Third parties moving to quash subpoenas in atrazine class action

Amelia Flood Dec. 2, 2010, 9:00am


The Illinois Farm Bureau is calling a subpoena it faces as third party to a proposed Madison County class action "overbroad."

Claiming First Amendment protection, the Farm Bureau on Nov. 24 filed a response to a subpoena it received from plaintiff attorney Stephen Tillery. It seeks to protect documents and activities from a case involving the popular herbicide atrazine.

The Farm Bureau and other third party trade groups have sought to quash subpoenas in one of six proposed class actions filed on behalf of lead plaintiff Holiday Shores Sanitation District.

Holiday Shores, which proposes to lead of class of Illinois water providers, is suing Syngenta and a number of other makers and distributors of atrazine, alleging the chemical contaminates drinking water when it runs off of farm fields.

In the Farm Bureau's recent filing, it also submitted a privilege log related to the response to the court, but it was not yet available in the case file.

In September, Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder issued an order detailing what Holiday Shores was entitled to, but third parties to the litigation, including the Farm Bureau, the University of Chicago and others, took issue with parts of the order.

Crowder, who no longer presides over the case, later certified questions for appeal related to her order detailing what Holiday Shores is entitled to discover.

Syngenta has tried unsuccessfully to have the suit thrown out.

Meanwhile, a new third party in the case, Du-Con, filed a motion to quash a defense subpoena Nov. 16.

Du-Con claims that it has explained to defense counsel Kurtis Reeg that it does not have documents related to its work for Holiday Shores.

The company states in a letter to Reeg dated Sept. 28 that the documents Syngenta seeks are kept at the sanitation district site and that an employee the defense wishes to question also works there.

"To the best of Du-Con, Inc.'s understanding and belief, all documents being requested have been produced by Holiday Shores Sanitary District," the motion to quash reads.

It asks the court to throw out the subpoena.

Christopher Byron represents the Farm Bureau.

Bob Perica represents Du-Con.

Although Crowder has continued to hear motions in the case, the suit is part of the docket assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, who is retiring Friday.

His docket will likely go to William Mudge, who won November's election for Stack's vacancy.

Mudge will be sworn in Monday.

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

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

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