16 November 2001

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By FW reporters

FARMERS who believe they were poisoned by organophosphate sheep dips have been given the go-ahead to continue with their claims for damages.

A judge refused to "strike out" claims despite an application by agrochemical companies at a High Court hearing last Frisay (Nov 9). Mr Justice Morland issued his judgement in a preliminary hearing of a multi-party action brought by farmers who claim they were poisoned by OPs.

Most claims brought against the agrochemical firms survived a review after a challenge to the validity of the cases by the defendants.

Lis Charles, of solicitors Gabb & Co and lead solicitor for the claimants, said she was, on balance, pleased with the judgement.

"Despite everything the defendants had to say to Mr Justice Morland, we are pleased that the majority of the cases have survived.

"We are applying ourselves to dealing with those observations the judge has made with a view to bringing the cases to full trial."

The hearing was a result of applications made by the agrochemical companies in a process which has taken over 18 months.

Ms Charles said defendants should think hard about the suffering to which they have subjected claimants, many of whom are ill. &#42