California Paraquat Lawyer

Man spraying pesticide

In 1964, manufacturers registered paraquat as an herbicide in the United States. The product’s primary use is to kill weeds, and both agriculture and non-agriculture sites use it frequently. Once word spread regarding the strength and effectiveness of the weed killer, farmers began to rely on paraquat regularly since other weed killers had become ineffective over time. Currently, farmers in the U.S. use over eight million pounds annually on a wide variety of crop types. 

Unfortunately, studies have recently linked an increased risk of diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, to paraquat exposure. If you experienced exposure to paraquat and have developed Parkinson’s disease or another illness linked to paraquat exposure, you may be eligible to file a paraquat lawsuit. These legal actions hold the manufacturer responsible for your illness or disease and any related damages.

Herbicide Paraquat Toxicity

While there have been many different types of herbicides linked to various diseases and health risks, paraquat is considered one of the deadliest pesticides on the market. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paraquat is highly toxic, and a single sip of this harmful weed killer may result in death. 

About 50 people die in the United States each year from ingestion of the chemical. About a dozen deaths result from accidentally drinking paraquat from a beverage container where someone inappropriately stored the herbicide. 

In addition, epidemiological studies have recently shown serious, long-term health effects of ongoing paraquat exposure when spraying, loading, mixing, or being near the product. In fact, three of the largest agricultural producers globally, Brazil, China, and Europe, have paraquat banned or are phasing out use.

How does the U.S. Government Protect Citizens from Paraquat?

According to the EPA, the government takes measures in the United States to control the immediate health risks linked to using this product, in the form of safer packaging, training, and warning labels. While these efforts can help minimize the number of accidents associated with ingestion or low-level exposure, unfortunately, they do not prevent the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Unlike other countries, the United States does not outright ban the use of this herbicide. It remains readily available on the market and in heavy use by certified applicators. However, rules current as of 2022 restrict anyone who does not hold current certification for the weed killer from applying or handling the product. This is a stricter regulation than most restricted-use products.

Still, even a training class cannot prevent some exposure when working with and around the chemical regularly. In addition, who regulates the use of the herbicide in large agricultural enterprises? Workers are most likely suffering significant exposure despite the strict rules.

Paraquat Exposure Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that causes difficulties with balance, slow movements, rigidity, and tremors. Over a period of years, both non-motor and motor symptoms will worsen, making it difficult to carry out basic daily activities. While both men and women can develop Parkinson’s disease, it affects 50% more men than women.

One million Americans currently live with Parkinson’s disease, with as many as 60,000 new cases each year. You may be familiar with the condition because of Muhammad Ali, George H.W. Bush, or Michael J. Fox. Ali and Bush battled the condition for years, while Fox continues to live with its symptoms and complications.

Why does Parkinson’s Disease Occur?

Parkinson’s disease occurs because of the deterioration of nerve cells found in the part of the brain that controls movement, known as the substantia nigra. When the nerve cells in that part of the brain become impaired or die, the result is fewer dopamine neurons. The nervous system utilizes these important chemical compounds to deliver messages between nerve cells. Low dopamine levels result in issues with movement.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The treatment relies on addressing symptoms when possible. This requires surgery, medication, lifestyle modifications, therapies, and more. There are several medications prescribed to address Parkinson’s symptoms. None stop the progression or reverse the damage done, but they greatly improve the quality of life for many people.

Those living with PD often take several medications at the same time, and doctors may change the drug combination regularly to get the most benefits. To this end, they have numerous doctor’s appointments. They also require adaptive and mobility devices to help with everyday tasks, in some cases. The costs add up quickly. 

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Until recently, the only confirmed cause of Parkinson’s disease was a genetic link that causes familial PD. This may develop in younger patients and runs in families. Recent studies have connected the development of Parkinson’s disease to certain environmental exposures such as herbicide use, as well. 

When Parkinson’s disease does not have a genetic cause, it is “idiopathic.” In short, this means they do not know the cause. Researchers hope to identify additional environmental exposures and other risk factors in the coming years. 

Doctors sometimes misdiagnose some conditions as Parkinson’s disease, too. This is often induced parkinsonism instead. This is a condition with similar symptoms caused by: 

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Certain medications
  • Brain inflammation
  • Exposure to some poisons

How Do Doctors Diagnose PD?

Doctors generally diagnose Parkinson’s disease based on clinical findings. They discuss symptoms, health history, and other relevant topics with the patient. They may run tests, but these usually rule out other conditions. There are currently no lab tests to confirm a PD diagnosis. 

Sometimes, doctors will prescribe a treatment for Parkinson’s to confirm a diagnosis. If the medication is effective at limiting symptoms, they officially diagnose the patient. In other cases, they order testing, including:

  • Blood tests for other conditions
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Genetic testing for the genetic type of the condition
  • Spinal tap
  • Skin biopsy

Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinsons and Paraquat

During the last two decades, researchers have found a clear link between the development of Parkinson’s disease and exposure to paraquat. This is a significant driver behind many other countries banning the herbicide, including the European Union. Studies that outline these findings include: 

  • 2011: In 2011, the National Institute of Health conducted a study called the Farming and Movement Evaluation Report that used the Agricultural Health Study data. The study found that paraquat users were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those not exposed. The study also linked paraquat dichloride exposure with oxidative stress, which can result in the loss of dopaminergic neurons.
  • 2014: A study on environmental toxins and Parkinson’s disease in 2014 found that study participants sprayed with the chemical were twice as likely to develop the disease compared to the public.
  • 2017: Another study conducted in 2017 found a link between Parkinson’s disease and paraquat exposure in people who possessed certain genetic traits. The study showed that exposure to the weed killer resulted in DNA damage and weak mitochondrial respiration.

With more than 30 other countries making moves to ban paraquat herbicides and more regulating it heavily, one would think the United States regulatory agencies might consider the same option. Unfortunately, in October of 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a Proposed Interim Decision to re-approve the chemical for use with certain safety measures in place. 

Currently, the use of paraquat is still legal in America for use by licensed applicators. However, bills have been introduced in Congress to seek the end of paraquat use in the country. 

Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

If you have been exposed to paraquat dichloride and are concerned you may have developed PD, the first step is scheduling an appointment with your physician. Your physician will run tests and discuss symptoms you may be experiencing that could indicate you have developed Parkinson’s disease. They will rule out other conditions and discuss the possible causes of your symptoms with you. Common symptoms of PD  can include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion in the evening
  • Drooling
  • Reduced facial expression
  • Hand tremors
  • Extreme or prolonged stiffness
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty with body movements

Depending on the results of your tests, your body’s response to medications, and other factors, your doctor will give you a formal diagnosis. A diagnosis paired with documented paraquat exposure could support legal action against the manufacturers. Our attorneys will build your case for you, including proving your exposure.

If you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, contact a paraquat lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and if you’re eligible to have a paraquat lawsuit filed.

What to Do if You Develop Parkinson’s Disease

If your doctor diagnoses you with Parkinson’s disease, you must schedule a consultation with an attorney as soon as possible. During this conversation, the attorney will ask questions and review your records with you to determine if you’re eligible to file a paraquat lawsuit. If so, you can pursue compensation for your illness, ongoing medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Throughout this process, it is imperative that you continue to see your doctor and undergo the prescribed treatments for your symptoms. 

Getting appropriate medical care is essential for your health and your legal case. The compensation recoverable in your lawsuit should cover your medical care costs if that is a concern.

Filing a Paraquat Lawsuit

If your health suffers due to exposure to paraquat, there are many reasons you should file a lawsuit. Not only could you recover compensation for your expenses and losses, but you could also hold the companies responsible for your disorder legally responsible. Your legal action shows others the dangers of this herbicide and contributes to stopping future exposure. Overwhelming wins in these cases may sway the EPA and Congress to ban paraquat, too.

Most who suffer injuries from exposure to paraquat will have a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis brought about by symptoms of the condition. Potentially covered costs include their assessments, diagnosis, treatment, ongoing care, and related expenses. You may receive compensation for your lost income and intangible damages, as well.  

The paraquat attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen will help you file a claim for compensation. We will hold the manufacturers accountable for their conduct through an individual claim, joining a mass tort already in progress, or taking other legal action on your behalf. We are knowledgeable about the legal cases based on paraquat exposure. We explain more about the options during our free case assessments. 

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

If you have been exposed to paraquat and have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, contact a paraquat lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen today to determine if you qualify for a paraquat lawsuit.

In general, those who qualify will have medical documentation of their diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis. They may also have proof of their exposure to paraquat. However, many plaintiffs worked in related industries or positions without direct documentation of their exposure. We help our clients collect additional evidence when we investigate their case. Some people who may qualify to file a lawsuit include:

  • Landscapers
  • Pickers
  • Farmers
  • Growers
  • Agricultural workers
  • Licensed applicators
  • Those who bottle or handle these products during manufacturing
  • Anyone who works around herbicides and commercial weed killers

The best way to learn if you have a case against the paraquat manufacturers is to discuss the circumstances of your exposure and diagnosis with our team. Our free case evaluations allow you to learn more about the process while we assess the strength of your case and explain your options.  

Financial Compensation in Paraquat Lawsuits

If your doctor diagnosed you with Parkinson’s disease, you must undergo treatment for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, this disease can be very debilitating. Treatment is not a cure, but it will help you live with your condition longer. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes delay symptoms and allow some people to live longer, more active lives. This could include continuing to work and enjoying some of your favorite activities. 

Still, managing any life-long condition is expensive. Filing a paraquat lawsuit will help you secure the compensation to cover the cost of your long-term medical treatment. We will also obtain compensation for your pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, mental distress, and loss of quality of life, in addition to other damages. 

Many people overlook additional expenses necessary to live with Parkinson’s disease, including the cost of home renovations for mobility needs, buying adaptive equipment, and purchasing wheelchairs or walkers.

Paying for Our Team’s Representation

Our California paraquat lawsuit attorneys represent agricultural workers and those exposed to paraquat while living near high-use areas. We are a contingency-fee personal injury law firm that handles mass tort, class action, and multidistrict litigation regularly. 

We won’t charge you a fee unless we recover money for you. We never ask our clients to pay a retainer or any upfront fees or expenses. We use our firm’s financial resources to investigate, develop, and file every case. No client ever pays for these costs before we go to trial or settle their case. After it is over, we only charge a portion of the money from the paraquat settlements we recover.

Our attorneys meet with you for free, and there is nothing to pay now. You have nothing to lose. If you were exposed to paraquat, call our law firm for a free consultation to see if you qualify to file a paraquat lawsuit.

Grounds for a California Paraquat Lawsuit

The central claims in a paraquat lawsuit are that: 

  • Those who made and sold paraquat knew or should have known that paraquat is toxic
  • They knew or should have known the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease
  • They failed to warn the public about it the risks or take other action to protect users

More than 1,150 paraquat lawsuits are pending in multidistrict litigation (MDL) against Syngenta and other paraquat manufacturers as of May 16, 2022, according to the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

How Paraquat Puts Those Exposed in Danger

Over the years, the Environmental Protection Agency evaluated hundreds of studies regarding paraquat’s toxicity. It has been known since at least 1933 that paraquat possesses redox (reduction-oxidation) properties. It is a potent oxidant and readily goes through redox cycling when exposed to oxygen. Science has known since the 1960’s that these redox properties make paraquat toxic.

Evidence suggests paraquat’s redox cycling produces reactive oxygen species, which lead to oxidative stress. This damages and kills dopaminergic neurons. These neurons produce dopamine, which the brain needs for motor function. Researchers identified the death of these neurons as a cause of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Numerous studies, including peer-reviewed research published between 2011 and 2020, found an association between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists have found that when given to mice, paraquat crosses the blood-brain barrier to destroy these neurons. In fact, scientists intentionally give lab animals paraquat so they can study the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease since they know it will cause those symptoms.

Negligence in Paraquat Lawsuits

Those who made and sold paraquat had a duty to be reasonably careful in ensuring that paraquat was safe. This duty included doing enough product testing, staying aware of current scientific knowledge of any of their product’s dangers, and properly warning about any dangers linked with their products. The failure of companies to do these things lets us pursue damages on behalf of our clients in a paraquat lawsuit.

Our lawsuits against the paraquat manufacturers allege negligence occurred in several ways: 

  • Negligence is failing to be reasonably careful in the name of preventing harm.
  • Negligence is failing to do what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation. 
  • Negligence is doing what a reasonably careful person wouldn’t do in the same situation.

Establishing Negligence

A successful negligence claim in California requires us to prove the following:

  • Negligence happened
  • The victim suffered harm
  • The negligence caused the harm

In these cases, our attorneys strongly believe: 

  • It is negligent to fail to properly test how far paraquat can drift from where workers sprayed it and how easily those nearby absorb it. 
  • It is negligent to fail to properly test the negative health effects in people exposed to paraquat.
  • It is negligent to fail to keep up with any scientific studies that find your product dangerous. 
  • It is negligent to ignore scientific studies which find that your product is dangerous. 
  • It is negligent to fail to warn the public about scientific studies that find your product dangerous.

How We Do It

We base our clients’ lawsuits on the aforementioned allegations of negligence and the long list of findings that link paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease symptoms. We plan to present strong evidence to support our clients’ cases against these negligent manufacturers and others that profited from these dangerous herbicides.

Strict Liability & Paraquat Litigation

While we believe negligence has led to people developing Parkinson’s disease from paraquat exposure, strict liability claims don’t require us to prove negligence. Strict liability generally applies to product liability claims like this one. 

Those who make and sell products are strictly liable for injuries caused by their products. This may occur if their products contain a manufacturing defect, design defect, poor instructions, missed warnings, or other serious defects that lead to injuries. Products with a manufacturing defect are defective because something went wrong during the production process. However, products with design defects are defective when made and used correctly. Their design itself is defective.

Paraquat appears to contain a design defect. It is unsafe when made and used correctly due to its link with Parkinson’s disease. Altering the manufacturing process will not make the chemical any safer. It will always be dangerous because it is inherently toxic. California law also holds those who know or should know their product is dangerous but fail to warn about it liable for any injuries caused by their product.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paraquat Exposure

Below you will find some of the most common questions people with paraquat exposure have. This section is not comprehensive but should answer many of your questions about paraquat lawsuits and the effects of this dangerous herbicide. We will address these questions—and any others you have—during your free case consultation. 

What Is Paraquat, and Why Is It Dangerous?

paraquat parkinsons claims

The chemical herbicide paraquat, or paraquat dichloride, is a toxic herbicide. Common use dates back to the 1960s. For decades, it has been used for commercial purposes to prevent weed and grass takeover of crops by farmers throughout the world. More recently, more than 30 countries banned the herbicide. The United States restricted its use to licensed applicators, but it remains on the market. 

Over the years, researchers have linked paraquat to many adverse health effects, including a progressive neurodegenerative disorder known as Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the herbicide is extremely toxic. Just a small amount of paraquat can be fatal, but even if this is not the immediate result, the health impacts on the victim can be tremendous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even light exposure to paraquat over time can cause significant damage and numerous adverse health effects. This includes Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, and other conditions, such as: 

  • Heart failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver failure
  • Lung scarring
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Injury to the heart
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Respiratory failure

Paraquat Is Harmful Even in Small Amounts

According to NatLawReview.com, aside from the lethal effects of paraquat, continual exposure to just minimal amounts of paraquat can increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This condition is progressive, and there is no cure. Those diagnosed with the disease often manage it for years with medication and other treatment, but it contributes to an early death in many cases.

The toxic effects are also concerning. People die from ingesting the herbicide every year in the United States. Although any paraquat substance purchased in the United States has safeguard additives to prevent accidental consumption, products purchased internationally might appear clear and odorless, making them nearly impossible to recognize. 

Therefore, anyone could easily mix it with food or water without detection. Paraquat poisoning can also occur from skin exposure, especially from an open wound. Inhalation and absorption through the skin are other methods of paraquat exposure, and the ones most likely when exposure leads to Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

How Dangerous Is Paraquat?

The danger of the chemical herbicide paraquat is far-reaching. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies paraquat as a “restricted use” product, meaning that it can only be used by those who are licensed to apply the chemical. Most restricted use products allow others to apply the products when supervised by a licensed applicator, but EPA limits paraquat use solely to those certified to apply it.

The driving factor behind the EPA’s strict limits on use is the extreme toxicity of paraquat and its natural tasteless, odorless, clear characteristics. Drinking just a thimble to a shot glass of the chemical can take a human life. Due to its lethal properties, many suicides and suicide attempts include the use of paraquat. At this point, there is no known antidote. 

The United States does require additives to ensure users can see, smell, and taste the chemical. They also require special packaging and include large warnings about putting the herbicide in other containers. The agency enforces these rules in hopes of preventing accidental ingestion of paraquat.

Determining How Dangerous Your Exposure to Paraquat Was

Several factors determine the level of danger to a person who comes into contact with paraquat, including:

  • Quantity of exposure
  • Method of exposure (ingestion is most likely and most dangerous)
  • Duration of exposure

Ingestion of paraquat causes significant damage in several ways. When this substance meets the lining of the mouth, stomach, or intestines, direct damage will likely occur. Once inside, it is quickly dispersed to the other parts of the body, instantly causing damage to the lungs, liver, and kidneys.

Even with relatively low-level environmental exposure, paraquat is notorious for its link to various health conditions, including Parkinson’s disease. This tie to Parkinson’s disease is the basis for the paraquat lawsuits. 

Do Pesticides Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Environmental factors, such as pesticides and herbicides, may play a role in developing Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. Among others, paraquat is one such herbicide researchers link to this disease. 

Research continues into how much exposure could trigger Parkinson’s disease symptoms, how the exposure generally occurs, and how long it takes before the disorder develops. 

Researchers may also uncover additional links to other pesticides and herbicides as a part of these ongoing studies. As of May 2022, the strongest known links are the ones supporting the lawsuits against paraquat manufacturers.

Additional Paraquat Pesticide Products

Paraquat, a restricted-use herbicide, is a fast-acting weed killer and, as such, is one of the most popular herbicides used on farms and in other large-scale agricultural applications. Gramoxone SL 2.0 Herbicide is the most commonly used herbicide in the United States, and it contains paraquat. Some of the other paraquat pesticide products are:

  • Para-SHOT
  • Helmquat
  • Parazone
  • Firestorm
  • Ortho-Paraquat
  • Quick-Quat
  • Devour
  • Blanco

Makers of many of these herbicides are facing lawsuits over the connection between toxic paraquat products and Parkinson’s disease.

How Do I Know if I’ve Been Affected by Paraquat Exposure?

You must meet with your physician at once if you have had any exposure to the toxic chemical paraquat and are experiencing symptoms that could indicate Parkinson’s disease or another related condition. Ingesting just a small amount of paraquat can be fatal, and it only takes minutes or hours for death to occur. 

Low-level exposure over days or weeks may be enough to cause significant adverse health conditions. Exposure and ingestion of this substance can lead to long-term health issues and put you at a greater risk of Parkinson’s disease. 

Know the Signs of Exposure

Immediate signs of serious exposure include:

  • Swelling and pain in the mouth or throat
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Muscle fatigue or weakness
  • Breathing difficulties or respiratory failure

These symptoms warrant an emergency department visit if they occur while applying paraquat or working in an area where applicators recently applied the herbicide. Symptoms of low-level exposure affecting your body could include: 

  • Tremors or shaking at rest
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slow movement
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Constipation
  • Issues with bladder control
  • Suddenly smaller handwriting
  • Lost sense of smell
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue 

If You’ve Worked with Paraquat and Developed Symptoms, See a Doctor

If you develop any of these symptoms and have a history of working in an agricultural setting or other location where paraquat exposure likely occurred, you should discuss your condition with a doctor. Let them know about your history of working with or near this dangerous chemical.  

If you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, cancer, or another illness due to your exposure to paraquat products, or you believe you were a victim of paraquat poisoning, you need to speak to a paraquat lawsuit lawyer as soon as possible. 

Paraquat Lawsuit Update

The courts consolidated the paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in 2021. This is a type of mass tort. It allows the civil courts to move several cases forward at the same time instead of having thousands of similar lawsuits clogging up the local courts for years. 

In an MDL, the cases remain individual. The outcome of one case does not directly affect others. However, strong evidence found during the discovery process or a positive outcome in the initial trials often leads to global settlement offers or individual agreements for many of the plaintiffs. 

Update on the Paraquat Multidistrict Litigation

In June 2021, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transferred paraquat lawsuits to multidistrict litigation in Illinois federal court. Known as MDL 3004, Paraquat Products Liability Litigation, the case is now in the hands of Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel in the Southern District of Illinois.

The lawsuits accuse Chevron and Syngenta, as well as other manufacturers, of selling paraquat, a popular herbicide, despite knowing that it can cause Parkinson’s disease. The plaintiffs demand compensation for their related expenses and losses, including current and future medical care expenses, related costs, and non-economic losses. Punitive damages may be possible, as well.

More than 1,150 cases are active in the paraquat MDL as of May 2022. Multiple paraquat claims have also been consolidated in California by a California court action. The number of cases centralized in MDL 3004 more than doubled between December 2021 and May 2022. As of December 15, 2021, the JPML reported almost 500 active lawsuits. 

What Is Multidistrict Litigation?

Multidistrict litigation, like the class action lawsuit, is a type of mass tort used to reduce the load on courts across the country. Courts use MDLs in different circumstances than class actions, though. Class action lawsuits are beneficial when many people suffer the same types of injuries and similar damages caused by the same defendants. 

Multidistrict litigation allows for plaintiffs with various injuries, varying severities of injury, and a wide range of damages to all participate in the same MDL. For this reason, it was the best option for the paraquat lawsuits. 

When multidistrict litigation is a good fit for a case, the JPML “consolidates” the cases into an MDL and assigns the MDL to a specific federal district court. The paraquat MDL is in the Southern District of Illinois. Other courts can then transfer qualifying cases into the MDL, where they will remain for pretrial motions, discovery, and the initial trials. 

How does Multidistrict Litigation Work?

The purpose of multidistrict litigation and other mass torts is to move many cases through the court system at the same time. Consolidating a thousand or more lawsuits into one court accomplishes this. In an MDL, the courts consolidate the cases for:

  • Pretrial motions
  • Discovery
  • Bellwether trials, the initial trials heard in the cases

Because of this, each case transferred into the MDL must share the same basic premise and facts. In MDL 3004, all plaintiffs share a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis and a previous exposure to paraquat herbicides.

Consolidating the cases allows the plaintiffs to build a strong case against the defendants without each spending significant amounts of money to investigate and gather evidence from a massive company with a team of corporate attorneys. They share the evidence uncovered during discovery, the same expert witnesses, and other general information about the case. 

Bellwether Trials

However, only a handful of these cases will go to trial as a part of MDL 3004. These are the cases selected for the bellwether trials. They are generally the cases most representative of the plaintiffs. The outcome of these trials does not directly affect the other cases in the MDL. However, they often lead to:

  • Global settlements offered to many or all plaintiffs
  • Individual offers extended to plaintiffs with very similar case facts
  • Similar plaintiffs drop their cases if the victim loses the bellwether trial

Lawsuits still active after the verdict in the final bellwether trial return to their original jurisdiction to prepare for trial.

Next Steps in MDL 3004

MDL 3004 is well underway in the Southern District of Illinois. This is good news for the plaintiffs who are anxious to receive a settlement offer or verdict and get compensation for their medical bills and other expenses. As of May 2022:

  • Completed selection of the bellwether lawsuits 
  • Initial trial date set
  • The Judge ordered the lawyers to wrap up discovery in the bellwether cases

Chief Judge Nancy Rosenstengel opted for an initial pool of 16 bellwether cases in MDL 3004. The defense selected eight lawsuits, and the plaintiffs chose eight. This selection process took several months, and each side chose cases with specific aspects they want to present in court. The Judge set the first trial date for November 15, 2022. As of May 2022, pretrial discovery is ongoing in these bellwether cases. This likely includes:

  • Depositions (sworn interviews with witnesses)
  • Interrogatories (written questionnaires answered under oath)
  • Obtaining documents
  • Researching studies and identifying experts

According to reports, the plaintiffs are optimistic about the possibility of settlement offers before the November trial date. This could occur if the evidence overwhelmingly supports the victims and shows the paraquat manufacturers are likely liable. These companies are unlikely to want to leave it to a jury to award significant punitive damages if it is apparent negligence occurred.

Can I Join the Pending Mass Tort?

The courts continue to transfer lawsuits into MDL 3004 as of May 2022. In fact, more than 80 new cases joined those already active in the MDL in the first two weeks of May alone. You can likely file your lawsuit and join the MDL if:

  • You have a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis
  • You have a documented history of agricultural work or known paraquat exposure

The best way to learn if you should sue and join MDL 3004 based on the facts of your case is to speak with an attorney working on these lawsuits. You can get a free case assessment and learn about your options for seeking compensation and holding the paraquat manufacturers legally responsible for your symptoms, expenses, losses, and other damages.

It is important to act quickly, though. The MDL will not remain open forever, and additional deadlines may apply in your case.

When Were the First Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuits Filed?

A victim filed the first lawsuit that claimed that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease in 2017 in Missouri. This lawsuit was against Syngenta and Growmark. The plaintiffs later amended their complaint, including Chevron Phillips Chemical Company as a defendant after a court order. Syngenta is the Chinese agrochemical company that manufactures popular paraquat product Gramoxone, while Chevron Philips distributes it in the United States. 

This lawsuit included several farm owners, laborers, and other agricultural workers who either:

  • Worked with paraquat directly
  • Spent time working on land where they used the herbicide 

All plaintiffs in these lawsuits later developed Parkinson’s disease. The link between PD and the herbicide was the basis of the defective product claim in this case. One plaintiff, Thomas Hoffman, was a life-long farmhand and farmer who passed away due to his Parkinson’s disease within a month of filing his lawsuit. As of May 2022, no paraquat Parkinson’s Disease cases have gone before a jury. 

Connect With a Paraquat Lawyer Today at Nadrich & Cohen 

If you developed Parkinson’s disease due to exposure to the paraquat herbicide, you may be entitled to financial compensation for damages. You must take legal action as soon as possible. Contact Nadrich & Cohen today or text or email to learn how our law firm will hold the manufacturers of paraquat responsible for your past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages related to your exposure to this deadly weed killer. 

There is no cost to you. At Nadrich & Cohen, we will hold the negligent manufacturer liable for the damages they have caused. We will work tirelessly to help you seek the compensation and justice you deserve.