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Judge Approves Short-Form Complaint in Philadelphia Paraquat Mass Tort

paraquat herbicide

After months of disagreement over case management, the plaintiffs in Philadelphia’s mass tort over the herbicide Paraquat can finally proceed with litigation. On March 29, 2023, Judge Abbe Fletman of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas approved a short-form complaint for the litigation. Plaintiffs may now file their cases directly in the Paraquat mass tort program, and the litigation can move on to the discovery phase.

The defendants, Syngenta, Chevron, and FMC Corp., raised several objections to the plaintiffs’ proposal of short-form complaints, arguing that it violated Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure regarding the specificity and content of a pleading. Judge Fletman overruled three of the defendants’ five objections and directed the plaintiffs to amend their proposed short-form complaint to use “injured person” rather than “injured party.” She also instructed them to identify specific paragraphs for each plaintiff from the master long-form complaint. The ruling noted that, under Pennsylvania’s pleading standards, plaintiffs must state their facts in a complaint but do not have to prove their entire case.

Plaintiffs nationwide have filed lawsuits alleging that Paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease and other severe health conditions. Philadelphia’s Paraquat mass tort program has grown to over 260 cases since the litigation was coordinated in the Complex Litigation Center in May 2022. The plaintiffs’ counsel said it is to be determined how many cases will ultimately be filed in Philadelphia but expects many more due to the breadth of the harm caused by the hazardous product.

McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC fights for those harmed by Paraquat and other hazardous products. Call us at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Abington, Pennsylvania, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.