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  • Jim Ferraro

Why File a Paraquat Lawsuit?

Farmers who use paraquat are far more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who never used it. A lawsuit is the best way to get financial compensation to pay for costly medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses due to past and future care. You may also receive compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as loss of quality of life. In addition, filing a lawsuit could start negotiations for a settlement.

What Is Paraquat Poisoning?

Paraquat is a toxic chemical. Commercial farmers use paraquat as a weed killer for crops like cotton, soybeans, peanuts, and corn that have become resistant to glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup, which is known to cause cancer). Ingestion poses the worst health risks. Most paraquat fatalities occur when the person drinks the herbicide from an unmarked container. Without additives, the active ingredients of paraquat have no smell or taste. Direct contact with the skin can cause chemical burns, swelling, blisters, or lesions. Direct inhalation or inhalation from wind drift can also cause health issues.

Does Paraquat Cause Parkinson's Disease?

Studies have shown a connection between exposure to paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with a lack of dopamine in the brain. Similar to how paraquat breaks down plant cells, when a person inhales, ingests, or contacts paraquat through the skin, the chemical enters the blood and breaks down the body’s cells. When it reaches the brain, it breaks down the cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. The brain requires dopamine to control the body’s movements. A lack of dopamine causes the tremors most commonly seen in Parkinson’s patients. Further, scientists have been using paraquat on laboratory rats to simulate Parkinson’s since the 1970s.

Hold Companies Accountable

Manufacturers have a duty to create products that do not cause severe health issues. If they do, they have the responsibility to warn their users of the risk. No manufacturer currently warns users of the link between paraquat and Parkinson’s. Agricultural workers risk exposure from inhalation of concentrate fumes and from spills or splashes.

The EPA acknowledges risks to bystanders within 150 feet of a field. Further, after farmers apply paraquat to a field of cotton, workers who enter to harvest are still at risk 11 to 27 days following application. Paraquat lasts on alfalfa fields for four days after application. Although these risks have been known for years, manufacturers fail to warn workers of the true risks of paraquat exposure. Filing a lawsuit is the best way to hold companies accountable.

Who Has Filed Paraquat Lawsuits?

Plaintiffs have filed more than 100 lawsuits against paraquat manufacturers Syngenta and Chevron. Most of these cases concern patients who received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s after working with paraquat. In June 2021, the courts consolidated 14 of these cases under the federal rules for multi-district litigation (MDL). MDL means that one court conducts pre-trial motions and discovery, but the cases later return to their home jurisdictions for trial. Unlike class-action lawsuits, each plaintiff maintains their own lawsuit. If you file a lawsuit, your case may join the ongoing MDL in the Southern District of Illinois. MDL helps in a large lawsuit because it brings the defendants together in one forum so that discovery and pre-trial proceedings can be consolidated and streamlined.

Spread Awareness

The public at large does not know the health risks of paraquat exposure. Despite the risks, Paraquat ranks 23 on the list of most used pesticides in the U.S., with two to six million pounds used in 2012. And although the EPA found “insufficient” evidence that paraquat use in commercial farming causes Parkinson’s disease in September 2020, it did find 71 “relevant, acceptable studies” on the connection. Despite the obstacles, a successful paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuit is possible.

Jim Ferraro and the attorneys at The Ferraro Law Firm understand how manufacturers try to get away with using dangerous chemicals to increase their bottom line, at the risk of others’ health. In one case, Jim won a $4 million verdict for his clients after their son John Castillo was born with no eyes. John’s mother simply walked by a field where workers were spraying herbicide when she was seven weeks pregnant. Jim took up their case against manufacturing giant DuPont and won where no law firm had ever won before. Jim gets results. You can read about his successes and the story of John Castillo in his book Blindsided. Then, call Jim and The Ferraro Law Firm to fight for your claim today.


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