Paraquat Lawsuit | Parkinson’s Disease Attorneys

Paraquat Lawsuit | Parkinson’s Disease Attorneys

Paraquat, the toxic pesticide widely used on crops throughout the United States, is under the microscope for its potential link to Parkinson’s disease.


With the growing body of research showing that Paraquat could lead to the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disease — why is the United States still using this pesticide on hundreds of our crops?

Table of Contents

Lawsuit Updates

  • September 2023 Updates:

    September 6, 2023:

    Judge Nancy Rosenstengel has decided to postpone the upcoming Paraquat bellwether trial, which was originally scheduled for October. The reason for this delay is to allow her more time to consider the matters related to the Daubert hearings.

    In the context of Multidistrict Litigations (MDLs), a bellwether trial serves as an initial trial that helps establish how other similar cases will be handled. A Daubert hearing involves a dispute between the plaintiff and defendant, overseen by the judge, to determine the admissibility and scope of expert testimony in court.

    Judge Rosenstengel has requested both parties to submit additional briefs regarding the Daubert hearings and any issues that have arisen during these proceedings. This additional information will aid her in making informed decisions regarding the trial.

    September 1, 2023:

    Commencing on August 20, the Daubert proceeding involving an epidemiologist is underway. Dr. Martin Wells, who has previously asserted a notable link between paraquat and the development of Parkinson’s disease, is undergoing evaluation by Judge Nancy Rosenstengel to determine the admissibility of his testimony in court. As of August 22, 2023, a total of 4,554 paraquat-related lawsuits are awaiting resolution in the federal court of Illinois, and the first bellwether trial, initially slated for an earlier date, has been rescheduled to take place in October 2023.

  • August 2023 Updates:

    August 1st, 2023

    The Judge presiding over the Paraquat MDL is expected to make a ruling on the admissibility of scientific causation evidence connecting Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease.

    Both parties have submitted their Daubert motions, and Judge Rosenstengel has scheduled a hearing on the motion for August 21, 2023.

    The Judge has mandated that Dr. Martin Wells, the plaintiffs’ key expert witness, must appear at the hearing and provide testimony crucial to the decision on admissibility.

    Following the hearing, Judge Rosenstengel has granted the parties the opportunity to submit closing briefs by September 8, 2023.

  • July 2023 Updates:

    July 1st, 2023:

    Defendants Syngenta and Chevron have identified 611 claims in the MDL that they consider questionable.

    The defendants argue that some claims lack sufficient evidence and were filed based on targeted advertising campaigns and lead generators.

    It is unlikely that all 611 claims are non-viable, and eventually, the issue of whether Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease will be decided by a jury.

    The first bellwether trial is set to commence in October, 2023.

    July 18, 2023

    A total of 223 new Paraquat lawsuits were transferred into the class action MDL, raising the overall pending case count to 4,306.

    This figure is slightly lower than the average number of new cases seen in the past 16 months, hinting at a potential delay in new filings for this litigation.

  • June 2023 Updates:

    June 16th, 2023:

    The Paraquat class action MDL has recently seen an addition of 353 new plaintiffs, raising the total number of claims pending in the MDL to 4,083.

    Since the beginning of 2023, 1,731 new Paraquat cases have been included in the MDL.

    June 12th, 2023:

    Chevron and Syngenta AG have filed for summary judgment in the MDL, contending that the plaintiffs’ claims linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s disease lack scientific evidence.

    They argue that no peer-reviewed studies have confirmed this connection, challenging the validity of the claims.

    Although it is unlikely, approximately 3,700 claims could be dismissed if the motion is passed.

  • May 2023 Updates:

    May 1st, 2023:

    The court denies the motion filed by Syngenta and Chevron to strike Martin Wells’ rebuttal expert report in the Paraquat class action MDL.

    The report is deemed to adequately address the opinions and criticisms of the defendants’ expert.

    The order instructs any further objections from the defendants to be raised through a Daubert motion.

    Additionally, Judge Rosenstengel orders all parties to propose a Case Management Order by April 19, 2023, specifying agreed-upon deadlines for submitting summary judgment and Daubert motions, as well as any guidelines or limitations for these motions.

    May 10th, 2023:

    Defense counsel accuses plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Paraquat class action MDL of filing pleadings on behalf of deceased clients.

    This occurrence, while undesirable, does not significantly prejudice the defendants.

    A request is made for the court to address this issue

    May 15th, 2023:

    The Paraquat class action MDL experiences a surge in new lawsuits, with over 500 Paraquat Parkinson’s disease cases added in the past month.

    This is the highest monthly total in over a year, following consecutive months of over 200 new cases.

    Since the beginning of the year, the MDL has seen 1,300 new cases added.

    If this pace continues, the number of pending cases is projected to surpass 5,000 by year-end.

  • April 2023 Updates:

    There are currently over 2,000 Paraquat lawsuits pending in the Paraquat MDL in Illinois, as well as 264 cases in the Pennsylvania state court system.

    The Judge in the Pennsylvania Paraquat class action has ruled that new plaintiffs can use a Short Form Complaint when filing their case.

  • March 2023 Updates:

    March 1st, 2023:

    The defense team in the Paraquat class action MDL filed a motion to strike a supplemental expert report submitted by plaintiff expert David Mortensen.

    The report was submitted after the deadline for expert reports and sought to clarify certain issues raised during Mortensen’s deposition.

    The Court is expected to rule on the motion soon.

    March 5th, 2023:

    Syngenta produced documents indicating that the company may have known about the potential health risks of exposure to Paraquat as far back as the 1970s and was aware of the link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease by 2001.

    March 16th, 2023:

    277 new plaintiffs joined the Paraquat class action MDL in the last month, bringing the total number of pending cases up to 2,998.

    This marks the second month in a row that the Paraquat MDL has posted an above-average volume of new case filings.

    With the first bellwether test trial coming up in the summer, both sides are starting to battle over what evidence will be permitted at trial.

The First Paraquat Lawsuit

Paraquat-Lawsuit-Farmers-Spraying-Pesticide; The First Paraquat Lawsuit

The first Paraquat lawsuit was filed in St. Clair County circuit court on behalf of Thomas Hoffman who sued Syngenta and Growmark on September 15th, 2017, claiming he was exposed to the pesticide from farming starting in the fifth grade and subsequently was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Hoffman passed away 23 days after the suit was filed.

farming pesticide paraquat

Robert Sprague, the attorney who filed the complaint on behalf of Mr. Hoffman stated:

“Paraquat is toxic to both plant and animal cells, and that its creation of oxidative stress in cells is the source of its toxicity has been known since the 1960s. Paraquat is among the handful of toxins that scientists use to produce animal models of Parkinson’s disease.”

Studies Link Paraquat To Parkinson’s Disease

Paraquat-Lawsuit-Farmers-Spraying-Pesticide; The First Paraquat Lawsuit; Studies Link Paraquat To Parkinson’s Disease

In 2011 a study was released known as the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study which investigated the relationship between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to pesticides that are toxic to nervous tissue.

This study found that people who used Paraquat developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users.

The authors followed 110 people with Parkinson’s and 358 matched controls.

FAME was part of a larger Agricultural Health study that followed over 80,000 licensed pesticide applicators as well as their spouses.

This was a very influential study even among those who were skeptical of the connection between Paraquat and Parkinson’s.

On May 23, 2018, Scott Ryan, a University of Guelph professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, published a study in which he determined that low-level exposure to pesticides like Paraquat disrupt cells in a way that mimics the effects of mutations known to cause Parkinson’s disease.

“People exposed to these chemicals are at about a 250% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than the rest of the population,” said Ryan.

parkinson's disease shaking

He believes that safety standards need to be updated to protect those who are more likely to develop Parkinson’s after pesticide exposure and may not even know it.

Currently,  there is no cure or therapy to slow, stop or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but research points to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

A Widely Used Toxic Pesticide

Paraquat was first introduced commercially in 1961 and is used by farmers several times a year to control weeds where they plant multiple crops in a growing season or year.

Crops that are sprayed with this toxic pesticide include orchard crops, row crops, fruits, and vegetables.

Paraquat-Lawsuit-Farmers-Spraying-Pesticide; The First Paraquat Lawsuit; Studies Link Paraquat To Parkinson’s Disease; A Widely Used Toxic Pesticide

Paraquat is only registered for industrial and commercial settings and not for any residential use.

Monsanto’s Roundup is the world’s most popular weedkiller but weeds are becoming resistant to it and Paraquat is being marketed as an alternative.

The New York Times reports that over seven million pounds of Paraquat is being sprayed on almost 15 million acres in a year period.

Will The EPA Take Action?

Paraquat-Lawsuit-Farmers-Spraying-Pesticide; The First Paraquat Lawsuit; Studies Link Paraquat To Parkinson’s Disease; A Widely Used Toxic Pesticide; Will The EPA Take Action

In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said:

“There is a large body of epidemiology data on paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.”

The agency is said to weigh in this year on whether or not to continue allowing Paraquat to be used on crops throughout the United States.

The EPA has recently introduced policies to protect farmers working with Paraquat.

toxic pesticide paraquat

These include restricting its use only to certified individuals and these individuals are now required to participate in additional training.

It is important to note that Paraquat is banned in several countries including Europe, Switzerland, and China has been phasing it out since 2012.

Hopefully, the United States will follow.

Speak to an Attorney about Paraquat Lawsuits Today

TruLaw and its attorneys are investigating Paraquat lawsuits now.

If you or a loved one has subsequently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after exposure to the herbicide, you may be entitled to recover money for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

You can speak with our virtual assistant by clicking on the chat icon found at the bottom right hand of the page.

Paraquat-Lawsuit-Farmers-Spraying-Pesticide; The First Paraquat Lawsuit; Studies Link Paraquat To Parkinson’s Disease; A Widely Used Toxic Pesticide; Will The EPA Take Action; Speak To An Attorney About Paraquat Lawsuits Today

By answering the questions prompted, we can help you discover instantly if you have a lawsuit to file against the manufacturer of Paraquat.

We will continue to update our readers on the status of these cases as the litigation progresses.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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