We are available 24/7


Paraquat multidistrict litigation for Parkinson’s disease

Recent paraquat lawsuit developments

  • November 1, 2023 update: Dr. Douglas Weed filed a motion to quash a subpoena from the plaintiffs' lawyers related to his article about paraquat and its link to Parkinson's disease. His article was published in the scientific journal NeuroToxicology in September 2021. Dr. Weed's article concludes that "a consensus exists in the scientific community that the available evidence does not warrant a claim that paraquat causes Parkinson's disease." So, plaintiffs have an interest in how he got to that conclusion. His funding disclosure in his article – he says there is no "specific" grant for the article – raises questions. Dr. Weed asserts he has no direct connection to the case. The motion emphasizes protections for non-parties and seeks to have the subpoena quashed due to its undue demands and violations of Rule 45. Plaintiff's paraquat lawyers have until the end of this week to respond.
  • 20th October 2023 update: Even though this month was supposed to mark the beginning of the first paraquat bellwether trial, the fate of the lawsuits seems unclear at the moment. Judge Rosenstengel has yet to rule on the Daubert challenges, allowing ample time for this long and complicated process. October is officially the month with the lowest number of new paraquat cases being added to the MDL since the beginning of the class action. Only 30 new cases were added to the paraquat MDL, bringing the number of total pending cases to 4,782.
  • 20th September 2023 update: Chief Judge Rosenstengel issued an Order canceling the upcoming bellwether trial date in October, allowing for supplemental time for the Daubert hearings. The number of pending cases in the paraquat class action MDL is now up to 4,752. It’s currently one of the biggest consolidated mass tort pending in the federal courts.
  • 22nd August 2023 update: The paraquat MDL case count has reached 4,454, up from 4,306 last month. On August 21st, the Daubert hearing concerning the Paraquat litigation in Illinois commenced. Plaintiffs cited studies linking paraquat exposure to Parkinson’s disease, while Syngenta contested this connection. Their position revolves around the belief that genetic factors are the primary cause of Parkinson’s, while the studies do not identify the herbicide as a certain cause. The hearing is scheduled until the 24th.
  • 18th July 2023 update: The first paraquat bellwether trial is set for October 2023. Over the last month, 223 new paraquat cases were transferred or filed into the paraquat class action MDL. This brings the total pending case count to 4,306, with a slowing down detected in the volume of new cases filed.
  • 15th June 2023 update: The paraquat class action has been the fastest-growing mass tort for the last 16 months, and there is no indication of a slowdown. The total number of pending claims in the MDL is 4,083. Hundreds of new cases were transferred just in May's last days. In a summary judgment, Syngenta AG argues that the plaintiffs' allegations, connecting paraquat to Parkinson’s disease, lack the necessary scientific backing, as no peer-reviewed studies affirm this link.
  • 15th May 2023 update: Judge Rosenstengel shot down defense lawyers' attempts to eliminate some plaintiffs’ expert reports. The paraquat class action MDL is still one of the country's most active and sought-after mass torts. More than 500 new paraquat Parkinson’s disease cases have been added to the MDL since April. So far, this is the highest registered monthly number of new lawsuits in over a year. The total case count is currently up to 3,730.
  • 18th April 2023 update: A Pennsylvania paraquat class action recently emerged at the beginning of April with 264 currently pending cases, adjacent to the MDL pending in the federal court system. The federal paraquat MDL added 221 cases over the recent 30 days, bringing the total number of pending cases to 3,219. By all accounts, this Parkinson’s disease class action is, so far, one of the most active mass torts in the country.
  • 16th March 2023 update: The paraquat class action MDL almost reached the 3,000 pending cases mark, with 277 new cases joining over the last 30 days. Following recent disputes over what evidence will be permitted at trial, Syngenta recently produced documents showing that the company might have known since the 1970s about the potential health risks of exposure to paraquat. Furthermore, the documents indicate that by 2001, the company was aware of the potential link between paraquat and Parkinson's disease, even creating an internal task team to monitor the potential liability of these findings.
  • 17th February 2023 update: There are 300 new actions pending in the Paraquat MDL since January, the highest increase during a 30-day period since litigation began. This brings the total number of pending cases to 2,721. Recently, plaintiffs filed a motion aiming to obtain documents from a third-party scientific consulting company that previously worked on paraquat. Syngenta and the consulting company heavily opposed the motion to compel.
  • 17th January 2023 update: Only 69 new cases were added to the Paraquat MDL since December, bringing the total to 2,421 at the start of 2023. However, this may be misleading since the docket indicates that 200 new cases were opened in the last 30 days. This likely means that the number of new cases registered for February will be high. More importantly, Judge Nancy Rosenstengel once again pushed back the date of the first Paraquat MDL bellwether trial to October 2023.
  • 15th December 2022 update: At the beginning of the year, the Paraquat MDL included 482 pending lawsuits. On December 15, the total number of claims amounts to 2,352, an increase of nearly 390%, with no signs of slowing down as we inch closer to the bellwether trials scheduled for 2023.
  • 16th November 2022 update: Following the Special Master’s report and recommendations regarding issues with pretrial discovery, both plaintiffs and defendants have responded and filed their respective objections. Meanwhile, the surge of new lawsuits continues, with 212 new additions over the past month, bringing the total number of cases in the paraquat MDL to 2,221.
  • 20th October 2022 update: As of mid-October, the paraquat MDL includes a total of 2,009 active cases, per official information released by the Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation. At the beginning of October, the plaintiffs filed a motion asking the court to compel the defendants to produce their expert materials. The defendants have been continuously refusing and delaying the handover for over a year now. Also, the deadline for defendants to finalize depositions of plaintiffs’ experts is quickly approaching, with less than one month left to complete.
  • 20th September 2022 update: Judge Rosenstengel selected an additional 20 randomly-chosen cases from the paraquat MDL for limited fact discovery, requiring plaintiffs in each case to conclude their depositions within 60 days and present a summarized report to the Court. More detailed discovery in these cases will give defendants' attorneys a better grasp of the MDL’s inventory, which will be helpful when negotiating compensation amounts. Since last month, 222 new lawsuits were added to the fast-growing mass tort, bringing the total number of cases in the MDL to 1,925.
  • 17th August 2022 update: After reviewing the paraquat MDL’s discovery status and consulting with the Special Master, Judge Nancy Rosenstengel issued an Order that pushes back the opening bellwether trial from November 2022 to July 2023. This is unfortunate due to the fact that defendants are more likely to offer appropriate settlements when the trial date is nearing, effectively setting the paraquat MDL back by 9 months. 255 new lawsuits have been added to the paraquat MDL class action since July, bringing the total number of lawsuits to 1,703.
  • 18th July 2022 update: Over the last month, 156 additional lawsuits have been filed in the paraquat MDL class action, bringing the total to 1,448. In the past year, the monthly increase of new cases added to the paraquat MDL remained relatively constant, as opposed to other MDL class actions where the number of cases usually experiences fluctuations on a monthly basis.
  • 16th June 2022 update: Total pending lawsuits in the paraquat MDL class action have increased over the last month, now totaling 1,292. Due to the high number of witnesses, Judge Rosenstengel recently issued a short extension for the discovery period until July 25, 2021. This will allow both parties to complete fact discovery and medical examinations before proceeding to the bellwether trials.
  • 16th May 2022 update: The total number of lawsuits in the ongoing paraquat MDL class action now stands at 1,153. Bayer recently sought an appeal to the Supreme Court in its Roundup litigation, claiming that the federal law governing pesticides preempts lawsuits. The Presidential Administration urged the Court to dismiss this appeal, arguing that the law’s premise was wrongly interpreted.
  • 15th April 2022 update: After reviewing the parties' confidential rankings, the court selected six cases for further case-specific discovery. There are currently 982 lawsuits pending in the MDL
  • 16th March 2022 update: The paraquat MDL class action amassed 875 lawsuits, with another 77 lawsuits filed at state level. This confirmed experts' prior expectations that the number of lawsuits against paraquat manufacturers would steadily increase.
  • 7th March 2022 update: The pool of cases heading for bellwether trials was identified, with discovery dates finalizing by the end of the month. The court offered both parties the deadline of April 8 to submit their case rankings by the preference of trial scheduling.
  • 10th February 2022 update: Judge Rosenstengel ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a matter regarding discovery. Plaintiff attorneys requested deposition transcripts from witnesses in a prior case against Syngenta in the same court.
  • Early February 2022 update: A dozen new paraquat lawsuits were filed with the ongoing MDL.
  • 19th January 2022 update: The number of cases filed against paraquat manufacturers rose to 589, an increase of 260 lawsuits in only a month, illustrating the interest that the MDL has garnered.

Paraquat litigation developments in previous years

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 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.

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.

Paraquat estimated compensation

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.

Why file a claim with Atraxia Law

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.

Free case evaluation

10 Minutes Over the Phone

*No fees unless compensation is obtained

One of our legal assistants will call you back within the next 2 hours