Review denied for Syngenta and Heartland Institute; Third parties in atrazine class action lose

By Steve Korris | Oct 7, 2011


SPRINGFIELD – Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge must carry out Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder's order requiring agricultural trade groups, researchers and consultants to disclose their activities to Stephen Tillery, who hasn't sued any of them.

On Sept. 28, the Illinois Supreme Court denied petitions for review from atrazine maker Syngenta Crop Protection Services and the Heartland Institute in Chicago.

Crowder declared information about lobbying efforts of third parties relevant to Tillery's claim that they helped Syngenta conceal the harm atrazine causes.

Fifth District appellate judges had denied review of both petitions in January.

Heartland president Joseph Bast swore last year that identifying contributors would expose them to demonization and might cost him half his support.

The case passed from Crowder to Mudge after Chief Judge Ann Callis assigned Crowder to the asbestos docket full time.

The Supreme Court action frees U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore to decide whether to enforce subpoenas Tillery obtained at federal court in Springfield.

Tillery asserted federal jurisdiction because he maintains a parallel suit against Syngenta at federal court in Benton.

Cudmore stayed motions of Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Fertilizer Chemical Association, and Chemical Industry Council to quash the subpoenas, pending Supreme Court action.

Tillery obtained a subpoena against Heartland Institute at federal court in Chicago, but District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan quashed it.

Tillery represents public and private water suppliers in six Corn Belt states seeking to declare atrazine harmful in any concentration.

Federal regulators consider it safe up to three parts per billion, but Tillery claims his clients can hold Syngenta to a tighter standard.

Mudge plans a hearing on pending motions on Friday, Oct. 21.

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