There are at least 157 pending paraquat lawsuits in state and federal courts around the country. Paraquat, which is manufactured by the Swiss chemical maker, Syngenta, is associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes tremors.
A federal judge tasked with coordinating the proceedings involving paraquat claims, recently announced that a jury trial was being set for November 15, 2022.
Carey Gillam, an investigative journalist who has reported extensively on Roundup weedkiller litigation, reported that the date was set after an initial hearing with lawyers from multiple firms who are representing people alleging their exposure to Syngenta’s popular herbicides caused them or family members to develop and suffer from the neurological disorder.
Plaintiffs allege Syngenta failed to risk consumers and regulators of the risk posed by Paraquat despite being aware of said risks; Syngenta has thus far denied all allegations.
Paraquat is primarily used in the cultivation of three of the largest crops grown in the nation: soy, cotton and corn. A study from a decade ago conducted by the U.S. government revealed that agricultural workers who used paraquat—introduced to the market in 1964, well before glyphosate-based Roundup—were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s as farmers who didn’t use it.
More recent research, concluded that “Extensive literature suggests an association between general pesticide use and Parkinson’s disease (PD).”
Despite the dozens of unresolved paraquat claims, a notice of settlement was filed June 18 in California, which indicated that settlement terms had been reached in principle for 16 paraquat claims filed in the state. Thus far the terms have not been disclosed.
Gillam reports that one of the attorneys involved in the settlement, Steve Tillery, was scheduled to bring one of his individual paraquat cases, Hoffman V. Syngenta, to trial last month. Through discovery (the gathering of information pertaining to a lawsuit), Tillery accumulated thousands of pages of internal company documents, and had threatened to introduce evidence that he claimed included internal company records showing Syngenta has known for decades that its product causes Parkinson’s Disease.