By early 2021, plaintiffs had filed more than ninety federal lawsuits in sixteen different judicial districts alleging injuries associated with paraquat exposure. The lawsuits are filed against Syngenta Crop Protection LLC and Syngenta Corporation (Syngenta) and/or Chevron USA Inc. (Chevron). The plaintiffs in those cases claimed that exposure to paraquat caused them to develop Parkinson’s Disease.
|Litigation||Paraquat Products Liability Litigation|
|District||Southern District of Illinois|
|Assigned Judge||Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel|
On June 7, 2021, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized the existing federal paraquat cases against Syngenta and Chevron for all pretrial purposes. The JPML order transferred the cases to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, and assigned the MDL to Chief U.S. District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel, who was already presiding over the twenty paraquat cases pending in her district. Illinois ranks among the top 5 states in terms of paraquat usage, and the paraquat litigation has been ongoing in Illinois state courts for several years.
Judge Rosenstengel issued the first Case Management Order in the Paraquat MDL on June 10, 2021. That order laid out various procedures for the early stages of the MDL and scheduled an initial conference with the lawyers for both sides on June 23, 2021. At that conference, Judge Rosenstengel set the next two status conferences for July 23 and August 27, 2021, and set November 15, 2022 as the target date for the first MDL bellwether trial. In early July, the Judge appointed the leadership team for the plaintiffs’ counsel and has appointed a Special Master to help resolve discovery disputes. The Paraquat MDL is off to a brisk start, as the court seems determined to proceed quickly and efficiently.