Holiday Shores files for more time on sanctions move in Syngenta atrazine case

Amelia Flood Apr. 27, 2011, 8:16am


The Holiday Shores Sanitary District has asked for more time to take a deposition related to a sanctions move in a proposed class action against Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., the maker of the weed killer, atrazine.

Holiday Shores already has sanctions moves pending in the seven year-old suit over what it claims was a "cover-up" related to the date an expert witness was retained.

Holiday Shores filed for the extension on April 26 in relation to a sanctions move it has pending over documents held by Syngenta's parent company, Syngenta AG, in Switzerland.

Syngenta has yet to file a response to the April 26 move.

Holiday Shores is leading six nearly identical proposed class actions against Syngenta and the other makers and distributors of atrazine.

Holiday Shores and its fellow lead plaintiffs allege that they and a class of cities and other water providers are forced to remediate drinking water supplies after atrazine runs off farm fields and contaminates those supplies.

The 2004 Madison County class actions sparked a virtually identical class action in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois last year.

That suit, led by the City of Greenville, Ill., would include class members from Missouri, Ohio and other states.

None of the Madison County suits nor the federal case have been certified to date.

The Syngenta case has been bogged down in discovery disputes since the process took off in earnest two years ago.

The latest disputes center on documents as well as the date when a University of Chicago professor, Don Coursey, was retained by Syngenta.

Recently, Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge ordered Syngenta to turn over a number of documents related both to Coursey and to a Chicago public relations firm that Syngenta retained for, in Mudge's words, "fostering a negative public perception of our judicial system."

In the motion for more time, the plaintiffs seek the time in order to depose a Syngenta corporate designee about issues such as employee access to the Swiss documents, and the corporation's efforts to comply with the plaintiff's discovery requests in relation to the documents.

Holiday Shores also filed its memorandum supporting a sanctions move filed over Syngenta's market share data for atrazine the same day as the move for more time to take the deposition.

Mudge canceled a May 6 hearing in the case and it has not been reset.

Stephen Tillery leads the plaintiff's legal team.

Kurtis Reeg heads up the defense.

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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