Farming interest objects to timing of Tillery subpoena in federal atrazine class action; Says it might be planting or spraying fields

Amelia Flood Jul. 13, 2011, 10:38am


A non-party to a proposed federal class action brought against the makers of the weed killer atrazine has filed an objection to a subpoena arguing that the discovery demand's timing is "unduly burdensome," as it comes during the company's busiest time of year.

Non-party Crop Production Services, Inc. (CPS) filed its objection July 11 over subpoenas issued by lead plaintiff, the City of Greenville.

CPS is one of 100 non-parties to the suit brought against Syngenta Crop Protection LLC and its parent company, Syngenta AG, by Greenville last year.

Greenville proposes to lead a multi-state class of water providers who allege that atrazine made by the defendants runs off farm fields into drinking water supplies that the plaintiffs must then remediate.

The 2010 case pending in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois is nearly identical to six 2004 class actions filed against Syngenta and other atrazine makers in Madison County.

The 2004 Syngenta suit is set for hearing Friday before Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge.

Syngenta is also fighting the 100 non-party subpoenas in the Madison County case.

Syngenta lost a move to quash the non-party subpoenas in the federal suit July 11, the same day as the CPS objection was filed.

In the objection, CPS points to the time of year and the breadth of the plaintiff's requests in the subpoena as reasons for its objection.

CPS argues that a scheduled Aug. 1 deposition date does not give it adequate time to pull the documents Greenville seeks.

It argues that the check sent to cover copying expenses will not cover all the costs the company could incur.

CPS takes the most issue with the subpoena's timing. The company was served, according to the July 11 motion, between July 5 to 11 at the company's offices in Marissa and Olive Branch, Ill.

"In general, the timing on the deposition and production of documents is unreasonable," the objection reads. "The first deposition of a CPS representative is scheduled for August 1, 2011 and the production is due the same day. CPS and their employees are in their busiest season. In some instances, planting and spraying may be ongoing."

CPS is the first non-party to enter an objection to date in either the federal or Madison County case.

Kurtis Reeg represents CPS as well as Syngenta.

Stephen Tillery leads the plaintiffs' legal team.

Both attorneys represent their respective parties in the Madison County case.

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

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