11/06/03 Everything you say can and will be held against you
Posted by www.trwnews.org
Everyone in the Tittabawassee River flood plain, except those signed up for the
lawsuit, received an invitation from Dow Chemical to attend a "series of neighborhood
group meetings" next week.
In our opinion, if you have signed up to attend (these are not public meetings, you
must send in an RSVP), please reconsider for the following reasons:
lawyers indicate that what you say at these interviews could possibly be used as
evidence against the claims in the case.
This issue was presented to Judge Borrello in court on October 28th. The judge
ordered Dow and the Plaintiff's lawyer to file briefs in court by November 10th after
which he will make a decision on whether it is legal for Dow to conduct the interviews
before class certification. As of today, no decision has been made.
Dow has stated, contrary to
the MDEQ, EPA, WHO, and many others that dioxin poses "no
significant health risk" to residents. These "sessions" could distort the
facts about the toxin. Our lawyer says "the risk of misinformation is very real"
Dow is attempting to circumvent the courts before the Judge rules on the
If you really want to talk to Dow, wait until after the Class Certification.
The State of Michigan has already put into place a method (CAP) for citizens to participate in the clean up
process and Dow received everyone of these, click here to view.
Do NOT attend these sessions until we know the Judges verdict on the whole matter.
- You have nothing to gain and everything to loose if you attend these sessions.
- The State of Michigan says it could be considered unethical for a defendant (Dow) to
question members of a possible class action before certification takes place
(Certification hearing is scheduled for January 27, 2004).
- River residents
The State of Michigan is handling this matter and is directing Dow on what needs to be
done. So far as we know these meetings, especially before the court rules upon their
legality, are not one of them. The State will address all of the issues above
using proper channels, Dow's reasons for wanting this information is suspect and needs to
be authorized by the courts before they can begin..
Wait for Class Certification before engaging in any conversations with Dow. If you
really do not want anything to do with this lawsuit, you can "opt out" and not
participate AFTER the class certification takes place.
Once Judge Borrello rules on the legality of the meetings, we will post the results on www.trwnews.org
- If you still plan on attending, please:
- Talk to your lawyer before attending, if you do not have one, contact the plaintiff's
lawyers and they will be happy to assist you.
- Do not sign anything.
- Request that the conversation be off the record and that no recordings of any kind or
written transcripts are authorized by you.
- Do not offer any health related information on yourself, family or friends that live on
- Do not offer any information about your property, real-estate transactions, possible
flood damage, etc. on yourself, family or friends that live on the river.
- Do not authorize Dow access your property for any reason, including dioxin testing.
- Do not authorize Dow to perform any exams or testing on yourself or family.
- Do not offer any information on your personal habits, hobbies, or comments about your
- If you find yourself being questioned or offering information on any of the above, get
up and walk out, and call your lawyer.
- Keep your comments limited to suggestions on how they can cleanup the pollution now.