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Agent Orange: Gone But Not Forgotten

Here is a month-old news story that completely passed me by: Three Feb. 22 decisions from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected claims for damages brought by U.S. veterans and Vietnamese nationals against manufacturers of the defoliant Agent Orange, used by the U.S. military in Vietnam. But the story was back in the news this week, as the lawyer who represented the Vietnamese plaintiffs, Jonathan C. Moore of New York, traveled to Vietnam to meet with Agent Orange victims and discuss the case.

Robert Loblaw at Decision of the Day provided summaries of and links to the three 2nd Circuit opinions, describing them as representing "a banner day for the defense." Opinio Juris and Mass Tort Litigation Blog also commented on the cases. Following the rulings, lawyer Moore called the outcome unjust and immoral, and he told Associated Press that he would appeal to the Supreme Court. Touring Vietnam this week, Moore told reporters that the decisions ignored the facts. "They thought we were complaining just about herbicide and not about herbicides that contain poison," he said. He reiterated that he has asked the circuit to rehear the matter and, failing that, he will appeal to the Supreme Court.

It was back in 1961 that President Kennedy authorized the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Nearly half a century later, lawyers and the courts continue to wrangle over the repercussions of that decision.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 20, 2008 at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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