Atrazine motion hearing to be reset

Amelia Flood Jul. 1, 2010, 2:00am



A hearing over dueling motions to compel in one of a series of Madison County alleged water contamination class actions is off.

Attorney Kurtis Reeg, who represents defendant Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. in the cases involving the popular weed killer atrazine, informed the court on June 29 that the hearing would be reset.

Reeg and plaintiffs' counsel Stephen Tillery had been set to argue their motions before Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder Thursday at 10 a.m.

Tillery represents lead plaintiff Holiday Shores who proposes to lead a series of class actions against the makers and distributors of atrazine, an herbicide.

The 2004 suits allege that atrazine runs off farm fields and contaminates drinking water supplies.

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

Tillery is also leading a federal class action against Syngenta and its parent company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

That class, made up of water providers from Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and other states, alleges claims that are nearly identical to those asserted in the Madison County suits.

Syngenta has moved to stay or dismiss the Madison County suit due to the simulataneous federal action.

The plaintiffs object to that move, alleging that the Madison County class would not be eligible to join the federal action and that a dismissal would deny them relief.

Crowder heard arguments on the issue earlier this month and has taken the matter under advisement.

The atrazine suits have only just begun to move into the discovery phase.

Crowder has already refereed several discovery disputes to date.

She took over the cases from Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack last year due to Stack's announced retirement plans.

The Syngenta case is Madison case number 04-L-710.

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

The federal case is case number 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF.

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