Paraquat dichloride, more commonly referred to as Paraquat or its brand name Gramoxone, is an industrial herbicide that is currently the focus of hundreds of potential Paraquat lawsuits filed against Syngenta, Growmark, and Chevron—the corporations that manufacture and sell the weed killer. These lawsuits are currently being compiled, organized, and consolidated for future multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings that will aim to hold manufacturers accountable for those they harmed.
Over 30 countries have completely banned Paraquat from use due to its toxic nature, but the herbicide is still legal for commercial use in the U.S. Any type of direct surface exposure can cause permanent damage. Exposure through the skin or lungs can cause irreversible organ and tissue damage and ingesting it can cause instant death. Studies conducted since 2009 and 2011 have also shown that people who are exposed to the herbicide are far more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who aren’t.
At Frost Law Firm PC, we understand that when a large number of cases are filed against a product or device manufacturer like this, individuals and their families are concerned about the details of the lawsuits that are being filed and have questions. For this reason, we have put together the following list of Paraquat lawsuit FAQs to answer many of the common questions asked about these cases:
How is Paraquat Used?
Paraquat is a powerful commercial herbicide that’s used in a couple of different ways:
- It’s applied directly to the leaves of plants to destroy unwanted grass and weed growth, especially in instances where the vegetation is tough and resistant to other, weaker herbicides (like Roundup).
- It’s sprayed on fields before crops are planted to destroy old crops or weeds that have grown between crop seasons. Since the chemicals in Paraquat become inactive when they come into contact with soil, the herbicide is often used for this purpose.
- It is also sometimes used to destroy entire unwanted crops, such as in cases where illegal marijuana crops are found in the U.S. and in Mexico.
The most common types of crops Paraquat is used on are wheat, corn, hay, soybeans, citrus fruits, peanuts, alfalfa, garlic, almonds, sweet potatoes, artichokes, strawberries, grapes, pears, cotton, and marijuana.
Paraquat is illegal for household use, but it’s important to note that living in or visiting locations that are near commercial farms or farmland where it’s used may allow someone to become exposed to the herbicide.
Is Paraquat the same as Roundup?
Monsanto’s Roundup is a weed killer used similarly to Paraquat, but it does not contain the chemical paraquat dichloride. Roundup contains glyphosate instead, which is a weaker chemical that kills weeds. Many farmers use both chemicals together because they find that some vegetation is naturally resistant to glyphosate or becomes resistant to glyphosate over time.
Roundup also contains chemicals that are known to cause Parkinson’s disease. For this reason, there are many similarities between Roundup lawsuits and Paraquat lawsuits, but they are separate MDLs because they are about two different products with two different manufacturers.
The type of lawsuit that is filed for a specific case will depend on the types of chemicals used and the type of exposure that occurred.
Why is Paraquat Legal in the United States?
Due to how dangerous the herbicide is, more than 30 countries worldwide have banned Paraquat from use. In the United States, Paraquat has been heavily utilized in the agricultural sector for nearly 50 years.
Research begun as early as the 1980s started showing scientists the links between Paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in 1997 that the chemical compounds in the herbicide were exposed to handlers during the mixing, loading, and application of Paraquat, as well as during the post-application process—making the chances of overall exposure comparably high. It was also discovered that individuals and families living near farms using Paraquat were at risk for exposure.
Since then, more studies and research have shown the dangers of Paraquat. Despite all this, the herbicide is still legal in the U.S. The main reason for this is simple. The manufacturers and sellers of Paraquat are large corporations and gain massive profits from selling the herbicide in the U.S.
During the year 2011, it was reported that $640 million was earned from Paraquat sales globally. Sales have actually risen in recent years due to the lawsuits surrounding Roundup, as well as an increase in weeds that are resistant to weaker herbicides. Many farmers are turning to Paraquat instead of Roundup.
Why Are Paraquat Lawsuits Being Filed?
Now that the dangers of Paraquat are being brought to public knowledge, hundreds of people around the U.S. are coming forward stating that they have suffered from a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or know someone who has due to the effects of Paraquat exposure. Nearly 300 legal actions are currently pending.
One of the few ways to fight back against corporations that are putting profit before the health and safety of others is to file a lawsuit against that corporation. By filing lawsuits against Syngenta, we hold the corporation accountable for the following:
- For not doing more testing on the long-term effects of Paraquat as well as the links between Paraquat exposure and Parkinson’s disease
- For not warning Paraquat users about the health consequences of use of the product
- For not marketing the product with these warnings in place
- For failing to protect Paraquat users by taking reasonable steps after the links between exposure to the herbicide and Parkinson’s were made public knowledge
By holding Syngenta and other marketers of Paraquat accountable for what they have failed to do, the company will be forced to make Paraquat safer for use, to properly warn users of its dangers, or, if necessary, ban the herbicide in the United States if it is deemed too unsafe. Those whose lives have been negatively impacted may also be rewarded monetary compensation that can aid recovery and help a suffering family move forward.
When taking legal action against a corporation like Syngenta, individual lawsuits are rarely successful due to the legal resources most major companies have access to, but by combining multiple legal actions into a single class action lawsuit or MDL, lawyers and law firms from different states can work together. This allows them to expose as much evidence as possible and ensure the individual cases can’t be ignored or dismissed.
In a class action lawsuit, each case is combined into a single lawsuit. In multidistrict litigation or MDL, multiple cases are consolidated into fewer cases that extend across different states and districts and are handled by multiple lawyers and firms. By grouping individual cases together, a stronger claim is presented. These types of cases additionally garner attention at a nationwide level and across media, allowing for more victims to come forward.
Am I Eligible to File a Lawsuit Against Syngenta?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, has experienced symptoms of Parkinson’s, or has experienced complications during pregnancy related to prenatal health defects and has been exposed to Paraquat, you may be eligible to take part in the current Paraquat lawsuits against Syngenta.
Some of the people eligible to file a lawsuit include those who:
- Worked with or around commercial pesticides and weed killers
- Worked on a farm that utilized commercial pesticides
- Lived near farmlands or frequently visited areas near farms where Paraquat or other similar chemicals were used
To determine if you’re eligible to take part in the MDL, you will need to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation. Most attorneys who are taking these cases will take them on a nationwide level. If you are in need of a lawyer with experience in class actions and other major cases against large corporations, Frost Law Firm, PC is prepared to handle your claim with the expertise and dedication your case deserves.
How Long Will Litigation Take?
Multidistrict litigation often takes at least two years to completely finalize. These cases are incredibly complex and involve multiple moving parts and court deadlines. Since the Paraquat MDL involves hundreds of plaintiffs (individuals who are filing a claim), there will be a set time frame in which every case must be sent in, as well as deadlines for every step thereafter.
If you are considering reaching out to find out if you can take part in the Paraquat MDL, now is the ideal time. As of October 2021, the first court dates that have been set to initiate hearings on cases brought forward are for November 2022.
What Type of Settlement Amount Could I Receive?
The amount of compensation that you may be able to receive from a Paraquat settlement will depend entirely on the case itself, the extent of the injuries and suffering that you have had to endure, and the result of the MDL. It’s impossible to determine an exact settlement amount this early in the MDL process. However, some legal experts are predicting that settlements may likely start in the range of $100,000 to $150,000.
If you have any additional questions about joining the Paraquat MDL or if you would like to find out if you or a loved one may be able to join the process of filing a claim, the attorneys at Frost Law Firm, PC are available to answer any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today.