TOPEKA – (May 5, 2020) – A man facing a civil lawsuit over his autopsy services has now been temporarily banned by court order from offering services related to COVID-19 while the lawsuit is pending, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
Shawn Parcells, 37, of Leawood, and his affiliated companies have been banned for more than a year from conducting autopsies, forensic pathology and tissue recovery in the State of Kansas under a temporary restraining order in a civil lawsuit the attorney general filed in Shawnee County District Court in March 2019. The underlying lawsuit alleges violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and the Kansas False Claims Act, and it remains in litigation. The new order granted today by District Judge Mary E. Christopher extends the existing restraining order to prohibit the defendants from, among other things:
- traveling outside the state of Kansas or the Kansas City metro area without approval of the Court;
- offering any services in connection with the human body including but not limited to the healing arts, epidemiology, infectious disease, coronavirus, COVID-19 and any treatment, protocol, diagnosis, medication, opinion, or other recommendation;
- advertising, soliciting, accepting payment for, contracting, performing, or in any manner conducting business or consumer transactions in epidemiology and infectious disease, including coronavirus and COVID-19.
The expanded restraining order was requested by the attorney general’s office. During a telephone hearing last week, the court found that Parcells had formed new businesses and websites, including social media, that offered consulting services for coronavirus and COVID-19, which amounted to deceptive or unconscionable misrepresentations in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Parcells was offering to enter homes and businesses, perform swabs for purported coronavirus testing and examine deceased persons to determine if they were positive for COVID-19. Parcells was quoted in media reports stating he had been contacted by two families in New York for COVID-19 testing on deceased family.
The ongoing civil lawsuit filed by the attorney general alleges 14 violations of the Kansas False Claims Act and violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act involving three consumers. The petition alleges Parcells contracted with Wabaunsee County to conduct coroner-ordered autopsies and failed to complete them in accordance with Kansas law. Additionally, the petition alleges he performed autopsies without the presence or supervision of a licensed pathologist.
In addition to expanding the temporary restraining order to cover services and solicitations by Parcells related to COVID-19, today’s order also finds Parcells in contempt of court for violating the existing restraining order. It is the third time during the civil litigation Parcells has been found in contempt of court.
Separate criminal charges filed by the attorney general also remain pending against Parcells in Wabaunsee County District Court. Charges are merely accusations. Individuals are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of the temporary restraining order granted today in the civil case is available at https://bit.ly/35B63T8.