Recently, attorneys for Chevron USA and Syngenta moved to dismiss approximately 100 claims alleging deficiencies under State statutes of limitations and other laws of 36 states. As of October 15th, 2021, the multidistrict litigation (MDL) includes claims by 329 individuals alleging injury by the herbicide Paraquat. According to the September 13th Motion to Dismiss, Chevron USA alleges that they ceased distributing Paraquat over 35 years ago which makes many of the claims barred by either a State statute of limitations or statute of repose.
In six states, a personal injury claim begins to accuse on the date when an injury occurs or is discovered regardless of the Plaintiff’s knowledge of its cause. Those states include:
- Alabama – a two year statute of limitations for personal injury claims
- Maine – a six year statute of limitations which commences when the wrongful act produces an injury
- Mississippi – a three year statute of limitations for civil claims
- Nebraska – a four year statute of limitations for product liability claims
- New York – a three year statute of limitations that begins to run from the date of the discovery of the injury
Other states have statutes of repose that limit product liability for a certain number of years after the product was sold.
- Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Connecticut and Tennessee – requires a plaintiff to bring a strict product liability claim within 10 years from delivery to the customer
- Iowa – requires a plaintiff to bring a strict product liability claim within 15 years from delivery to the customer
- North Carolina – bars product liability claims brought more than 12 years after initial purchase
Plaintiff lawyers called the motions premature, but as of the last week of October, they have stipulated that 63 plaintiffs would dismiss Chevron USA as a defendant without prejudice. Future plaintiffs joining the paraquat MDL will likely be subjected to a more intense examination of when their injuries occurred in order to curtail additional dismissal orders.