Syngenta Sued for Alleged Cover-up of Parkinson’s Causing Chemical Paraquat

On Monday, Donald and Emma Davis filed a complaint in the Southern District of Illinois against Syngenta Crop Protection LLC, Syngenta AG, and Chevron U.S.A. Inc, for the manufacturing and sale of paraquat, a toxic herbicide, that allegedly caused Donald David to develop Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Since the early 1960s, paraquat was used to “ kill broadleaf weeds and grasses before the planting or emergence of more than 100 field, fruit, vegetable, and plantation crops, to control weeds in orchards, and to desiccate (dry) plants before harvest,” the complaint said. The plaintiff was a farm worker who was “repeatedly exposed to and inhaled, ingested, or absorbed paraquat” from approximately 1975 to 1985, of which he claimed that he was never aware of the adverse effects of paraquat on his health. The complaint alleged that “as a direct result of [his] exposure to paraquat,” he developed symptoms for Parkinson’s and was officially diagnosed last year.

The defendants allegedly “had knowledge of these studies and the relationship between paraquat exposure and PD but actively and fraudulently concealed this information from Plaintiff and others.” The plaintiffs claimed that Syngenta made statements that were “designed to mislead the agricultural community and the public at large” about the safety of paraquat. However, it is widely known that paraquat is “one of only a handful of toxins that scientists use to produce animal models of PD.” Furthermore, about 90% of PD cases are caused by non-inherited causes, such as environmental factors and ingested toxins.

The plaintiffs are suing on counts of strict product liability, negligence, breach of express warranties and implied warranty of merchantability, and loss of consortium for the plaintiff’s wife.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.

The plaintiffs are represented by Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.