Corporate hunting trip ends in suit when man shot by camp cook

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 29, 2008, 6:00am

TEXARKANA, Ark. – While on a corporate hunting trip, a drunken camp cook allegedly shot another member of the party in the face, leading to a lawsuit against one of the nation's largest animal health product suppliers.

Richard Pearce filed a personal injury lawsuit against the sponsor of the trip, Walco International, on July 25 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

Pearce alleges he was shot in the face and neck while he was seated in a tree stand in a designated no-firearms area.

Pearce, a broiler manager for poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride, was invited on a bow hunting trip in Missouri by Walco salesman Larry Singleton, court papers say.

Walco International is one of the largest U.S. animal health products distributors. The company markets pharmaceuticals, biological, feed additives, equipment and instruments to commercial food animal producers like Pilgrim's Pride.

Singleton also brought along Jimmy Mitchell as the camp cook.

According to the complaint, "Jimmy Mitchell spent his time during the hunting trip intoxicated and poaching."

Pearce alleges Mitchell shot him, causing injuries to his face, eye and neck, court papers say.

Asserting negligence, Pearce states that Mitchell acted in this manner with Walco's full knowledge and under the control and supervision of Walco.

Pearce is seeking an award of damages for bodily injury, medical expenses, mental pain and anguish, loss of wages, and loss of earning capacity.

Defendant Walco International has not responded to the allegations.

Texarkana attorney Nicholas H. Patton of the law firm Patton, Tidwell and Schroeder LLP is representing the plaintiff.

Judge Harry F. Barnes will preside over the litigation.

Case No 4:2008cv04061

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