Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Claims Proceed After Motions to Dismiss, Heading Toward Trials Later This Year

While some Paraquat Parkinson's disease charges were dismissed during pretrial proceedings, remaining claims are scheduled for bellwether trials to begin in Nov 2022.

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Paraquat Parkinson’s disease lawsuits has dismissed certain claims brought against manufacturers of the controversial weedkillers, but the overall cases continue to move forward toward a series of early trial dates.

There are currently about 600 lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system, each raising similar claims that Syngenta and Chevron U.S.A. failed to adequately warn users that they may develop Parkinson’s disease after regularly spraying, mixing, transporting or otherwise handling the herbicide, which has been banned in several countries.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, cases brought in U.S. District Courts nationwide are currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel in the Southern District of Illinois, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation, where a series of four bellwether Paraquat claims are scheduled for early trial dates between November 2022 and the end of 2023, to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the lawsuits.

In a memorandum and order (PDF) issued on February 14, Judge Rosenstengel ruled on several partial motions to dismiss filed by the defendants, agreeing to toss public nuisance and consumer protection Paraquat claims raised under Minnesota law. However, those dismissals are not enough to stop the litigation from moving forward toward the bellwether trials, with remaining claims still proceeding to trial..

The Court has previously established that all fact discovery and expert depositions must be completed by June 17, with additional dispositive motions, challenges to the admissibility of expert witness testimony or summary judgment motions due before July 1.

A final pre-trial conference is currently scheduled to take place on October 27, with a series of Paraquat bellwether trials set to begin on November 15, 2022, March 13, 2023, June 12, 2023 and September 18, 2023.

While the outcome of these bellwether trials will not have any binding impact on other plaintiffs, they are expected to greatly influence any Paraquat settlement offers the manufacturers may make to avoid each case later being remanded back for separate trial dates in U.S. District Courts nationwide.

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