A Jan. 3 trial date has been set in a class-action lawsuit that alleges dioxin pollution from a former Monsanto Co. plant in Nitro.

The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/r6UHlX) reports visiting Mercer County Circuit Judge Derek Swope on Thursday set the new trial date.

Swope was appointed to the case in August by Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman after Putnam County Circuit Judge O.C. Spaulding stepped aside. Spaulding has been diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Swope had postponed the trial, which was supposed to begin on Sept. 6.

The case involves thousands of current and former Nitro residents who blame Monsanto for polluting residential properties and streams. The cases were consolidated into a class-action lawsuit in 2008.