On October 23, 2012, the law firm of Baron
and Budd announced a $105 million settlement on behalf
of more than 1,000 community water systems that have detected the
chemical atrazine in their water supplies. Yesterday, the deadline to
appeal the court's approval of this settlement expired and the
settlement is now final.
This settlement concludes class action litigation that has been
pending for more than eight years against Syngenta Crop Protection LLC
and Syngenta AG, the chemical companies that produced and marketed
atrazine and atrazine-containing materials. According to Baron and Budd,
the water providers who will benefit from the settlement will likely
receive their share of proceeds within approximately 60 days.
Atrazine, an agricultural herbicide widely used in the United
States and particularly in the Midwest, is commonly used to control
weeds in corn and soybean crops. Once applied, the chemical easily runs
off into surface waters and drinking water supplies. As a result, many
municipalities and water providers have detected atrazine in their water
supplies and spent significant sums to remove it from finished
water. The settlement will reimburse these costs to more than 1,000
water providers who serve water to more than 30 million Americans.
In 2004, a water provider filed a lawsuit in the Illinois state
court system against Syngena AG and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.
The water provider alleged that Syngenta knew atrazine would run
off into surface water such as lakes, streams and rivers but decided to
market the product with complete disregard for the expense water
providers would ultimately pay to remove the dangerous chemical from the
water before supplying it to consumers. In 2010, numerous other public
drinking water providers filed a similar suit in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. After
conclusive discovery and hard-hitting litigation, the parties reached a
class action settlement.
"This settlement sends a message to chemical companies that they
must bear the responsibility for products that contaminate water
supplies and provides significant economic relief to water providers,"
said Baron and Budd Shareholder Scott
Summy, who was appointed Class Counsel along with Steve
Tillery of the Korein Tillery law firm in St. Louis.
The plaintiffs' law firm of Baron and Budd has long been on the
frontline of environmental protection litigation. Scott Summy, who is
recognized nationally as one of the most experienced "water lawyers" in
the country, leads the firm's water contamination group. He has been
challenging America's oil and chemical industries in water
contamination cases, successfully litigating and
negotiating results for more than 200 water providers, municipalities
and private well owners over the last 15 years. Other attorneys in the
group are Shareholders Cary McDougal, Laura Baughman, Carla Burke,
Celeste Evangelisti and Stephen Johnston, as well as Associates Cristina
Sanchez and Mitchell McCrea, and Senior Paralegal Erin McIntosh.
About Baron & Budd
The law firm of Baron & Budd with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin
and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with over 30 years
of "Protecting What's Right" for people, communities and businesses
harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd's size and resources enable the firm
to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals,
governmental and business entities in areas as diverse as water
contamination, Gulf oil spill, Qui Tam, California Proposition 65
violations, unsafe drugs and medical devices, Chinese drywall, deceptive
advertising, consumer financial fraud, securities fraud and asbestos
cancers such as mesothelioma. http://baronandbudd.com
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