AG adds 79 consumers in Parcells case, seeks to return biological samples

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 11:06 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More families may have been harmed by Shawn Parcells, so the state is looking to return biological samples to them.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says 79 more people were harmed by a Leawood man accused of providing autopsy services in violation of state law, bringing the total number of people to 82, according to an amended civil petition with the court.

According to Schmidt, the state now has control of over 1,600 biological samples collected by Shawn Parcells, 41, of Leawood, and is working to identify family members or others with a legal claim to individual samples. He said many of the samples are small, like vials of blood or slides prepared for microscopes, but some are larger samples of human tissue.

Schmidt said a Shawnee County District Court judge approved his request to amend the state’s civil lawsuit filed against Parcells and his affiliated companies, increasing the number of people affected by the allegations to 82 from three when the lawsuit was first filed in March of 2019. He said he is looking for restitution for the families for violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.

According to Schmidt, the ongoing lawsuit alleges three counts of violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and 14 counts of Kansas False Claims Act violations. He said the petition alleges that Parcells contracted with Wabaunsee County to conduct coroner ordered autopsies and failed to complete them in accordance with the law. He said additionally, the petition alleges he performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a licensed pathologist or otherwise in violation of consumer protection laws. He said in March of 2019, Sawnee Co. District Judge Mary E. Christopher temporarily banned Parcells and his affiliated companies from conducting autopsies. He said Judge Christopher expanded the order in May of 2020 when Parcells formed new companies and began offering services related to COVID-19 and tax services while the lawsuit was pending.

Schmidt said Parcells has also been charged criminally in Wabaunsee Co. District Court with three felony counts of theft and three misdemeanor counts of criminal desecration. He said a scheduling conference, in that case, is scheduled for January of 2021.

According to Schmidt, in the course of the civil investigation and litigation, Kansas has gained control of over 1,600 biological samples collected by Parcells. He said in November of 2019, Judge Christopher appointed Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman as the receiver and directed the KDHE to take control of the samples. He said under court order, the state cataloged and stored the samples. He said that after proper verification of requests, the samples will be released to family members who request them from the state. He said after efforts to find and contact family members have been exhausted, the state will look for judicial approval to dispose of unclaimed or unidentified samples in a medically appropriate fashion.

Schmidt said he requests that anyone who has conducted business with Parcells and his companies and has reason to believe a family member’s biological samples may now be in the possession of the state, to visit his website. He said the link will provide access to forms that must be completed to request the return of the samples and to file a consumer complaint.

For questions regarding the civil litigation, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 785-296-3751 or toll-free at 800-432-2310.

A full copy of the amended petition can be found here.

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