Federal Judge Dismisses Agent Orange Case in NY

what kind of sick society ARE WE??? ( ' ? end duck note

The civil case was based on claims by Vietnamese nationals who said they were injured and their land left barren by the US use of Agent Orange and other herbicides from 1965 to 1971.

More than 30 companies were named in the lawsuit, among them Dow Chemical Co. and Monsanto Co.

"There is no basis for any of the claims of plaintiffs under the domestic law of any nation or state or under any form of international law," US District Court Judge Jack Weinstein wrote in a 233-page ruling. "The case is dismissed."

The suit said that up to 4 million Vietnamese people suffered from dioxin poisoning due to Agent Orange, a defoliant dumped by US warplanes on Vietnamese jungles to destroy sources of food and cover.

Among the chemical by-products of Agent Orange is dioxin, a compound that can cause cancer, deformities and organ dysfunction.

Evidence of injuries in the case was presented in "brief anecdotal form," the judge wrote. "The fact that diseases were experienced by some people after spraying does not suffice to prove ... that the harm resulted to individuals because of the spraying."

"No study or technique presented to the court has demonstrated how it is now possible to connect the herbicides supplied by any defendant to exposure by any plaintiff to dioxin from that defendant's herbicide," he wrote.

The case had been closely watched as a test of the reach of US courts as it considered the power of the US president to authorize use of hazardous materials during war.

The chemical companies argued they produced Agent Orange according to US government specifications and that there has never been a proven connection between Agent Orange and the health problems it is accused of causing.

Other companies named in the lawsuit include Hercules Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp., Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp., Maxus Energy Corp., Uniroyal Inc. and Wyeth.

Friday, March 11, 2005 - 12:58 AM

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