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For several years, Syngenta, the manufacturer of paraquat, an herbicide, has faced legal consequences due personal injury caused by this chemical, specifically Parkinson’s disease. Most recently, on March 25, 2021, Paul Rakoczy, a New Jersey resident, filed a lawsuit against Syngenta entities as well as Chevron USA Inc. for damages created by his Parkinson’s diagnoses, which Mr. Rakoczy attributes to his exposure to the chemical.
The lawsuit, Rakoczy v. Syngenta Crop Protection LLC, Syngenta AG, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Docket No. 4:21-cv-02083, was filed in the Northern District of California. Plaintiff alleges four years of exposure to paraquat from 2013 to 2017. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. Plaintiff alleges that he was never informed of paraquat’s association to Parkinson’s Disease. That association is demonstrated, among other studies, through animal models of Parkinson’s Disease, which have found that paraquat exposure illustrates pathophysiology consistent with that seen in human Parkinson’s.
Mr. Rakoczy’s Complaint seeks relief for personal injury, alleging strict product liability under the theories of “design defect” and “failure to warn” as well as negligence and breach of implied warranty of merchantability. Chevron is included as a defendant due to its distribution and sale of paraquat.
This lawsuit follows several others filed across the county in recent years, seeking damages for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, allegedly caused by paraquat. Many claimants are farm workers, whose exposure is nearly daily for many years. While settlements in these types of cases are confidential, claimants with significant and consistent exposure will likely gain signfiicant reimbursement for the severe and lifelong disability created by Parkinson’s Disease.
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