Hearing set on Syngenta AG motion to dismiss federal atrazine suit

Amelia Flood Jun. 30, 2011, 7:00am



More than a year after Syngenta AG filed a motion to dismiss a proposed federal class action brought by the City of Greenville over alleged water contamination, a hearing date has been set.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Phil Gilbert is set to hear the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction at 10 a.m. on July 27.

Syngenta AG is seeking to dismiss the claims filed against it by Greenville on the basis that the federal court lacks personal jurisdiction over the Switzerland-based company.

Greenville claims that atrazine made by Syngenta AG and Syngenta Crop Protection LLC runs off farm fields and contaminates drinking water supplies that Greenville and the other proposed class members must then remediate.

If certified, the Greenville class would include water providers and municipalities in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and other states.

The 2010 proposed class action is nearly identical to six proposed class actions filed in Madison County in 2004.

Those suits, led by the Holiday Shores Sanitary District, allege nearly identical claims to the Greenville case and include the same attorneys at the plaintiffs and defense tables.

None of the atrazine class actions have been certified to date.

The Holiday Shores case against Syngenta is due back before Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge in July as well for a hearing on on-going discovery disputes.

Syngenta AG filed its motion to dismiss the Greenville suit on May 18, 2010.

The Swiss-based defendant argues that the company lacks the Illinois contacts to sustain an action against it in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

The company also contends that its relationship with Syngenta Crop Protection LLC is not sufficient to give the court jurisdiction and the claims violate the defendant's due process rights.

The exhibits filed in support of the Syngenta AG move to dismiss have been at the center of disputes and an intervention move filed the Environmental Law & Policy Center and Prairie Rivers Network.

The intervention moves seeks the unsealing of documents related to the motion to dismiss.
Syngenta opposes the request.

Stephen Tillery, Christie Deaton, and others represent the plaintiffs in the Holiday Shores and the Greenville suit.

Kurtis Reeg, Michael Pope and others represent the Syngenta defendants in both cases.

The federal suit's case number is 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF.

The 2004 Madison County suit filed against Syngenta by the Holiday Shores Sanitary District is case number 04-L-710.

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