Holiday Shores asks for clarification, possible appeal in Syngenta atrazine case

Amelia Flood Nov. 3, 2010, 11:10am


Less than a week after a Madison County judge gave the go-ahead to the appeal of a discovery order entered in one of a series of proposed class action suits against the makers of the weed-killer atrazine, there may be a cross appeal in the works.

Lead plaintiff Holiday Shores Sanitary District filed two motions and a notice of hearing Wednesday asking for clarification of part of an order entered by Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder last Friday that sent questions about what non-party discovery Holiday Shores could conduct on its way to the appellate court in Mount Vernon.

Holiday Shores is also asking for Crowder to hear arguments on an interlocutory appeal Nov. 15 at 9 a.m. in its suit against Syngenta Crop Protection Inc.

A copy of the appeal motion was not yet available in the case file.

Holiday Shores, represented by attorney Stephen Tillery, proposes to lead a class of Illinois water providers against the makers and distributors of the herbicide atrazine, claiming it contaminates their drinking water supplies causing human health problems.

The defendants deny the claims and have been fighting the suits for six years.

Most recently, several non-parties to the case including the Heartland Institute, Illinois Farm Bureau and chemical industry lobbying groups, have been fighting subpoenas and other discovery requests served by Tillery.

Crowder heard arguments on the matter first in September.

She issued an order then allowing Holiday Shores to discover information related to Syngenta.

The parties returned to Crowder's courtroom Oct. 25, asking her to certify questions for appeal that the defense claimed were related to First Amendment issues touched on in her previous order.

Holiday Shores argued that the defense could not appeal a discovery order on constitutional grounds.

Crowder sided with Syngenta and non-party Heartland Institute and certified the appeals questions.

She also stayed Holiday Shores' discovery of the other non-parties pending the outcome of the defense appeal.

In the Nov. 3 motion, the plaintiffs ask Crowder to clarify whether her Oct. 29 order stays all non-party discovery or just the discovery related to the documents where the non-parties assert privilege.

"It would serve no useful purpose and be counter to judicial economy to stay ongoing discovery from these parties concerning documents and information unrelated to the asserted associational privilege, particularly when the Plaintiffs and subpoenaed third parties are actively engaged in working out compliance," the motion reads.

Kurtis Reeg represents Syngenta.

The notice of hearing names Crowder as the judge set to hear the Nov. 15 arguments.

However, the motion also appears on Madison County Circuit Judge
Daniel Stack's calendar as Stack had been slated to take over the Syngenta case along with the rest of Crowder's civil docket in August.

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

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

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