Dow, property owners get Nov. 18 court date

Kathie Marchlewski , The Midland Daily News


The Dow Chemical Co. will not get the six months it wanted to examine dioxin matters along the Tittabawassee River flood plain before the lawsuit filed by property owners there is considered for class action certification.

Saginaw Circuit Court Judge Leopold Borrello has set a court date for 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 18 to hear plaintiff’s class action complaint, Dow’s reply to it, and to set a schedule for trial proceedings.
Dow attorney Kathy Lange argued in June for a six-month discovery period, and asked Borrello to define the scope of the suit before continuing.

Borrello in his order setting the upcoming hearing stated the issues have now been determined. In August he dismissed claims for trespass, strict liability and punitive damages.

Remaining in the suit are requests that Dow be made to reimburse plaintiffs for the value of their property, which they believe is worthless because of state-recognized dioxin contamination; that Dow pay damages for nuisance and negligence claims regarding the dioxin, and that Dow fund a medical monitoring trust which would be used for diagnosis and treatment of potential dioxin-induced health problems.

The fact that Borrello apparently disregarded Dow’s request to compile additional information about plaintiff’s claims before he considers the potential for class action certification is a good sign for plaintiffs, their attorney, Jan Helder, said. They had argued that Dow’s quest for more information was a delay tactic.
To date there are 271 plaintiffs. If the case is certified as class action, it could grow to include more than 2,000 owners of property along the Tittabawassee River and an undetermined number of people who have lived along the river’s flood plain since Jan. 1, 1984.

©Midland Daily News 2003