Paraquat Lawsuit Filed By Commercial Sprayer Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease
A trained commercial sprayer’s has filed a product liability lawsuit indicating that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat, indicating that years of measuring, mixing, transporting and applying the herbicide left him with the debilitating condition.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Aaron Grant and his wife, Vickie, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Friday, presenting claims against Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC for negligence, design defect, failure to warn, public nuisance, violation of Illinois consumer protection laws, breach of warranty, willful and wanton conduct, and loss of consortium.
Paraquat is a controversial herbicide that has been used on farms throughout the United States since the mid-1960s to control weeds and long grass. However, a growing body of research has established a link between exposure to Paraquat and Parkinson’s, even if all of the manufacturer’s recommended safety precautions are followed.
According to the lawsuit, Grant worked as a commercial Paraquat sprayer in Illinois throughout the 1990s, regularly applying the herbicide on farm land throughout the state. He indicates that symptoms of Parkinson’s disease began to surface in 2016, and was officially diagnosed in December 2018.
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The case joins dozens of Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits now filed in courts throughout the U.S., each raising similar allegations that the manufacturers failed to warn users, even licensed and trained applicators, like Grant, about the risks of Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat exposure. Many suggest this was in order to keep the already controversial weed killer on the market and thus expand the manufacturers’ profits at the expense of the health of consumers.
“Defendants’ failure to adequately warn Plaintiff resulted in: (1) Plaintiff being exposed to Paraquat; and (2) scientists and physicians failing to warn and instruct the public, particularly those living in agricultural areas where Paraquat-based pesticides are heavily sprayed, about the risk of Parkinson’s disease and renal disease with exposure to Paraquat,” the lawsuit states. “During the entire time that Plaintiff was exposed to Paraquat, Plaintiff did not know that exposure to Paraquat when handled according to the instructions could be injurious to Plaintiff or others.”
While genetics are often believed to be a major cause of Parkinson’s disease, growing research indicates genes are only believed to be associated with about one-in-ten cases. Exposure to herbicides and pesticides are increasingly considered a leading risk, especially when combined with other factors that place individuals at risk of the development of Parkinson’s.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the U.S., the federal Paraquat litigation has been centralized before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. As part of the coordinated federal litigation, a federal judge has indicated that a series of “bellwether” trials will be held to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.
However, if Paraquat settlements or another resolution for the litigation is not reached, each individual case may later be returned to the home district where it was originally filed for a future trial.
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