Parties set out discovery schedule in federal Syngenta atrazine class action

Amelia Flood Jan. 27, 2011, 5:37am


The parties in a proposed federal class action over water contamination allegedly caused by the weed killer atrazine have laid out discovery steps that will lead them to argue whether the case should be certified.

United States Magistrate Judge Phillip Frazier of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois signed an order Jan. 24 setting out a scheduling agreement between the plaintiff, the city of Greenville, and defendants Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. and its parent company, Syngenta AG.

Greenville's lead attorney, Stephen Tillery, also asked the court on Jan. 18 to set a date for oral arguments on a pending Syngenta AG's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Greenville proposes to lead a class of water providers in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio and other states.

The plaintiffs claim that atrazine, a weed killer made by the defendants, runs off farm fields into drinking water supplies that the plaintiffs must remediate.

The suit is nearly identical to a number of atrazine class actions filed in Madison County in 2004.

Syngenta is among the Madison County defendants being sued by a proposed class of water providers led by Holiday Shores Sanitary District.

Tillery, Christie Deaton and Christine Moody also represent the Holiday Shores plaintiffs.

The Madison County case against Syngenta is set for hearing Feb. 18 on matters related to non-party discovery that Holiday Shores wants to conduct.

According to the Jan. 24 order, the defendants and plaintiffs are to complete taking discovery depositions by Aug. 1.

Greenville must also disclose its list of expert witnesses by that date.

The Syngenta defendants have until Sept. 1 to disclose their experts.

The plaintiffs will then have until Oct. 1 to disclose rebuttal experts.

Depositions related to class certification will be taken by both sides through September and October.

The plaintiffs' motion for class certification and its supporting documents are due Oct. 15.

The defense opposition is due a month later.

More disclosures and discovery will continue through the later part of the year leading up to the culmination of all discovery Feb. 10, 2012.

Dispositive motions are due later that month.

The suit's final pre-trial conference, according to the order, is set for June 7, 2012.

A trial date is set for the case before District Court Judge J. Phillip Gilbert June 18, 2012.

Kurtis Reeg represents Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. in both the federal and state class actions.

Mark Suprenant, Michael Pope, and others represent Syngenta AG.

The federal case is case number 10-188-JPG.

The older Madison County class action that remains on-going is Madison case number 04-L-710.

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