Is the Lawsuit Against Paraquat a Class Action?
With lawsuits piling up against manufacturers of paraquat-containing herbicides, alleging that the popular weed killer causes Parkinson’s disease, many are wondering about the specifics of these cases. Our Paraquat lawyers are often asked, “Is the lawsuit against paraquat a class action?”
The answer is no, the lawsuits against paraquat are not part of a class action, but rather are another type of mass tort lawsuit called multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Both class action lawsuits and MDLs are a type of “mass tort,” and each legal mechanism is designed to help move the legal process along more quickly. However, what makes an MDL lawsuit different from a class action lawsuit is that in an MDL, claims are consolidated (similar to a class action) but treated individually when it comes to a potential settlement.
What is a Class Action?
In a class action case, similar claims against a product are treated equally. That is, the specific injuries suffered by individuals in the “class” of claimants are often very similar. If there is a settlement or verdict favorable to the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs will split the compensation equally.
What is Multi-District Litigation?
In multi-district litigation, on the other hand, similar claims against a product (such as claims that Paraquat caused Parkinson’s disease) are treated individually, while still being “consolidated” in order to speed up the legal process. In an MDL, hundreds and even thousands of lawsuits remain separate, but plaintiffs are represented by a team of lead co-counsel attorneys (often referred to as the “Steering Committee”) representing their collective best interests.
When cases are consolidated in an MDL, a federal judge is put in charge of the lawsuits. That judge will then oversee the “discovery” process in which evidence is gathered, and schedule a number of “bellwether” trials, which will be the first cases tried before a jury. Bellwether trials are an opportunity to “test” the strength of the plaintiffs’ and defense’s evidence, and their outcome often influences potential settlements.
In an MDL, plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense counsel will often negotiate a “global” settlement covering hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits. Once a global settlement is negotiated, the plaintiffs’ must agree and the judge overseeing the MDL must sign off.
At that point, each plaintiff receives a portion of the settlement based on the unique facts and circumstances of their case. Plaintiffs with more severe injuries and stronger evidence typically receive larger settlement amounts than those with less severe injuries and/or lighter evidence.
To be clear, Paraquat lawsuits are not part of a class action, but are instead part of multi-district litigation (MDL).
Paraquat lawsuits alleging that paraquat-containing herbicides cause Parkinson’s disease have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel is overseeing the MDL.
Legal analysts anticipate that thousands of Paraquat lawsuits may ultimately be filed and join the Paraquat MDL, and the litigation may last for years.
However, Judge Rosenstengel has set an aggressive schedule, and the first Paraquat bellwether trial is set to begin in November 2022. Given the amount of evidence involved in claims that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease, the discovery process is expected to be lengthy and complicated.
“Can I File a Paraquat Lawsuit?”
Riddle & Brantley is actively investigating claims that exposure to paraquat caused Parkinson’s disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after exposure to paraquat-containing herbicide, you may have a claim for compensation and be eligible for a Paraquat lawsuit.
For a FREE consultation and assistance with potentially filing a Paraquat lawsuit, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the fast and easy form below.
The consultation is free, and you won’t pay any attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive compensation. Our firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for those injured due to others’ negligence, and we would love to help you if we can (see disclaimer below).
Those at possibly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease potentially due to Paraquat exposure include:
- Farm and agricultural workers
- Herbicide sprayers, including those using manual “pump” sprayers and those operating tractors equipped to spray paraquat
- Nearby property owners (especially those adjacent to farms), including those whose water supply may be contaminated with paraquat runoff
- Schoolchildren attending rural schools near farms using paraquat
Call 1-800-525-7111 and let an experienced Paraquat lawsuit attorney review your claim.
“It was nice to see Riddle & Brantley put me and my needs first.”
–R. Colley, Riddle & Brantley client
*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.