Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder will oversee a motion hearing Aug. 25 in a proposed class action against atrazine manufacturer Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.
The hearing will tackle two motions to compel filed by plaintiff Holiday Shores Sanitation District against Syngenta and the University of Chicago, and potentially other issues.
The University of Chicago is one of a number of outside groups that have filed pleadings asking the court to quash subpoenas they received from plaintiff's attorney, Stephen Tillery, and his team.
Moves to quash the summons were filed in July.
The case is one of a series of proposed class actions filed four years ago by lead plaintiff Holiday Shores Sanitary District, which claims that atrazine - a common weed killer used by farmers - runs off fields and fouls their drinking water supplies. They claim that atrazine contamination can lead to human health problems.
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that atrazine is safe in drinking water up to three parts per billion, Holiday Shores claims even smaller amounts cause medical issues.
Even though Crowder unloaded most of her civil docket because of the time-consuming role as newly appointed asbestos judge, she will continue to preside over this atrazine case until she enters a ruling on a Syngenta plea.
Syngenta has asked Crowder to either dismiss or stay the Holiday Shores suit pending the outcome of a similar class action filed by Tillery in federal court in East St. Louis earlier this year.
That suit, filed on behalf of a proposed class of water providers in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and other states, makes virtually identical claims to those filed in the Madison County suits.
Once Crowder rules on the dismissal or stay, the case will join the other atrazine suits that were reassigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.
Unless that ruling comes before Aug. 25, Crowder will be the judge hearing that day's arguments.
Kurtis Reeg represents Syngenta.
The Syngenta case is Madison case number 04-L-710.
The atrazine class actions are case numbers 04-L-708 to 04-L-713.