The Charleston Daily Mail, 27 December 2011:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Several hundred Nitro area residents gathered Tuesday at the Charleston Marriott as attorneys attempted to forge a mediation in a class action lawsuit against the former Monsanto Company.
Representatives of the West Virginia Supreme Court mass litigation department and the attorney's law firms would not allow media access to any of the plaintiffs, saying those settlement discussions were confidential.
The case is scheduled to begin trial Jan. 3 in Putnam Circuit Court before specially-appointed Circuit Judge Derek Swope. If a settlement is not approved before then, jury selection is expected to begin next week and the trial is predicted to take up to six months.
The mass-litigation mediation involving 193 cases of alleged personal injury and wrongful death is being presided over by Circuit Judges Booker T. Stephens of McDowell County and Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats of Taylor County…..
The Charleston Gazette, 3 January 2012:
As jury selection began Tuesday in the class-action lawsuit seeking medical monitoring for those who may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals produced at Monsanto's former Nitro plant, the judge expanded a gag order on the lawyers prohibiting comments to the media.
"No lawyer is to discuss anything about the case," said Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope. "If asked, you are to have no comment, end of story."
Swope's comments came after Monsanto lawyers filed a motion Tuesday asking him to hold lead plaintiff attorney Stuart Calwell in contempt of court for comments he made concerning the case to the Gazette and other local media outlets.
The judge did not immediately rule on the motion, but indicated he would hear arguments and rule later.
Swope was appointed to hear the case after Putnam Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and retired at the end of the year…….
Court rejects Monsanto’s attempt to hide behind government contractor defence, 28 September 2011.
* This post is part of North Coast Voices' effort to keep Monsanto's blog monitor (affectionately known as Mr. Monsanto) in long-term employment.