Monsanto and its parent company, Dow Chemical, are two of 37 defendants in a class action lawsuit filed by the Vietnamese Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA) on behalf of three Vietnamese nationals. Judge Jack Weinstein is presiding over pre-trial proceedings this month in New York.
In 1984, Weinstein adjudicated the only other lawsuit brought against Agent Orange manufacturers, which pit American veterans against seven major chemical companies. The standoff concluded with a $180 million settlement paid out over 12 years, but none of the companies, which were required by the U.S. government to produce the chemical during the war, accepted liability for the damages.
In Vietnam, where an estimated 800,000 people are suffering from health problems related to Agent Orange, public awareness and action around the issue is on the rise. VAVA was established in January 2004, and launched its case in February. In July, government support for children disabled by Agent Orange increased from about $5 dollars a month to $20, thanks to an aggressive public awareness campaign. And, on September 10, the Vietnamese foreign ministry expressed support for VAVA.
Monsanto continues to deny Agent Orange's role in long term health problems, and recently issued a statement claiming that resolving issues related to the war is the responsibility of the U.S. and Vietnamese governments.
-- Martin Brown
Go there >> Agent Orange Victims Sue Monsanto
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