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Paraquat Lawsuits 2024 Update: How Promising is it?

by | Jun 5, 2024 | Mass tort, Product liability

Since the COVID pandemic has slowed, all the US courts are flooded with pending product liability lawsuits involving opioids, ParaGard IUDs, IVC filters, 3M earplugs, AFFF foam, Elmiron, and other products.

Attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants are all anxiously awaiting the outcome of their respective lawsuits.

Paraquat lawsuits are among the herbicide lawsuits, along with Roundup and dicamba, that have plaintiffs eagerly awaiting a settlement update in 2022. While Roundup causes non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s (a type of cancer), Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease and is the subject of numerous herbicide lawsuits.

Are you or your loved one is exposed to Paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease? Make sure experienced medical professionals provide reliable medical record review services to unearth the strengths of your claim.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From a Lawyer

Let us go over Paraquat in detail, starting with its introduction to the market, how it became infamous, and why it is currently facing a train of lawsuits. You can also see the most recent legal proceedings and settlement updates in 2022 and 2023.  Follow the blog for more information.

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What is Paraquat?

Paraquat is a nonselective contact herbicide that is absorbed by the foliage and moves through the xylem. It is used for broad-spectrum weed and grass control in fruit orchards and plantations, as well as inter-row weed control in many crops.

paraquat-chemical-formula-paraquat lawsuits

Paraquat is commonly known as methyl viologen or N, N′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium dichloride, and its chemical name is [(C₆H₇N)₂]Cl₂. It is categorized as a viologen, a group of structurally related redox-active heterocycles.

Since Paraquat is extremely dangerous, the version sold in the US has a blue dye to distinguish it from things like drinks, a strong stench to act as a warning, and an additional ingredient to make people throw up if they consume it. These precautions might not be included in Paraquat imported from other countries, and there are risks of accidental consumption.

History of Paraquat

Weidel and Russo were the first to define Paraquat in 1882. Michaelis and Hill named the compound methyl viologen after discovering its redox properties in 1933. Brian et al. (1958) described the herbicidal properties of Paraquat.

The Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) began producing and marketing Paraquat in early 1962 under the brand name Gramoxone, and it is now one of the most widely used herbicides.

Don’t just think that Gramoxone is the only brand that has Paraquat in it. There are many other brands that contain Paraquat, such as Parazone, Quick-Quat, Para-Shot 3.0., Helmquat 3SL, Cyclone SL 2.0., Firestorm, and Crisquat in the market.

The main manufacturers who manufacture Paraquat are as follows:

  • Syngenta
  • Altitude Crop Innovations, LLC
  • Adama Group
  • Helm Agro
  • Drexel Chemical Company
  • Growmark
  • Innvictis Crop Care, LLC
  • Sinon USA, Inc.
  • United Phosphorous

After Imperial Chemical Industries, Paraquat was sold by AstraZeneca, and later in 2000, AstraZeneca and Novartis merged, and Syngenta was formed. Syngenta is headquartered in Switzerland.

At present, Syngenta is the main manufacturer of Paraquat and is owned by ChemChina as it bought Syngenta for $43 billion in 2015, and the main defendant who has taken the responsibility of facing the Paraquat lawsuits.

Let’s analyze if the defendants knew the toxic nature of their product. Since many adverse events started evolving after the exposure to Paraquat, Imperial chemical industries stated that it would add a chemical called PP796 to reduce the concentration of Paraquat and prevent fatalities.

However, later in 1990, it was found out by their own toxicologist named Jon Heylings that PP796 was not used in the quantity as proposed by the senior scientist Michael Rose in 1976 in his notes. Even if it is added, it cannot do what was intended. Though Heylings had reported the event to the company superiors, no actions were taken, and it was maintained as a company secret.

Paraquat is highly toxic to human beings. Accidental inhalation or ingestion would be very dangerous. More than 50 nations have banned Paraquat, including those in the European Union, China, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Despite international bans and growing health concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ignored potential links between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

The EPA stated that there is “insufficient evidence” to connect Paraquat products to worries about human health in a preliminary study on Paraquat released in 2019. The EPA permits restricted use of Paraquat in the United States, saying that it could be used only by a licensed pesticide applicator.

Every year around 3,500 to 8,500 acres of fallow land are treated with the spraying of Paraquat. The reason why the EPA is not ready to ban toxic herbicides like glyphosate and Paraquat is still baffling as many other countries have banned Paraquat.

However, in 2021, EPA reported the completion of new, more stringent safety procedures to lessen exposure to the herbicide Paraquat dichloride. They were

  • Restricting aerial applications and mandating buffers around homes.
  • Prohibiting the use of backpack and handgun sprayers under pressure.
  • Ground boom applications require enclosed cabs or respirators.
  • For a number of crops, extending the REI (Restricted Entry Interval).

The American Parkinson’s Disease Association conducted studies that discovered an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in people exposed to Paraquat-containing pesticides. This includes many people who live in rural areas, such as:

  • Farmers who have been exposed to farm animals
  • People who live on farms
  • People who have a history of pesticide exposure
  • People who drink well water
  • People who reside in rural areas

Adverse Effects of Paraquat

Even a single sip of Paraquat will be strong enough to ring one’s death bells. When Paraquat comes into contact with the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines, it causes direct damage.

When Paraquat enters the body, it spreads throughout the entire body. The lungs, liver, and kidneys are the primary organs in which Paraquat causes hazardous chemical reactions.

The short-term exposure to Paraquat could cause the following side effects.

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fluid formation in the lungs
  • Digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Heart attack
  • Renal failure
  • Liver failure
  • Scarring in the lungs
  • Muscle tremor
  • Respiration difficulty
  • Seizures
  • Swelling

However, long-term exposure could cause more serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, impairment in lung function, and reproductive issues.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder affecting the central nervous system’s ability to control movement. Tremors, slowed movement, freezing gait, slurred speech, poor balance, muscle spasms, and stooped posture can result from this.

Paraquat destroys weeds by forming oxidative stress, and the same oxidative stress is known to be causing the death of dopaminergic neurons in the human brain’s substantia nigra pars compacta as dopamine production is affected. Dopamine is the chemical that sends motor signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

Scientific Studies to Prove Paraquat’s Toxicity

In 2009, a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that people who lived within 1600 feet of the area where Paraquat was regularly used had the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

A more comprehensive study of them published in 2011 found a strong relationship between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to Paraquat. In 2016, EPA announced that it was going to do a safety review on Paraquat.

Greenpeace published the Paraquat papers in March 2021, where it was revealed that Imperial Chemical Industries and Syngenta hid the risk of Paraquat from the public deliberately.

Though the ICI had claimed to add emetic PP796 to prevent Paraquat poisoning, it clearly proved that it was aware of the risk earlier, and as we have seen earlier in Heyling’s warning, the company hid the fact that the emetic addition could not prevent the fatality.

The emetic was said to be added to induce vomiting in people who accidentally swallowed the chemical. The low quantity usage could not do that. Even after the warning, the manufacturer did not take the much-needed action.

Another study on people who were exposed to Paraquat while they were young indicated that the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease increased by 200 percent to 600 percent.

Last but not least, a more recent study in 2021 found that long-term, low-level Paraquat inhalation increased the likelihood of mice developing Parkinson’s disease significantly.

In September 2021, a French research study found that Paraquat exposure in pregnant women can cause a form of prenatal neurodevelopmental poisoning, which is equal to Parkinson’s Disease. This is the first study to associate prenatal Paraquat exposure with birth defects.

Progression of Paraquat Lawsuits

In 2017, the first Parkinson’s disease Paraquat lawsuit was filed in Missouri against Syngenta and Chevron U.S.A., Inc. The plaintiff Henry Holyfield was exposed to Paraquat as an agricultural aircraft laborer from 1965 to 1975. In 2015, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and the plaintiff and his wife, Tara Holyfield, sued the defendants on the following counts: design defect, failure to warn, breach of an implied warranty, negligence, and loss of consortium.

In May 2018, farmers Thomas Hoffmann and Diana Hoffmann, along with a dozen other plaintiffs, filed a Paraquat lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron. Thomas Hoffmann, who had been exposed to Paraquat on his farm for more than 20 years, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1998 at the age of 44.

In 2021, Syngenta and Chevron settled the Paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit 2018 with Hoffman and the dozen plaintiffs with Parkinson’s Disease. The settlement amount was kept under wraps. However, it is believed that the plaintiffs received large settlement amounts.

In April 2021, Ellis Pratt of Illinois filed a Paraquat herbicide lawsuit, claiming that long-term exposure to the herbicide caused him to develop kidney damage. Pratt was exposed to Paraquat for about 11 years through direct exposure, contaminated drinking water, and pesticide drift and was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2021.

In May 2021, Doug Holliday, an Iowa farmer, filed a Parkinsons lawsuit on behalf of himself and others against Syngenta and Chevron for putting people’s lives at risk of Parkinson’s disease and failing to warn them of Paraquat toxicity. Since the 1990s, he had been using Paraquat on thousands of acres of cropland.

These lawsuits are only a handful to know the whole sack and clearly tell how Paraquat has affected the lives of many people.

Paraquat Lawsuits MDL

Hundreds and thousands of Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits were filed all over the U.S. after 2017. All those lawsuits filed in the federal courts were consolidated as a Paraquat MDL named Paraquat product liability litigation MDL 3004 on June 8, 2021. It was created in the Southern District of Illinois under judge Nancy Rosenstengelm for pretrial proceedings.

As per the Paraquat lawsuit update 2022 May, at the end of the discovery phase, a total of 16 lawsuits were selected for bellwether trials. Out of which, 8 cases were selected by the plaintiffs and 8 cases by the defendants. The fact discovery of all those cases concluded by March 2022.

Out of the 16 cases chosen, a group of 6 cases was selected for the opening round of bellwether trials. The first trial is scheduled to start on November 15, 2022. The other trials would follow on March 13, June 12, and September 18, 2023. The final pretrial conference is scheduled for October 27, 2022. The completion of fact discovery and medical examinations in the six bellwether trial cases is extended to July 25, 2022.

A second Paraquat docket has been opened in California state court and consolidated in Contra Costa County by the state’s Judicial Council, with case number JCCP 5031 assigned to Honorable Judge Edward G. Weil.

Judge Rosenstengel denied Syngenta and Chevron’s motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Minnesota law claims and public nuisance claims in February 2022.

As of July 5, 2022, Paraquat lawsuit 2022 update, there are 1292 Parkinson lawsuits in the MDL-3004. In June 2022, around 150 new Paraquat lawsuits were transferred to the MDL. The recent data shows that more than 120 Paraquat lawsuits were added to the MDL on average every month.

As of the six bellwether cases scheduled for up to 2023, the plaintiffs and the defendants are eagerly waiting to see the outcome. If most of the verdicts go in favor of the plaintiffs, then the defendants will be forced to agree to a global settlement to close all the remaining Parkinson disease lawsuits.

If you are an affected victim, ensure that your medical records have all the significant medical occurrences recorded in it. Have an adept medical record review firm to plow through the records to identify the facts that will fortify your claim.

Uncover the truth with expert medical record reviews!

Paraquat Lawsuit Updates 2023

The first two bellwether trials scheduled for November 2022 and March 2023 are getting delayed. MDL Judge Nancy Rosenstengel has rescheduled the first Paraquat bellwether trial until October 2023 to allow for more discovery time. This, in turn, will delay the settlement process for the plaintiffs.

Around 70 new Syngenta Paraquat lawsuits were added to the MDL at the end of the previous year, bringing the total number of active lawsuits to 2,352. However, experts predict that there will be more inflow of new cases in 2023.

February 2023 update

February 2023 found the inflow of around 300 new Paraquat poisoning lawsuits, which was a six times high from the lawsuits filed in January. The flooding cases hiked the total cases in the MDL to 2,721.

The defendants tried to prove that the plaintiff expert David Mortensen’s report was not submitted on time as a supplemental report with issued raised during the expert deposition was submitted after the deadline.

This expert testimony was to show the link between the Parkinson’s disease and Paraquat.

March 2023 Update

Around 280 cases were added to the MDL in the last thirty days, adding the total to 2,998. The last year found 200 cases per month added to the MDL. Though there was lag in the beginning of 2023, the current data predicts that there will be more new Paraquat lawsuits in the coming months.

The defendants are striving hard to get the plaintiff experts being eliminated from the trials. Now, their target is Dr. Martin Wells, a statistician, who has performed many studies and found ground-breaking evidence for the link between Paraquat and Parkinson disease. He has picked up studies to support his conclusion. The defendants argue that Dr. Wells has used only the studies that support his claim.

April 2023

More than 200 Paraquat claims in Pennsylvania state courts have been consolidated into a state MDL in Pennsylvania. New plaintiffs can make use of Short Form Complaints (complaints which outline their case-specific allegations in the context of the primary complaint).

The defendants faced a great blow when their motion to dismiss the rebuttal expert report of Martin T. Wells was declined by the court. The scheduled rebuttal deposition of Dr. Wells will be completed as planned.

The MDL judge has scheduled the dates for the following MDL proceedings.

PROCEEDINGS DEADLINE
Summary judgment and Daubert motions June 6, 2023
Responses to summary judgment and Daubert motions July 10, 2023
Replies regarding summary judgment and Daubert motions July 28, 2023
Daubert hearing  and hearing for motions for summary judgment August 21, 2023
Final pre-trial conference October 3, 2023
First jury trial October 16, 2023

May 2023

The defendants’ move to dismiss the plaintiffs’ expert, Dr. David A. Mortensen’s deposition testimony and report was overturned by the jury.

There is a hike in the monthly inflow of new Paraquat-related Parkinson disease claims. More than 500 new Paraquat lawsuits were added to the MDL last month, bringing the total close to 3,730.

September 2023

As per m the latest paraquat lawsuit update 2023, on September 1, Judge Rosenstengel allowed both parties to submit additional briefs regarding the Daubert challenges after hearing the Daubert hearing motion for settlement. As a shock to the plaintiffs, she postponed the bellwether trial to give more time for these challenges to be argued. This has given rise to speculations that she might exclude some plaintiff expert witness testimonies from trial.

Soon after this, Syngenta filed a motion claiming that Dr. Earl Ray Dorsey, a plaintiffs’ expert in the Paraquat case, might have been influenced by lawyers and journalists in his research linking Paraquat to health issues. Syngenta argues that if non-scientific actors swayed the core evidence, this should be disclosed to the court and jury.

Chief Judge Rosenstengel instructed the parties to provide closing briefs summarizing their positions after a four-day Daubert hearing.

The number of pending Paraquat cases in the MDL has increased to 4,752, making it one of the largest consolidated mass torts.

Closing Daubert briefs from both sides have been submitted in the Paraquat litigation, and the bellwether trial has been postponed for further consideration.

October Update

The first bellwether test trial for the Paraquat litigation, scheduled for October 2023, is now uncertain due to Daubert challenges. It is awaiting Judge Rosenstengel’s decision, which is expected to extend into 2024.

The Paraquat class action lawsuit MDL saw a significant drop in new cases, with only 30 added in the last month, suggesting a possible shift into a slower growth phase.

November 2023 Update

As per the latest update, November has found a surge in the new Paraquat lawsuits. Around 200 new cases were added to the MDL adding up the total to 5,000 Paraquat MDL lawsuits. Another incident was involving the toxicologist, Dr. Douglas Weed’s article pertaining to the potential link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease published in NeuroToxicology journal in September 2021. He filed a motion to dismiss a subpoena on his article as he wasn’t connected to the lawsuits and the documentation requests were excessive beyond legal geographic limits.

When will the paraquat lawsuit be settled?- is the question ringing in the minds of the plaintiffs. All are waiting for the outcome of the upcoming trial, as it may hint the ray of settlement hope.

December 2023

As of December 2023, there is no announcement of Paraquat class action suit MDL bellwether trial. Paraquat Parkinsons lawsuit plaintiffs hope at least 2024 will bring some solace to their woes. As of December, there are more than 5000 pending lawsuits in the MDL, with the latest addition of 86 new cases.

Paraquat Lawsuit Updates 2024

January 2024

More than 10 new claims were added and a few were transferred from other districts to the MDL.

March 2024

As of March 1, 2024, there are 5,318 active pending lawsuits in the Paraquat MDL. Judge Rosenstengel hasn’t made any move after the Daubert Hearing six months before. Experts believe that she would dismiss weak claims and keep the valid ones to proceed.

April 2024 Updates

As per the update on April 1, 2024, Paraquat MDL has approximately 5,365 unresolved lawsuits after a few more lawsuits from the previous month adds up the tally.

A new wrongful death lawsuit on Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat exposure by the wife of a victim. The decedent’s 35-year long Paraquat exposure presented him with Parkinsons and he succumbed to death in 2022. It’s just another case added to mounting lawsuits.

The MDL judge gave a shock to the plaintiffs, when she dismissed 4 bellwether lawsuits on April 17, 2024. She excluded the testimony of an epidemiologist, Dr. Martin Wells stating that it failed to provide a valid link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. All the four cases had Dr. Wells as the only expert witness.

June 2024 Updates

Las month has found an addition of 90 lawsuits, raising the total tally to 5,680 in the pending claims in Paraquat MDL.

For the latest Paraquat lawsuit updates 2024, follow this blog as we update it often.

Paraquat Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

When compared to the Roundup lawsuits, there are only a lesser number of Paraquat lawsuits. Therefore, if global Paraquat settlements work out, the plaintiffs may get huge compensation for their damages. The Paraquat settlement amount will be decided on the following things:

  • The strength of the scientific evidence of Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease
  • The outcome of the bellwether trials
  • The strong evidence in each individual’s case
  • The number of Paraquat lawsuits in the MDL

Following the major mass tort global settlements in the past, the plaintiffs could get the following based on the severity of their injuries.

Tier I- Plaintiffs with more severe disease conditions and treatment expenses will get more than $1,000,000 to $400,000. Individuals with moderate damages will get between $300,000 and $150,000. The plaintiffs with lesser damages will get between $150,000 and $20,000.

Paraquat-lawsuits-estimated-settlement-amount

Bayer’s recent big settlement amount of around $10 billion to settle around 1,00,000 Roundup lawsuits in June 2022 is expected to have a great impact on Paraquat lawsuits too. Let’s hope for the best that in 2022 and 2023, there will be some positive turn of winds toward the Paraquat lawsuit settlements.

How to Proceed with a Paraquat Lawsuit?

If you or your loved one is affected by Parkinson’s disease as a result of exposure to Paraquat, you can proceed with a Paraquat lawsuit. Though renal failure and liver failures are reported in a few cases, many of the lawsuits are filed for Parkinson’s disease.

Therefore, Paraquat lawsuit attorneys concentrate on such cases. However, even if you have other issues due to the Paraquat exposure, contact a Paraquat lawsuit lawyer to proceed with a lawsuit.

Since there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, the affected people will need lifelong assistance and expensive treatments. They could not continue their jobs due to Parkinson’s disease.

The plaintiffs who got Parkinson’s disease in their earlier stage or middle age will lose their work days and their future chances to earn any kind of job. Therefore, it will affect their earning capacity and render them disabled for their entire lifetime.

In such situations, the victims and their families will need commendable compensation to relieve the financial burden, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Pursuing Paraquat lawsuits is the final option left for them to tackle the situation.

If you are in such a situation where you or your family member is affected, contact an experienced attorney who is handling Paraquat lawsuits to take you on the right track to get the deserving reparation.

Remember to do the following to make your claim a winnable one.

  • To pursue Paraquat lawsuits, the plaintiffs should have been affected in one of the following ways: 1) You have used Paraquat as part of the profession as farmers, Paraquat applicators, growers, pickers, and landscapers. 2) You live near Paraquat-sprayed farmland. 3) You worked around places where weed killers are being used. 4) You consumed water from wells where Paraquat drifting was noted.
  • You should have proof that you are exposed to Paraquat in one of the ways mentioned above.
  • Intact medical records of your Parkinson’s disease and the reasonable exposure to Paraquat.
  • All the possible treatment details and the medical bills you have incurred.
  • Your wage slips prior to the diagnosis to claim for wage loss.
  • The bills for medical apparatus you needed as assistive care.
  • The expenses for the nursing care you need due to Parkinson’s disease.
  • Photos or videos to prove your Paraquat exposure.

Tell your Paraquat exposure story in detail to your Paraquat lawsuit attorney, and he will guide you on how to collect the needed evidence to win your claim.

Since many scientific studies have proven the association between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease, it would be easy to prove your case. In some cases, you may need the help of an expert witness statement to fortify your Paraquat exposure lawsuit.

Another important factor that would help you win is the expert medical record review. Expert medical record review companies can plow through your mountainous medical records and dig out the vital evidence that supports your claim.

Keep you updated to know what’s latest on paraquat lawsuits by following our updates.

LezDo TechMed is handling medical record reviews for many of the recent mass tort claims that are ransacking the U.S. courts.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From a Lawyer

To wrap up,

Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits and the settlement are the last hope of many plaintiffs who sued the negligent manufacturers. Living the rest of the life at someone else’s mercy is not an easy thing to come to terms with. Though reparations can’t erase what had happened to you or your loved one, they can assist you in coping with the rest of your life.

Hope the bellwether trials will be able to tame the agrochemical giants and impel them toward a global settlement to ease the worries of the plaintiffs. Once the bellwether trials start, it will give a positive vibe in getting the Paraquat settlement 2024 to the worrying plaintiffs.

Staying protected from all harm is not always possible. But it’s our moral right to fight against injustice and bring the wrongdoers before the law. It should be an eye-opener against Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease. It will, in a way, ring the danger bells to those who are still using Paraquat without knowing the danger behind it.

Be a volunteer to share your Paraquat exposure stories to create awareness among the people and try to build a healthy community. Share your thoughts with us.

To know – what is the status of the paraquat lawsuit?- keep in touch with our blog.

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