Baron & Budd announced a $105M settlement on behalf of over 1,000 community water systems that have detected the chemical atrazine in their water supplies. The settlement concludes class action litigation that has been pending for more than eight years against Syngenta AG and Syngenta Crop Protection LLC, the chemical companies that produce and market atrazine and atrazine-containing products.
Atrazine is an agricultural herbicide widely used in the United States — and particularly in the Midwest — 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 those 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 Illinois state court against Syngenta AG and Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., alleging that Syngenta knew that atrazine would invade surface water such as lakes, rivers and streams but chose to sell the product without consideration for the expense water providers would incur to remove atrazine from water before supplying it to consumers. Then, in 2010, several public drinking water providers filed a similar suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. After extensive discovery and aggressive litigation, the parties reached a settlement on a class-wide basis. The Southern District approved the class settlement on October 23, 2012.
“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 & Budd shareholder Scott Summy, who was appointed Class Counsel along with Steve Tillery of the Korein Tillery law firm in St. Louis.
Dallas based Baron & Budd has long been on the vanguard of environmental protection litigation. The firm’s Water Contamination Group is headed by Scott Summy, who is recognized nationally as one of the most experienced “water lawyers” in the country. For over fifteen years, he has challenged 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. 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.