United Agri-Products files motion to dismiss atrazine class action

Amelia Flood Apr. 12, 2010, 3:42am


Another defendant in a series of six proposed class actions over alleged water contamination by a popular weed killer has filed to dismiss.

Defendant United Agri-Products will have its motion to dismiss heard along with fellow defendant Syngenta Crop Protection Inc.'s dismissal move Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

A copy of the April 6 United Agri-Products motion is not yet available in the case file, nor is a copy of the Syngenta motion to dismiss.

According to the notice of hearing filed for the motion, it is a motion to dismiss suits brought by lead plaintiff Holiday Shores Sanitary District on the grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction.

Holiday Shores and seven other named plaintiffs are suing United Agri-Products and other makers of the herbicide atrazine, alleging it runs off of fields and contaminates drinking water.

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that atrazine is safe in drinking water up to three parts per billion, the plaintiffs allege that even smaller amounts cause medical problems for human beings.

Syngenta filed its motion to dismiss last week.

Moves by the defendants in the suits to send the claims of seven co-plaintiffs in the suit – Flora, Mattoon, Mount Olive, Litchfield, Fairfield, Hillsboro and Carlinville – back to their home counties remain pending.

The defendants contend that the seven municipalities must bring their claims in their home counties -- not in Madison County --because Illinois law dictates that property damage claims be resolved where injury takes place.

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Stephen Tillery, disputes that argument.

Although Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder heard arguments on the venue change in February, she has yet to enter an order deciding the issue.

The 2004 suits are still in the early stages of discovery.

Crowder took over the cases last year from Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack. Stack plans to retire this year.

A Syngenta motion to compel is also set for hearing April 14 along with the motions to dismiss.

The defendants in the suits and their representations are as follows:
Sipcam Agro USA is represented by Geoffrey Bryce.

Growmark and Dow Chemical Company are represented by Shultz.

Growmark is a defendant in all of the suits.

Syngenta is represented by Kurtis Reeg.

United Agri-Products Inc. is represented by Reeg in a special limited appearance.

Drexel Chemical Company is represented by Daniel Cray.

Makhteshim-Agan of North America is represented by Russell Scott.

The atrazine cases are Madison case numbers 04-L-708 to 04-L-713.

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Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460

Dow Chemical
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674

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