Paraquat Settlement: What Can Injured People Expect? (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 4 mins

Paraquat is the generic name for an herbicide called Gramoxone. This chemical is especially good at killing plants that have developed a resistance to another powerful herbicide called Roundup. Unlike Roundup, the people who use Paraquat must undergo training.

As a result, fewer people have been exposed to toxic amounts of Paraquat than Roundup. However, exposure to this product can have devastating effects, including life-threatening lung and kidney conditions and degenerative neurological diseases.

These health effects have spawned thousands of lawsuits. Because of the severity of the conditions caused by this product, the victims who filed these lawsuits seek large damage awards or settlements to help them pay their medical bills and living expenses.

Paraquat Lawsuit Settlement Status

Thousands of victims have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of Paraquat, Chevron and Syngenta. These lawsuits allege personal injuries and wrongful deaths from exposure to the herbicide.

There are typically two ways to pursue claims for exposure to toxic chemicals. A class action lawsuit is filed by a class representative. People with common claims can join the class. The class action constitutes a single case that could have thousands of members. Since it is a single case, it only has one trial, and the resolution of the case will apply to all the class members who do not opt out.

The other way to pursue claims against a manufacturer is to file individual claims. This is what happened with the Paraquat lawsuits. There is no class action against Chevron and Syngenta. Instead, thousands of victims have each filed separate lawsuits.

The federal courts have grouped the Paraquat lawsuits using a process called multi-district litigation (MDL). By putting in a single district under a single judge, the plaintiffs can gather evidence and prepare motions efficiently.

The MDL cases remain separate, but the parties and the court select bellwether cases to send to trial first. These cases give everyone the temperature of the claims and the damage awards. The hope is that everyone becomes more attuned to the possible range of settlements.

The Paraquat MDL has not had a bellwether trial yet. On the contrary, four of the bellwether cases selected by the parties were dismissed by the court on the eve of trial. The issue was the reliability of the testimony offered by the plaintiffs’ expert witness. While thousands of cases remain, the dismissal of the bellwether cases will delay the settlement of the Paraquat cases.

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Possible Paraquat Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Without damage awards, there is no way to predict the settlement amounts victims of Paraquat might expect. However, you can use established legal principles and other mass tort settlements to guess what form a settlement could take.

In an MDL, the manufacturers can settle each case one by one. However, this approach takes time and often ends up costing more than settling all the cases at once. As a result, a settlement will likely take the form of a global settlement. Such a settlement happens when the manufacturers put money into a settlement fund for current and future claims.

The settlement agreement will create a process for disbursing money from the settlement fund. Typically, the claimants will not split the settlement fund equally. Instead, the agreement will likely create a tiered system that will distribute funds according to the claimant’s losses. Some factors that may be considered when categorizing claimants include the following:

Severity of Injury

The severity of the injury will be the most important factor used to determine the settlement tier. Terminal illnesses will qualify claimants for a higher tier than a survivable illness. Thus, those with Parkinson’s disease would get more than those with lung scarring.

Medical Expenses

Some medical conditions cost more than others. Victims with kidney failure might need an expensive transplant. Those with Parkinson’s might need a caretaker for the rest of their lives. Those with lung scarring might only need respiratory therapy.

Learn More About a Possible Paraquat Settlement From ConsumerShield

Paraquat has been tied to many medical conditions and health problems. But the gears of justice turn slowly. Meeting the evidentiary standards set by American courts will take time.

ConsumerShield is dedicated to educating people about their legal rights. We provide resources to help victims of Paraquat understand the status of ongoing litigations. We also connect claimants with a lawyer who can assess their claims and help them seek fair compensation from any settlement fund created by the manufacturers. Fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Paraquat is an herbicide. Landscapers, gardeners and groundskeepers use Paraquat on Roundup-resistant plants. Like Roundup, it contains chemicals that allegedly affect the people who apply it. Some possible long-term effects include Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure and lung damage. Thousands of people have filed lawsuits against the product’s manufacturers.

  • To file a Paraquat lawsuit, you must have been exposed to Paraquat and suffered an injury as a result of it. Paraquat can cause a range of health issues, including Parkinson’s disease. This progressive disease has no cure. A lawsuit may provide compensation for the extensive medical needs victims face.

  • Ideally, the companies will agree to a global settlement of all past and future claims. Claimants would get a share of it by proving how the product affected them. No one knows when a settlement might happen. But trials should start in late 2024, setting the stage for a settlement.

  • Only one set of Paraquat claims was settled by Syngenta. Although the settlement was confidential, Syngenta’s financial reports stated the company paid $187.5 million into a settlement fund. However, the company did not say how many claimants were in the cases it settled, so an average cannot be calculated.

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