I wonder if the US courts can get involved with this issue to force Dow Chemical and Monsanto to pay these ROK Army veterans exposed to agent orange in Vietnam?
SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s highest court on Friday upheld a ruling ordering two US Agent Orange makers to compensate 39 Vietnam War veterans, while sending another decision back to a lower court for review.
The Supreme Court recognised the correlation between the toxic defoliant and certain skin diseases, saying the 39 victims should receive a total of 466 million won ($415,000) from Dow Chemical and Monsanto.
The veterans had complained that Agent Orange was responsible for skin diseases such as “chemical acne”, which is caused by exposure to dioxin contained in Agent Orange, the court said.
Payment is now up to the US firms, but Dow Chemical said in a statement quoted by Yonhap news agency that it disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision, arguing that the verdict was not backed by clear evidence, citing US court rulings.
The South Korean court also sent back an appeals court verdict that the two firms should compensate thousands of other veterans who claimed to have similarly suffered from exposure to defoliants used during the Vietnam War.
More than 16,000 veterans filed separate lawsuits in 1999 against the US firms, seeking about five trillion won ($4.4 billion) in damages, but a district court ruled against them. [Fox News]
You can read more at the link, but I wonder if ROK veterans will next try to get them to pay for exposure to agent orange along the Korean DMZ as well? This is where the companies could take a huge financial hit considering how many soldiers served along the DMZ compared to the number that served in Vietnam.