Judge expands gag order in W.Va. Monsanto suit - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Judge expands gag order in W.Va. Monsanto suit

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WINFIELD, W.Va. (AP) - The judge presiding over a class-action pollution lawsuit against Monsanto has barred lawyers from saying anything to the media about the case.

Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope on Tuesday expanded a gag order issued in 2008 by former Putnam County Circuit Court Judge O.C. Spaulding. Swope was appointed to preside over the trial after Spaulding was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and stepped aside last year.

The Charleston Gazette reports that Swope issued his ruling after Monsanto's lawyers filed a motion claiming the lead plaintiff attorney had violated Spaulding's gag order. Swope didn't immediately rule on the motion.

The case involves thousands of current and former Nitro residents who claim dioxin from a former Monsanto plant polluted residential properties and streams. The lawsuit seeks medical monitoring.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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