Tittabawassee flood plain residents respond to Dow's class-action appeal

Kathie Marchlewski, Midland Daily News 11/29/2005

As the October ruling giving a go-ahead for as many as 2,000 residents to join a class action suit against The Dow Chemical Co. waits in the wings of the Michigan Court of Appeals for review, plaintiffs attorneys say the question at hand is a simple one.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge Leopold Borrello "correctly certified a class ... as of a single date (Feb. 1, 2002,) in a local and narrowly defined location (the 100-year flood plain of the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County, Mich.,) against a single responsible party (Dow) that released specific carcinogenic toxins (dioxin).

No clear error occurred here," plaintiff’s attorneys state in a recent response to Dow’s appeal of class certification.

Dow has asked the higher court to halt proceedings in the dioxin-related case and reconsider the ruling that would allow claims to move forward simultaneously. Company attorneys argue that each property owner’s claims are different – properties host different levels of contamination, if any, and therefore each property owner has been impacted differently, if at all. Each should be considered separately by courts.

Plaintiffs, who want compensation for the land and homes they say Dow devalued with its contamination, argue that the now nearly three-year-old suit should move forward swiftly and that Dow’s arguments are merit-based, even while the only issue at hand is the rightful – or wrongful – certification of class.

©Midland Daily News 2005

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