Dioxin suit litigants await class-action ruling

Terry Camp, News Team SAGINAW (WJRT) -- (05/19/11)

A lawsuit was filed more than eight years ago by residents who say Dow Chemical Co. contaminated their property with dioxin.

Attorneys representing those residents were back in court Thursday, asking a retired Saginaw County judge to sign an order granting class action status to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, Henry vs. Dow Chemical, was filed in March of 2003. We should know in the next two weeks how the lawsuit will proceed.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the dioxin lawsuit are asking Judge Leopold Borrello to sign an order granting class-action status. Attorney Bruce Trogan believes it will be a simple legal motion, but nothing has been simple in the lawsuit known as Henry vs. Dow Chemical.

"I believe, with Dow's history, they are going to attempt to make it more difficult than it is," Trogan said.

Borrello gave the lawsuit class-action status more than five years ago, but in 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Borrello to look at the decision again. Dow Chemical attorney Doug Kurtenbach says a lot has happened in the last few years, including dioxin testing on hundreds of properties, which show varying levels of dioxin, a chemical which has been shown to cause cancer.

"Thousands of them they cannot show have higher than background levels on them, they know, it, but they want you to sign that order because then that gives them 2,500 plaintiffs, instead of 100 or 500," Kurtenbach said.

If it becomes a class-action lawsuit, Kurtenbach says it will be impossible to litigate with so many plaintiffs. Dow Chemical says its ready to go to court with the 150 or so property owners along the Tittabawassee River suing the company over dioxin contaimination.

Judge Borrello said Thursday he would clarify his earlier ruling in two weeks.


For additional articles like this one, go to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site www.trwnews.net for complete coverage of the Tittabawassee River Dow Chemical dioxin contamination saga. . The Newspaper / Media page of our site contains an extensive archive of media articles dating back to January 2002. The source organization's web site link is listed to the right of the article, visit often for other news in our area. The Newspaper / Media page may be accessed by scrolling down to the bottom of the CONTENTS section and clicking on the Newspaper/Media link.