Court rejects Dow's appeal on medical screenings

Friday, October 31, 2003

JEREMIAH STETTLER
THE SAGINAW NEWS

The Michigan Court of Appeals has refused to hear Dow Chemical Co.'s request to strike medical screenings from a lawsuit involving nearly 300 property owners along the Tittabawassee River.

Residents are suing the company on claims it polluted the river and surrounding properties with dioxin, a byproduct of chlorine manufacturing and other industrial processes.

The Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that it would not reverse the decision of Saginaw County Chief Circuit Judge Leopold P. Borrello, who has twice rejected Dow's request.

"Dow has spent most of its efforts fighting medical monitoring," said Jan P. Helder, an attorney representing the residents. "They have vehemently opposed it, saying it is not consistent with Michigan law. They have showed considerable confidence in their position. That confidence now proves misplaced."

Dow officials maintain that state law precludes residents from including medical screenings in their suit. They say they will appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Spokesman Scot Wheeler said the company remains confident that the court will rule in its favor.

"This is not a ruling on the merits of whether medical monitoring is acceptable or not acceptable," Wheeler said. "The court of appeals is just saying, 'We don't want to hear it at this time.'

"We still believe there is no viable Michigan law to recognize this claim. This will not affect our belief that we will ultimately prevail on this claim." t

Jeremiah Stettler is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9685.

2003 Saginaw News.


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