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Law firm in PCA case donates $25,000 for scholarships at Heritage

One of the legal firms that filed suit on behalf of victims in the Peanut Corp. of America salmonella case has donated $25,000 for scholarships to Heritage High School.

A news release from Lynchburg City Schools on Friday announced that the money from Seattle firm Marler Clark would go toward science scholarships.

“When communities have been hit by a foodborne illness outbreak, it’s not unusual for us to donate something to one of the local high schools,” said firm’s managing partner, William Marler, in an interview Friday.

The now-bankrupt PCA, based in the Lynchburg area, was linked to the outbreak that sparked a nationwide peanut product recall and was blamed in nine deaths. The lawsuit involved 122 claims.

A Lynchburg federal court judge in August recommended a more than $12 million settlement for victims in the case.

Marler said that since the outbreak was nationwide, the donation went to a Lynchburg high school because of the proximity of PCA headquarters.

As for deciding on Heritage, rather than E.C. Glass High School, Marler said there wasn’t a particular criterion.

“We just were looking for a high school in Lynchburg,” he said. “Nothing personal against one or in favor of another.”

He said the point of the scholarships is to “try to get kids to focus on science. There’s a lot of flexibility on the part of the school.”

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