Federal Syngenta atrazine suit continues as five hour settlement conference comes to nothing

Amelia Flood Apr. 14, 2011, 6:52am


A five hour settlement conference did not result in the end of a federal class action suit brought against the maker of the popular weed killer atrazine.

Attorneys for lead plaintiff the City of Greenville, Ill., Syngenta AG, and Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. met for a settlement conference in the case April 11.

The conference took place at the federal courthouse in Benton with U.S. Magistrate Judge Phillip Frazier presiding.

Greenville proposes to lead a class of cities and other water providers from Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and other states against the Syngenta defendants.

They allege that the defendants' atrazine runs off farm fields into drinking water supplies that the plaintiffs and proposed class members must then remediate.

The suit sprang out of six nearly identical state class actions filed seven years ago in Madison County.

Those suits, including one filed against Syngenta, are bogged down in discovery disputes.

Documentation in the Greenville case notes the conference took five "in court" hours and that no settlement has been reached.

The Syngenta defendants have denied the claims in both the Madison County and federal case.

Syngenta AG, the Switzerland-based parent of Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., has moved to dismiss the counts against it for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Six days before the settlement conference took place, the Environmental Law & Policy Center and Prairie Rivers Network filed a motion that, if granted, would vacate a protective order.

The protective order in question concerns exhibits and filings related to the Syngenta dismissal move.

Stephen Tillery and others represent the plaintiffs in the federal and Madison County atrazine suits.

Kurtis Reeg and others represent Syngenta in the two suits.

Howard Learner and others represent the environmental groups in the federal action.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Phil Gilbert presides in the federal suit.

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

The original Madison County case is case number 04-L-710.

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