The Paraquat Products Liability Litigation MDL (Case No. 3:21-MD-3004) was formed on June 8, 2021, with Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel of the Southern District of Illinois presiding.
Paraquat, known by the brand name Gramoxone, is one of the most widely used herbicides on the market and one of the most dangerous. Numerous studies have linked exposure to paraquat to Parkinson’s disease.
Plaintiffs in the Paraquat MDL allege that defendants Chevron and Syngenta knew or should have known that the herbicide is a highly toxic substance that can cause severe neurological injuries and impairment associated with Parkinson’s disease. Instead of warning users, Chevron and Syngenta fraudulently concealed the dangers of the weedkiller.
Defendants Chevron and Syngenta filed motions to dismiss the case. On February 14, Judge Rosenstengel granted in part and denied in part the motions to dismiss.
“Defendants argued that many claims should be dismissed because they are time-barred by applicable statutes of repose in six states—Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, and North Carolina,” says Julia A. Merritt, Beasley Allen’s lead paraquat lawyer and a member of the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee on the Paraquat MDL.
The Court agreed with the plaintiffs and held that the defendants’ fraudulent concealment could toll the statutes of repose for Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, and Iowa. Further, in Iowa, Indiana, and North Carolina, statutes of repose do not apply to allegations involving exposure to an inherently dangerous substance that causes a latent disease.
The Court further held that the plaintiffs’ public nuisance claims were repetitive of their product liability causes of action and dismissed all public nuisance claims.
Plaintiff Assessment Questionnaire for Paraquat MDL
The industrial herbicide paraquat is one of the widely used weedkillers in the United States and one of the most dangerous. Exposure to this toxic chemical has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Those at greatest risk of paraquat exposure include farmers, agriculture workers, crop dusters, and anyone involved in the mixing, applying, or loading of the paraquat herbicide. People exposed to paraquat who developed Parkinson’s may qualify for a paraquat lawsuit.
Within 30 days of entering a complaint on the docket, plaintiffs or their representative must respond to and sign under oath the Plaintiff Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ). This 13-page questionnaire details a plaintiff’s exposure to paraquat and health history. It requires extensive information regarding farming history, information about training and licensure to apply restricted-use herbicides, and personal protective equipment (PPE) worn during each exposure to paraquat.
“Obtaining this comprehensive information from the client is a time-intensive process, which can be challenging due to the devastating nature of the client’s Parkinson’s disease,” Merritt says. “We suggest filling out the PAQ with your client before filing suit to learn more about the client’s exposure information and ensure a timely filing date after filing the complaint. Often, a client’s exposure to paraquat occurred several decades ago. Work with any exposure witnesses to help refresh your client’s recollection of each exposure. Each time a client was directly exposed to paraquat should be disclosed on the PAQ.”
If your client was exposed to paraquat and developed Parkinson’s disease, Merritt would be happy to answer any questions about the intricacies of the PAQ or the status of this litigation.
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