The Superior Court of Delaware has sided with Syngenta Crop Protection AG against one of the corporation’s insurers, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. Zurich alleged that Syngenta had wrongfully concealed research fees and personal injury claims and therefore was ineligible for coverage.

Syngenta has been facing personal injury lawsuits alleging that its herbicide Paraquat is responsible for a number of adverse health effects, most notably Parkinson’s disease and kidney damage. A recent revelation of so-called “Paraquat Papers” has demonstrated that Syngenta has been aware of adverse health effects of Paraquat since 1950, with connections between the herbicide and Parkinson’s disease being established since at least 2001.

In its lawsuit against Syngenta, Zurich claimed that the herbicide manufacturer wrongfully concealed a $2 million research fee paid to Kirkland & Ellis to look into litigation risks, as well as the Paraquat-related personal injury claims while filing their insurance renewal application.

According to the judge who oversaw the case, Zurich’s policy was ambiguous and even if the information that the insurer alleged was wrongfully concealed was known, it still would not have relieved Zurich of its obligation to cover Syngenta’s Paraquat litigation.

Since 2021, Syngenta has asked the Delaware Superior Court to have more than 130 different insurers cover claims associated with Paraquat. What this meant for the plaintiffs is that they are far more likely to receive compensation for their claims. 

Generally, if litigation is not covered by an insurer, companies are more likely to simply declare bankruptcy under the weight of so many claims. Consequently, plaintiffs receive little to no compensation. However, when an insurer covers the claims, the company is far less likely to immediately declare bankruptcy and may be more likely to litigate the cases or reach a settlement with the plaintiffs.

If you have used Paraquat and have subsequently developed Parkinson’s, kidney damage, or other adverse health effects, you may be entitled to compensation. Fill out a free case review and explore your legal rights.