165892 Vietnamese lawsuit against the manufacturers of Agent Orange

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:50 PM

Constantine P. Kokkoris, Esq, Atty at Law , Moore and Goodman, LLP, New York, NY
Johnathan Moore, Atty at Law , Moore and Goodman, LLP, New York, NY
On June 18, 2007 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan heard oral arguments against Dow, Monsanto and 35 other companies that produced Agent Orange and related herbicides used during the Vietnam War. Sixteen appeals by American veterans have been heard in the morning. An appeal by the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin has been heard in the afternoon. The US veterans and Vietnamese citizens are seeking the reinstatement of lawsuits dismissed by Judge Jack Weinstein in federal court in Brooklyn in March 2005.

Judge Weinstein dismissed the lawsuits of the US veterans, which asserted claims of negligence and product liability under US domestic law, on the grounds that the sovereign immunity enjoyed by the US government extends to the chemical companies because they acted as government contractors. Lawyers for the US veterans argued that the chemical companies failed to produce what the government specified: herbicides that had a certain purity and were not harmful to people or animals.

Judge Weinstein dismissed the Vietnamese case, ruling that the use of herbicides during the Vietnam War did not violate international norms prohibiting the use of poison and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in warfare.

Learning Objectives:
Understand the Vietnamese Agent Orange law suit against manufacturers of Agent Orange. Understand the legal issues involved. Understand the current status of the lawsuit and its appeal. Understand what is meant by chemical warfare under the Geneva Accords.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.