Judge delays hearing on Dow class-action
Kathie Marchlewski , The Midland Daily News


Saginaw Circuit Court Judge Leopold Borello said Friday he wants to move the dioxin lawsuit against The Dow Chemical Co. along as quickly as possible. But he has delayed a hearing date on the class-action potential of the suit 30 days, changing it from Nov. 18 to Dec. 18 at 8:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, he is giving attorneys a chance to work on proving the merits of their cases. He lifted a hold on evidence gathering. Attorneys now will submit interrogatories to their opponent and will have a chance to object to requests at a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 13.

The timeline still is not likely to allow Dow the chance to gather all of the evidence it wished to before Borello decides about class certification. Dow had requested six months to investigate members of the proposed class.

"A lot of the discovery that was mentioned is not necessary for making those findings," Borello said.
The plaintiffs have seven days to submit a "proposed order" listing the commonalties they believe qualify them for class-action status.

Dow also had requested that court proceedings be delayed until the Court of Appeals rules on its motion to have a medical monitoring portion of the suit dismissed. The claim opens the suit to a larger class of plaintiffs, those who have lived along the flood plain since 1984, and asks that a trust be funded to provide for monitoring of health that might be affected in the future by dioxin exposure.

Borello refused to dismiss the claim, then denied the request to delay proceedings until the matter is decided by a higher court. Dow is expected to file with the appellate court next week and will ask for immediate consideration, said Dow spokesman Scot Wheeler.
İMidland Daily News 2003


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