Holiday Shores moves to quash Syngenta subpoenas due to vacation

Amelia Flood Jun. 14, 2011, 11:37am


Holiday Shores Sanitary District, the lead plaintiff in a series of proposed class actions against the makers of the weed killer atrazine, is asking Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge to quash a series of scheduled depositions due to scheduling conflicts.

Mudge is set to hear motions in the 2004 case filed against Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. on June 22.

The motion to quash the depositions of Ray Garber, James McCann, and Roger Groth is the latest move filed in the days leading up to that hearing.

Holiday Shores filed the motion to quash June 13, the same day that Mudge allowed it to file a number of exhibits related to sanctions moves under seal.

Holiday Shores is suing Syngenta and other companies that make or distribute atrazine in six nearly identical suits.

None of the cases have classes that have been certified to date.

Holiday Shores proposes to lead a class of Illinois water providers against Syngenta and the other defendants alleging that atrazine runs off farm fields into the class members' drinking water supplies.

The plaintiffs claim that they are then forced to remediate the contamination.

The 2004 suit against Syngenta is the predecessor of a 2010 federal case filed against Syngenta and its parent company by the City of Greenville.

The Greenville suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, would include a multi-state class of cities and water providers if certified.

The federal case features the same teams of plaintiff and defense attorneys.

Stephen Tillery is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in both the Holiday Shores and Greenville suits while Kurtis Reeg is lead defense counsel in both cases.

According to the June 13 motion to quash, upon receiving the May 24 notices of deposition, Holiday Shores' counsel informed Syngenta that they would be unavailable for the June 29 deposition date due to previously scheduled vacation plans.

The plaintiffs note that Syngenta agreed to move the dates, citing an e-mail from Reeg to Tillery dated May 24.

However, Holiday Shores contends, Syngenta then re-set the dates without consulting the plaintiffs' attorneys.

"Despite the fact that Plaintiffs had already informed SCP [Syngenta] that Plaintiffs had a scheduling conflict based upon already scheduled vacation times set for the Fourth of July weekend, SCP unilaterally set the depositions for July 5," the motion reads.

The plaintiffs go on to ask Mudge to re-set the deposition dates to another date of his choosing.

The dispute is another in a series of discovery arguments that have dogged the case since the discovery process picked up two years ago when Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder helmed the case.

Crowder had inherited the case from now-retired Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

The case came to Mudge after Stack's retirement and docket shuffling that saw Crowder take over Stack's asbestos docket last year.

The suit against Syngenta filed by Holiday Shores is Madison case number 04-L-710.

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

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