Sugar Cane Farmer Files Paraquat Lawsuit Over Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis
- Case joins more than 2,000 Paraquat lawsuits being pursued by individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's disease
- Farmer alleges he was never told about the potential link between Paraquat and Parkinson's
- The lawsuit will be consolidated in the federal Paraquat MDL, where lawyers are preparing a group of cases for the first trial dates beginning in July 2023
- LEARN MORE ABOUT PARAQUAT LAWSUIT
A sugar cane farmer from Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Chevron, alleging that years of exposure to Paraquat caused Parkinson’s disease to develop, and that the manufacturers of the weed killer failed to provide adequate warnings for users.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Ricky Poirier and his wife, Dena, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on November 15, indicating that fals statements about the link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease have been made for decades, as part of an effort to mislead farmers and others in the agricultural community about the safety of the herbicide
Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Risks
Paraquat was originally developed in the 1950s by Imperial Chemical Industries, PLC (ICI), which is a legacy company of Syngenta, and the weed killer was first marketed under the brand name Gramoxone in the 1960s. However, over the subsequent decades Syngenta sold Paraquat formulations under a variety of names, and promoted the weed killer without warning users about the long-term side effects they may face from exposure.
Although it has been widely used for decades, and is already heavily restricted in the United States due to the risk of Paraquat toxicity if even a small amount of the weed killer is ingested, there are now a growing number of Paraquat lawsuits being pursued by former users diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, indicating that studies have found exposure may be linked to a two- to five-fold increased risk among individuals regularly handling, mixing and spraying Paraquat, compared to populations that do not have such occupational exposure.
Poirier indicates in this new lawsuit that he was an agricultural worker and handyman from about 1970 through 1993. During that time, he was repeatedly exposed to, inhaled and ingested Paraquat when mixing, loading, applying and spraying it, as well as cleaning the equipment used for the herbicide. He was also exposed as a result of spray drift and contact with sprayed plants.
“During that time (approximately in the 1980s) Plaintiff was repeatedly exposed to Paraquat when he personally transported harvested sugar cane to the vicinity of Breaux Bridge and St. Martinville, Louisiana,” the lawsuit states. “No doctor or any other person ever told Plaintiff that the Plaintiff’s Parkinson’s disease was or could have been caused by exposure to Paraquat.”
Poirier’s lawsuit presents claims of design defect, failure to warn, negligence, and breach of warranty. His wife has filed claims of loss of consortium. They seek both compensatory and punitive damages.
December 2022 Paraquat Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit Update
There are currently more than 2,000 product liability cases filed against Syngenta and Chevron in the federal courts, each raising similar allegations that the companies failed to warn farmers and agricultural users about the link between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, which research has found may develop years after regularly spraying, mixing, transporting or handling the weed killer.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, the federal cases have been centralized as part of a Paraquat MDL (multi-district litigation), which is consolidated before U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel in the Southern District of Illinois, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
To help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be presented throughout the Paraquat litigation, the Court previously set an aggressive schedule that anticipated the first case would go before a jury by late 2022. However, as a growing number of complaints continued to be filed, the start of the first Paraquat trial has been reset to begin in July 2023.
Judge Rosenstengel previously had the parties complete case-specific discovery in a group of 16 Paraquat bellwether cases selected earlier this year, which were designed to be representative of issues and injuries that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
Following coordinated discovery and any “bellwether” trials that will help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimon, Judge Rosenstengel may begin remanding hundreds of individuals claims to U.S. District Courts nationwide for future trial dates if the parties do not make progress negotiating Paraquat settlement payouts for plaintiffs.
Are You Eligible for a Paraquat Settlement
Were you or a loved one diagnosed with Parkinson's disease following exposure to Paraquat? Lawyers provide free consultations and claim evaluations to help determine whether settlement benefits may be available.
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