Atrazine: Demonizing Defendants

We can understand why plaintiffs’ lawyers and allied advocates for the organic food industry would seek to demonize what they see as a deep-pocket defendant and a competitor. But why would Madison County judges ignore overwhelming science and favor the plaintiffs when so many of the county’s tax-paying residents earn their livelihoods in conventional agriculture?

Ed Murnane and Tiger Joyce write in the Madison Record:

Madison County’s scientifically meritless, nearly 8-year-old atrazine lawsuit last made headlines in spring 2011 when the presiding judge backed the plaintiffs’ request to unseal arguably irrelevant internal documents of Syngenta, maker of the widely used weed killer. Those documents included a then 6-year-old memo from a Chicago public relations firm that noted, among other uncontroversial things, the county’s plaintiff-friendly history.

Now, ironically enough, significant evidence suggests the plaintiffs’ attorneys may have hypocritically engaged in their own public relations efforts by feeding previously sealed discovery documents to a WikiLeaks-wannabe website funded in part by advocates for the organic food industry.

Screen-captures prove that began posting the Syngenta documents on Jan. 9. But court records as of Jan. 31 make clear that no one from the public, including the website’s reporters, had viewed or copied the documents now available on request at the courthouse…

Read the entire commentary.

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