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Paraquat Product Liability Litigation Update

The Paraquat Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is currently underway in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, headed by Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel. The Paraquat MDL has the potential to be one of the largest and most complex pieces of litigation currently consolidated in the United States. The outcome of this litigation could have a significant impact on the agricultural industry and on the companies that manufacture and sell herbicides.

The plaintiffs in the MDL allege that they were injured by exposure to Paraquat, a herbicide linked to severe health effects, including Parkinson’s disease. The plaintiffs allege that the companies that manufacture and sell Paraquat were aware of the risks associated with the herbicide but failed to warn consumers and workers of those risks.

More than 30 countries have banned the use of Paraquat. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies this chemical as a “restricted use” product. It is only available at this time to commercially licensed users. Paraquat poisoning may occur through ingestion, inhalation, and skin exposure. Although not cleared for usage in residential and commercial areas, persons in those areas are at risk of poisoning due to air, water, and soil contamination from run-off and overspray.

Eligibility Criteria for Paraquat Multidistrict Litigation

  • Have you used or were you exposed to Paraquat? (Perhaps under another brand name such as Gramaxone or another named herbicide.) If so, what was the method of exposure?
  • Are you a farm worker or herbicide applicator?
  • Do you live near a commercial agricultural farm that sprays herbicide?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or another at-risk chronic illness?

 

Injury Criteria 

Symptoms associated with acute Paraquat poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mental status changes, seizures, muscle deterioration, respiratory ailments, rapid heart rate, or coma.

There is a strong link between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, supported by scientific evidence. Persons with Parkinson’s disease exhibit motor and non-motor symptoms, such as:

 

  • Resting tremors
  • Impaired balance
  • Postural instability
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Behavioral changes
  • Apathy
  • Slow reflexes
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

 

In addition to Parkinson’s disease, other chronic ailments from Paraquat exposure may include kidney failure, liver failure, pulmonary edema and scarring, neurodevelopment defects for a fetus, melanoma, leukemia, other cancers, and death.

Defendants in the Paraquat Lawsuit

Multiple companies produce Paraquat under different brand names in the global market. Syngenta and Chevron Chemical Company are two manufacturers facing Paraquat MDL trials, in addition to other co-defendants. There are currently more than 1200 pending cases. Plaintiffs claim that these companies knew about the link between Paraquat and adverse health effects, citing negligence and liability due to a failure to warn and prevent harm.

Bellwether Trials Planned

The Paraquat MDL is currently in the early stages of litigation. The first bellwether trial is scheduled to begin in November 2022. A group of sixteen cases has been chosen for the bellwether test trials. A bellwether trial is a trial of a representative case. It is meant to gauge how juries are likely to respond to the claims in the MDL. The results of the bellwether trials will be closely watched by both sides in the Paraquat MDL and could significantly affect the outcome of the litigation. It may be the deciding factor in settlement offers by the defendants instead of waiting for a trial verdict.

Contact a Paraquat Product Liability Attorney at the Michael Brady Lynch Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered harm by exposure to Paraquat, you may be eligible to file a claim in the Paraquat MDL. The timeframe to file a claim is complex and depends on several factors. For more information, please get in touch with The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. As an accomplished nationwide complex litigation law firm, we provide our clients with the highest level of counsel and service. Please call us at (888) 585-5970 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Sources:

 

“Cancer Incidence among paraquat-exposed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study,” National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, accessed 7/10/2022.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058830/

 

“Facts About Paraquat,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 7/10/2022

https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/paraquat/basics/facts.asp

 

Paraquat Dichloride, United States Environmental Protection Agency, accessed 7/10/2022

https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/paraquat-dichloride

 

“Update from our CSO: Pesticides, Paraquat and Parkinson’s” Parkinson’s Foundation, accessed 7/10/2022

https://www.parkinson.org/awareness/update-from-cso-pesticides-paraquat-parkinsons.

 

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