Paraquat Lawsuit Filed Over Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis, Following 25 Years of Handling Herbicide on Family Farm
A Georgia man who worked on his family farm for 25 years has filed a Paraquat lawsuit, indicating the manufacturers never warned him or other agricultural workers that mixing, handling and spraying the weed killer could expose them to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Walter Mizell in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on October 11, alleging that Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of neurological damage from Paraquat.
The case joins thousands of similar Paraquat lawsuits being pursued by farm works and other individuals diagnosed with Parkinsons’s disease after exposure to Paraquat, which has been on the market since the 1960s, when it was first marketed under the brand name Gramoxone.
PARAQUAT Parkinson's Lawsuits
Mizell indicates he was directly exposed to Paraquat from about 1977 to 2001, while working on his family farm in Axson, Georgia. During that time, he regularly handled, mixed, loaded and cleaned up Paraquat, but was unaware that it may cause serious neurological injuries.
In September 2023, weeks before the lawsuit was filed, Mizell was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. However, he claims that the manufacturers knew about the Paraquat Parkinson’s disease risks for decades.
“Defendants failed to appropriately and adequately test its Paraquat-based products to protect individuals like Plaintiff from the hazards of exposure to Paraquat,” the lawsuit states. “Despite its knowledge that exposure to Paraquat was dangerous, Defendants continued to promote their Paraquat-based products as safe.”
The lawsuit presents claims of negligence, design defect, failure to warn, breach of warranty, violation of consumer protection laws, and willful and wanton conduct. Mizell seeks both compensatory and punitive damages.
October 2023 Paraquat Lawsuit Update
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, all Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system have been centralized as part of a Paraquat MDL (multi-district litigation) since June 2021, which is consolidated before U.S. Chief District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel in the Southern District of Illinois, for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Following discovery into common issues that impact all claims and case-specific discovery involving a few representative cases, Judge Rosenstengel is currently evaluating the reliability of expert testimony linking Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, and is expected to soon issue a ruling that will clear individual cases to proceed to trial.
While the outcome of any early jury trials will not have any binding impact on Mizell and other plaintiffs, they are expected to greatly influence the outcomes of any Paraquat settlement negotiations. If the parties fail to reach such a Paraquat settlement or other resolution to the litigation, thousands of lawsuits could be remanded back to district courts nationwide for individual trial dates.
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