alleged."
Similarly, Nocks' defense in that case said "additional investigation and discovery may show the plaintiffs' additional injuries and deaths were proximately caused by the fault of third parties over which Mr. Nocks had no control."
The wrongful death suit noted that the girls died after their hearts shut down within four days of the Fumitoxin application.
The suit sought unspecified damages, claiming negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, nuisance and abnormally dangerous activity. The plaintiffs included all six members of the Toone family: the parents, the girls and their older brother and sister.
It also named John Does "1-5" as potential defendants who were involved in training, supervising or overseeing Nocks' work.
Sentencing in the criminal case is set for next month.
Several months after the accident, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the use of aluminum phosphide, the active ingredient in Fumitoxin, around homes and other occupied buildings. In addition, the state's pesticide program was updated to beef up training for the people licensed to use registered pesticides.