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DALLAS – (June 4,, 2013) – For the fourth time in the past six years, Public Justice, a legal non-profit organization, has chosen Baron & Budd attorneys as finalists for its prestigious Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. Scott Summy, Carla Burke, Cary McDougal, and Mitchell McCrea have been nominated for their representation of public water providers and governmental subdivisions whose drinking water became contaminated with atrazine, an agricultural chemical used heavily in the United States.
After eight years of litigation, Baron & Budd and co-counsel Korein Tillery negotiated a $105 million nationwide class settlement for more than 1,000 affected community water systems that supply water to over 37 million Americans.
“It is an honor to be selected as a finalist for such a prestigious award,” said Scott Summy. “This nomination goes to the entire water team at Baron and Budd who worked tirelessly on the atrazine case.”
The litigation began in 2004, when Baron & Budd and Korein Tillery filed suit on behalf of a single water provider in Illinois whose water supply was contaminated anew each year as farmers applied atrazine to the surrounding croplands. By 2010, another 31 water providers joined the litigation against Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc. and its Swiss parent, Syngenta AG, the primary manufacturers of atrazine products. The lawsuits sought to recover compensatory damages for the water providers’ annual costs of removing atrazine from their water supplies and punitive damages based on Syngenta’s complete disregard for environmental and human health.
Public Justice’s esteemed Trial Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes the attorney or group of attorneys that made the most significant contribution that year to protecting the public interest.
This is the second nomination for Scott Summy and Carla Burke. The two were nominated in 2009 for their work on behalf of over 150 public water providers in 17 states whose drinking water was contaminated with MTBE, a gasoline additive. That litigation against all the major oil companies in the United States resulted in a monumental cash settlement of $423 million plus an agreement by most of the companies to contribute to the costs of filtration for future contamination as well. Mr. Summy and Ms. Burke are part of Baron & Budd’s “Water Lawyers” team, which represents public water providers and governmental subdivisions in all types of water contamination litigation. Their clients include states, cities, towns, counties, public utilities, school districts, private water companies, and other communities and entities that are affected by chemical contamination.
Baron & Budd was also nominated for the Public Justice award in 2012 for its role in bank overdraft litigation, which challenged and changed banking industry policies to protect the rights of banking customers. Baron & Budd won the award in 2007 for its groundbreaking work in holding corporations responsible for extensive groundwater contamination in Tucson, Arizona that compensated injured residents and redefined Arizona’s water pollution laws.
Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a 35-year history of "Protecting What’s Right" for people, communities, and businesses. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The Water Lawyers at Baron & Budd represent public water providers and governmental entities in litigation arising from environmental contamination.