A paraquat lawsuit aims to seek compensation for individuals suffering from various health risks associated with paraquat exposure. The first paraquat exposure lawsuit was filed in 2017 by farmers and other agricultural workers who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s after handling the toxic chemical in their workplace for many years.
Since then, it has been one of the top class action lawsuits in the United States, with more and more plaintiffs filing paraquat claims as we speak.
But even long before that, paraquat has been the subject of many studies that investigated its link to Parkinson’s disease and the mechanism by which it harms the brain. Most research on paraquat has suggested a positive association between the chemical and PD. And aside from the resulting lawsuits, the evidence has also resulted in advocacy groups pushing for a total ban on its use. Paraquat is a non-selective herbicide primarily used to control weeds and grasses.
And despite the wide array of health risks associated with it, paraquat is still presently used on more than 100 crops in the United States – and will still continue to be used in the next 15 years – as dictated by the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision on its reapproval.
What is a Paraquat injury?
A paraquat injury is any internal or external damage to the body that is caused by paraquat exposure. Examples of external injuries that tend to be immediately apparent include skin burns, swelling or bleeding in the mouth, rashes, and extreme redness or yellow stain in the skin.
On the other hand, internal damages caused by paraquat primarily include organ damages, such as damage to the lungs, kidney, liver, heart, and even the brain. Paraquat poisoning often occurs through the ingestion of the chemical and typically results in multi-organ failure and eventual death.
What is a Paraquat lawsuit?
A paraquat lawsuit is a legal claim filed against paraquat manufacturers by individuals who subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other health concerns after being exposed to paraquat.
Plaintiffs who have filed a paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit throughout the country allege that the weed killer has neurotoxic effects and have caused them to develop the neurodegenerative disease. Some plaintiffs also claim to have developed other medical conditions, including reproductive problems, kidney damage, impaired lung function, and dermatitis, to name a few.
What are Paraquat lawsuit qualifications?
The paraquat litigation may still be in its early stages, but it is getting bigger day by day. As such, it is important that people know the eligibility criteria for filing a toxic exposure claim. The paraquat lawsuit qualifications are listed below.
- Significant exposure to paraquat: Individuals who are at the highest risk of being exposed to paraquat are those who have occupational exposure to the chemical, including farmers and other agricultural workers, including herbicide applicators, tank fillers, and chemical mixers. Plaintiffs may also need to present proof of paraquat exposure, including proof of residing near an area that used paraquat, proof of working at a company that used the weed killer, or proof of purchasing the toxic chemical.
- A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease: The link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease has long been suggested in several studies over the years. There are legal options available for those who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s and can be able to trace their illness back to paraquat use.
- Residing near farms where paraquat is sprayed: Evidence exists that paraquat exposure within 1,600 feet of a home may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by up to 75%. As such, people who live around farming communities where paraquat is used may also be eligible to file a paraquat claim.
Are Paraquat lawyers still accepting clients?
Yes, paraquat lawyers throughout the country are still accepting clients as of writing. The paraquat pesticides lawsuit is ongoing and, in fact, getting bigger. The total number of cases in the litigation are steadily increasing as numerous pending cases also add up regularly, contributing to the rapid growth of the paraquat lawsuit.
What are the risks of joining a class action lawsuit?
The risks of joining a class action lawsuit include limited compensation, limited involvement, and slow progress. Luckily for you, the cases filed against paraquat manufacturers are not part of a class action, but have instead been consolidated into another type of mass tort lawsuit called multi-district litigation (MDL).
And although class actions and MDLs are both legal mechanisms designed to speed up the litigation process, the two have key differences. For instance, in an MDL just like with paraquat, a plaintiff has more freedom to pursue their individual case and address their specific needs. This is because in an MDL, every plaintiff maintains their own, individual lawsuit, while still being a part of the litigation.
This is not the case for a class action lawsuit, where a plaintiff has limited involvement in the case. In class action suits, the large group of affected individuals is represented only by one or more plaintiff/s called the class representative/s. They work directly with the group’s lawyers to protect the interests of the class.
However, this also means that they handle the major decisions of the case, together with the lawyers. Therefore, a member of a class action is just one voice among the many, and they may find it difficult to make any major contributions to the litigation.
Awards for MDL damages also tend to be larger than those of a class action lawsuit. This is because members of the class in a class action lawsuit share the settlement equally. The inequitable distribution of the award means some members may not be fully compensated for the losses they suffered.
Lastly, unlike class action cases, MDLs typically progress at a faster pace. This means that plaintiffs may get to claim their compensation and still use it to fund their medical bills and other expenses, unlike in class action lawsuits where cases often have numerous legal complexities, which can slow things down for the whole group.
What are Paraquat lawsuit settlement amounts?
The paraquat lawsuit 2022 settlement amounts may still be impossible to identify at this early phase of the litigation. This is mainly because even though paraquat has been the fastest-growing MDL over the last few months, there were no settlements made yet.
As of the moment, the only way to make speculations about potential payouts for victims is to take a look at other settlements in similar cases. For instance, in the Roundup litigation, which also involved another toxic herbicide product called Roundup, plaintiffs are getting settlement amounts of around $100,000 to $150,000.
It is important to note, however, that the worth of a paraquat claim may vary greatly and depend on different contributing factors, such as the severity of each plaintiff’s injuries, the final amount of the total settlement, and other legal factors.
Paraquat lawsuit update
The year started with the paraquat litigation having over 700 lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). And now that the end of the year is fast approaching, the number of claims has nearly doubled, with almost 2,000 pending cases.
In August 2022, MDL Judge Nancy Rosenstengel pushed back the first bellwether test trial in the paraquat lawsuits to July 2023. A bellwether trial is a test trial involving a representative sample of cases to be tried first. This was originally set in November 2022, but will not be held until nine months later due to the status of discovery in the MDL.
And although no paraquat lawsuit settlement has been reached as of the moment, as of September 2022, the litigation is still rapidly growing, with a range of 130-200 additional plaintiffs each month to the MDL. This dramatic rise in cases is also a major contributing factor to the rescheduling of the bellwether trial.