The litigation against the makers of the controversial herbicide, Paraquat has seen yet another delay as the Federal jury trial has been pushed back to October 16, 2023. The initial trial date was originally set for November of 2022 but a slew of setbacks and inconvenient circumstances has led the presiding judge to delay the highly anticipated trial.
Paraquat has been shown to cause Parkinson’s disease among those with recurring exposure to the herbicide such as agricultural workers. Thousands of those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease because of exposure to Paraquat have filed claims against its manufacturers because the herbicide lacked adequate warnings of Parkinson’s risk that came with its use.
The Rescheduling of the Paraquat Trial
The first federal jury trial in the Paraquat Parkinsons litigation was expected to take place on November 2022. This trial would have been an immense step forward in the litigation process and brought thousands of plaintiffs closer to receiving needed compensation to cover the damages they have suffered from Parkinson's disease due to Paraquat exposure.
Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel, the judge presiding over the Paraquat multidistrict litigation (MDL) issued a case management order on December 12 2022 that provided information rescheduling the first Paraquat jury trial to October 16, 2023, with a final pretrial conference held at 9:30 a.m. on October 3, 2023. The order includes reasoning for this rescheduling of the jury trial that points to “Hurricanes, illnesses, family emergencies.”.
Judge Rosenstengel states the following in the case management order.
“A little more than a year ago, the undersigned still intended to start a trial in November 2022; additional trial dates of March 13, 2023, June 12, 2023, and September 18, 2023, were set. (See CMO 12, Doc. 587). Various deadlines had to be tweaked along the way (see Docs. 1541, 1739), and by August 2022, it was clear a trial in November 2022 was not realistic. The November 2022, March 2023, and June 2023 dates were vacated.
And now, because of unexpected occurrences (a hurricane, COVID-19 infections, and other issues) and despite committed efforts by counsel, the depositions of Plaintiffs’ experts have been delayed, which, of course, has impacted the disclosure of Defendants’ expert reports. The parties have negotiated informal extensions with the Special Master, and the Court addressed the issues with counsel at the recent status conference.”
Paraquat Parkinson’s Litigation Deadline Resets
The case management order would go on to provide information regarding the various changes in deadlines that would be affecting the Paraquat Parkinson’s lawsuits.
- Defendants are expected to provide Plaintiffs with a list of all experts and dates for their experts’ depositions on or before December 23, 2022.
- Defendants are to complete depositions of the Plaintiffs’ experts on or before January 6, 2023.
- Defendant’s experts’ reports should be disclosed by January 20, 2023.
- Plaintiffs are to complete depositions of Defendants’ experts by February 24, 2023.
- Plaintiffs need to disclose rebuttal experts, if any, by March 3, 2023.
- Defendants shall complete depositions of Plaintiffs’ rebuttal experts by March 20, 2023.
Regarding Daubert Motions:
- Summary judgment and Daubert motions shall be filed on or before April 17, 2023.1
- Responses to summary judgment and Daubert motions shall be filed on or before May 17, 2023.
- Replies regarding summary judgment and Daubert motions shall be filed on or before May 31, 2023.
- A hearing on summary judgment and Daubert motions will begin on June 26, 2023, at 9 a.m., in the East St. Louis Courthouse.
20 Additional Paraquat Parkinsons Lawsuits Set to Begin Discovery Also Delayed
In addition to the 6 bellwether claims that have been delayed from going to trial November 2022 to October 2023, there were an additional 20 claims that Judge Rosenstengal requested that the parties conduct case-specific discovery in August 2022.
These additional claims would not be considered part of the bellwether claims that have been delayed but instead will be representative of Paraquat cases that will be remanded back to courts should the MDL be unsuccessful in reaching a settlement.
These additional claims are also experiencing some delays. The parties involved, conferred with the MDL’s Special Master Randi S. Ellis and requested that additional time be provided in order to complete the discovery of these additional 20 claims.
Ramifications of the Bellwether Trials and Discovery in Non-Bellwether Claims
The bellwether trials that are set to begin October 2023 serve as a sample of how a trial for a case representative of the thousands of other cases part of the Paraquat MDL are likely to unfold.
The Paraquat multidistrict litigation is a centralization of the thousands of Paraquat Parkinson's lawsuits from around the country under a single judge and court to maximize the efficiency of the process. The MDL was created in June 2021 and gives the many plaintiffs in these lawsuits the ability to coordinate discovery, pretrial proceedings, and otherwise pool resources while the courts are relieved of the burden of multiple similar cases with identical questions of fact and potential inconsistent rulings.
The Paraquat MDL also serves the function of organizing the aforementioned bellwether trials. These bellwether trials don’t only gauge how trials for most of the claims involved in the MDL would go. Depending on their level of success, the MDL may be more likely to reach a settlement with the defendants and avoid more costly and lengthy trials.
Technically, the bellwether trials and even the 20 other cases that have been ordered to conduct case-specific discovery have no direct control over the other plaintiff’s Paraquat claims but their success can influence settlement amounts defendants are likely to offer.
Consider Contacting an Experienced Product Liability Lawyer
Those suffering from Parkinson’s disease because of the failure of Paraquat manufacturers to properly label their herbicide with appropriate warnings should consider contacting a product liability lawyer. An experienced product liability lawyer can provide the essential skills and insight necessary for a successful claim.
Paraquat lawyers are a key component in the ongoing litigation against Paraquat manufacturers such as Chevron and Syngenta. With their assistance, you can file a claim that can help to cover a number of damages you have suffered ranging from medical bills to mental anguish.