Paraquat Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Fatal Case of Parkinson’s Disease
A widow from Illinois has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that she lost her husband due to complications from Parkinson’s disease caused by Paraquat, which he used to control weeds for years while working as a farmer.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Janet Puzey in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on April 14, pursuing damages from Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC and Chevron U.S.A., Inc, for herself and her late husband, Ralph Puzey.
According to the Paraquat wrongful death lawsuit, Ralph Puzey was repeatedly exposed to the herbicide Paraquat between 1977 and 1990, while working on his farm in Illinois. As a direct result of the exposure, the lawsuit indicates that he developed Parkinson’s Disease in August 2011, and died on January 10, 2022.
Syngenta and Chevron allegedly knew or should have known about the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease from Paraquat, which can occur even when all of the manufacturers’ recommended safety precautions were followed. However, information and warnings were withheld from farmers and other users for decades, the lawsuit claims.
Learn More About Paraquat lawsuits
Exposure to the toxic herbicide Paraquat has been linked to a risk of Parkinson's disease.
“Before February 2021, neither Decedent nor Plaintiff Janey Puzey had ever read or heard of any lawsuit alleging that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease,” the lawsuit states. “At no time when using paraquat himself or at any time during his lifetime was Decedent aware that exposure to paraquat could cause any latent injury, including any neurological injury or Parkinson’s disease, or that any precautions were necessary to prevent any latent injury that could be caused by exposure to paraquat.”
While genetics are often believed to be a major cause of Parkinson’s disease, growing research indicates genes are only 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.
The case brought by Puzey joins hundreds of similar Paraquat lawsuits being pursued in courts throughout the U.S., each raising similar allegations and claims.
Given common questions of fact and law presented in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the litigation has been centralized before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, where a series of early “bellwether” trials are expected to begin later this year, 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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