Farmer spraying paraquat herbicide

Paraquat is an extremely toxic herbicide that has been used by farmers globally since the 1960s. Paraquat is known for being an extremely effective killer of weeds and unwanted grasses, causing plants to wither and die within mere hours. Because the product is so incredibly effective, it is very commonly used. However, it was not until recent decades that the dangerous link between the product and the neurological disorder, Parkinson’s disease, was discovered.

Despite studies linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s and over 32 countries banning the chemical altogether, in 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-approved Paraquat for use in the United States without any additional regulations. This re-approval puts thousands in danger of developing Parkinson’s disease.

One farmer recounts using a backpack to spray Paraquat but was never told to wear any kind of protection while using the product, despite Paraquat being registered as a “Restricted Use” product by the EPA. He would be careful not to touch the chemical directly and used a stick to mix it, but never wore gloves or a mask when spraying it. At sixty-two years old, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after he noticed his movement slowly became impaired. His wife remembers him suffering short term effects of the chemical as well, saying he would sometimes lay in bed sick for days after spraying the chemical.

Judge's gavel

The Current State of Litigation

Currently, there are more than 300 lawsuits filed for Paraquat across the United States. Plaintiffs affected by Paraquat contend that Syngenta, the primary manufacturer producing the product, and Chevron, the distributor of the product, had knowledge of the harm that the product caused and that they actively concealed this information. Former employees and people who have knowledge of the manufacturing process claim that the companies who created Paraquat have known about the harm their products cause for decades but have put profit over safety but not disclosing the risks. Multi-district litigation lawsuits have been filed on behalf of many plaintiffs suffering from Parkinson’s disease after using Paraquat.

The first lawsuit was filed in Missouri in 2017 against Syngenta, headquartered in Switzerland. Several other lawsuits have been filed in other states since then. A class action multi-district litigation has also been filed, meaning that all lawsuits currently in federal court alleging plaintiffs developed Parkinson’s after being exposed to Paraquat will now be consolidated and decided by one judge.

In February 2022, defendants in this class action filed several motions to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, alleging that the claims were without merit. The Court granted this motion in part and denied it in part. Two of the plaintiffs’ claims, for violation of consumer protection and public nuisance, were dismissed. This does not significantly affect the course of the lawsuit, as the remainder of the claims will move forward.

While no settlement has been reached for any plaintiffs at this time, the first Paraquat lawsuit is set to begin trial in November of 2022. Pretrial discovery has been successful so far and there is a possibility defendants will negotiate a reasonable settlement offer for plaintiffs suffering from Parkinson’s disease as a result of Paraquat use.

Contact an Experienced Paraquat Lawyer

If you or a loved one used Paraquat and were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you should contact a lawyer with experience. You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering, among other losses. Our firm works with Knowledgeable Paraquat Lawyers who are investigating these cases. There is no fee unless you obtain a settlement of award. Contact us toll-free at 1-(800) 992-6878 or fill out an online contact form for a free (no obligation) case evaluation. 

Paraquat Victims meeting with their Personal Injury Attorney