Litigation against paraquat manufacturers began in September 2017, when Thomas Hoffman filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Growmark in St. Clair County, Illinois. He claimed to have been exposed to the substance from an early age and subsequently developed Parkinson's disease.
Three more plaintiffs joined the lawsuit the following month, all diagnosed with Parkinson's.
In February 2021, James Hemcker filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron on a similar basis. This was closely followed by lawsuits against the same companies in March 2021 by Michael Joseph Kearns in the Southern District of Illinois and Paul Rakoczy in California. Both claimed that their Parkinson's diagnoses were related to their repeated use of paraquat. (Note: Chevron was dismissed as a defendant from any cases involving the use of paraquat 1990.)
Due to the increasing number of similar lawsuits and claims against paraquat manufacturers across the US, a Motion of Transfer was filed on April 7, 2021, to consolidate these cases into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).
By May 2021, the MDL was established in the Southern District of Illinois and assigned to be handled by US District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel.
On December 3, 2021, with 329 lawsuits pending, Judge Rosenstengel ruled that a starting group of 16 cases will be chosen to prepare for trial, with the period for fact discovery lasting until March 31, 2022.
Determining the financial value of settlements can be difficult because there are no prior rulings of this nature in an MDL concerning paraquat exposure. Therefore, legal experts can only estimate potential compensation amounts based on the damages that victims can claim, such as incurred medical expenses, loss of wages, the extent of illness, and the distress the victims suffer.
While there is no way of precisely determining the financial outcome of such settlements at the moment, experts in the field point to previously settled Roundup litigations as a point of reference. Even if both Roundup and paraquat-based products are herbicides, the two litigations are different. The Roundup litigation used a previous class-action model that is not applicable for cases where paraquat is concerned. Also, differences between the active substances in both compounds lead to separate illnesses.
So far, the paraquat litigation seems to have a lower number of plaintiffs compared to the lawsuits against Roundup. Fewer plaintiffs could determine higher settlement amounts down the line.
Experts believe that a reasonable estimate for paraquat cases can be assessed by looking at settlement tiers in prior mass torts. The tiers are determined based on the severity of the illness and categorized into low, intermediate, and high tiers. Due to the many variables expected to affect the MDL’s outcome, the estimated compensations could range between $20,000 to $1,000,000. These estimates will most likely change as new information becomes available.
The MDL is still in the initial stages, and hearings are expected to commence in November 2022. Individuals who have received a Parkinson's diagnosis due to paraquat exposure can file a claim to obtain compensation from the liable manufacturers.
Atraxia Law can help individuals obtain the compensation they are entitled to after exposure to paraquat. Our team of professionals evaluates each claim to assess its eligibility. We fully appreciate that Parkinson's makes everyday life difficult. Because of this, we will require only minimal involvement from you in this complex process. We compile the required documentation and transfer the claim to one of our associated attorneys, that will add it to the ongoing MDL.
Our previous experience with mass tort claims provides us with the necessary knowledge and tools to properly assess your claim quickly and easily. Because of the time constraints, we make it our priority to expedite the assessment process.
To properly assess the eligibility of a claim, we require verifiable proof of exposure to paraquat and a Parkinson's diagnosis. The statute of limitations for such cases ranges between 1 and 7 years, depending on the state where the claim is filed. It is imperative to reach out to Atraxia expeditiously to ensure the success of your claim.
We will gladly answer any queries and provide additional information. We encourage you to seek us out for any further queries and clarifications.
In 2016, the EPA substantially changed the conditions under which paraquat could be purchased, mixed, and applied in order to minimize accidental ingestions and to reduce exposure for workers in the agricultural sector; but before 2017, anyone could mix and apply paraquat if they were doing so under the “supervision” of a certified applicator, which means hundreds of thousands of agricultural workers, none of whom had training or certification, mixed, loaded, and/or sprayed paraquat herbicide for years.
Key points to remember:
September 2021 - The NeuroToxicology medical journal published a study titled “Does paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease? A review of reviews”. Researchers examined reviews that appeared in the medical literature between 2006 and the present that provided opinions on the issue of causation. However, they came to the conclusion that, while some studies strongly support the connection, the available evidence as a whole does not support a causal conclusion. According to the researchers, future research on this subject should focus on improving the quality of epidemiological studies, including better exposure measures and determining specific mechanisms of action.
According to a recent study conducted by the Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s Prevalence Project, the predicted number of people in the U.S. living with Parkinson’s disease will rise from nearly one million to 1.2 million by 2030. Occupational exposure to highly hazardous pesticides like paraquat brings about at least a 50% increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s disease.
August 2021 - The EPA allowed paraquat to remain on the market with new safety measures to reduce farmworker exposures, according to the agency’s interim decision. The decision was the result of Syngenta and the distributor Chevron USA facing over 100 lawsuits from agricultural workers who firmly believe that their paraquat exposure contributed to their diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Under the Trump administration, the EPA proposed banning most aerial spraying of paraquat, but after reviewing data from the pesticide industry, it now allows aerial applications with some restrictions, such as no-spray buffers in residential areas.
July 2021 - The EPA released the interim decision for registration review after receiving and considering public comments on the paraquat proposed interim decision. As part of this action, the EPA requires mitigation measures to reduce the risks associated with paraquat to protect our health and the environment.
February 2021 - The online journal Environmental Factor published a study titled “Inhaled paraquat enters the brain, impairs the sense of smell in male mice.” Among the findings of this study, researchers highlight the fact that paraquat vapors impair the sense of smell and can subsequently contribute to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. “If you inhale something and it goes into your nose, it can actually enter the neurons responsible for the sense of smell and travel into the brain,” explains first author Timothy Anderson.
2020 - A study published in the Environmental Health in June 2020 revealed the link between occupational exposure to pesticides like paraquat in agricultural workers and higher death rates from Parkinson’s disease
2019 - the EPA reviewed over 70 articles that uncovered various health issues, including Parkinson’s disease, in workers who apply paraquat or enter fields treated with paraquat
2018 - the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program published its protocol for a review of paraquat dichloride exposure and Parkinson’s disease, which includes evidence that associates the paraquat-based herbicides with Parkinson’s disease
2018 - University of Guelph study determines that low-level exposure to paraquat disrupts cells by mimicking the effects that mutations known to cause Parkinson’s disease have on patients
July 2017 - The Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council sent a letter to the EPA, urging the agency to deny the registration of this cancer-causing herbicide due to the strong evidence that proves that paraquat can cause the onset or accelerate the development of Parkinson's disease
December 2016 - A study published in Nature Chemical Biology indicated that paraquat induces protein and nucleic acid degradation that leads to oxidative stress and, finally, cell death. Oxidative stress and cellular pathologies also have been suggested to play a key role in Parkinson's disease
March 2016 - The EPA announced that it would be re-evaluating the adverse health effects caused by paraquat
2015 - A science writer notes for Chemistry World that a potential reason behind paraquat’s aggressive impact is the interference with an essential type of reaction in the body called electron transfer. The process is often described as oxidation and reduction, and several essential body functions, such as cellular respiration, rely on it
2012 - The study "Genetic Modification Association of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease" found that exposure to paraquat increased the risk of Parkinson's disease 11-fold in individuals with genetic variations
July 2011 - Data from the National Institute of Health (NIH) Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study indicated that farmers using paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users
June 2011 - A study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that Parkinson’s disease was significantly associated with paraquat exposure
2009 - A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that paraquat exposure within only about 550 yards of a home may increase the Parkinson’s disease risk by 75%
The Farming and Movement Evaluation Study (FAME) found a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease in people who use this herbicide on a regular basis. Sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, this study revealed that environmental determinants such as paraquat exposure increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 2.5 times. It was conducted in 2011 on 52,000 licensed herbicide applicators and 32,000 of their spouses from North Carolina and Iowa, two of the states that currently employ the largest amounts of paraquat in the country.
FAME is a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study. There were actually 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 358 matched controls that participated in this study. Additionally, the FAME study found that rotenone, another toxic pesticide, also increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
10 Minutes Over the Phone
*No fees unless compensation is obtained