Supreme Court Split in Agent Orange Case - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/09/03 - Washington, D.C.

Supreme Court Split in Agent Orange Case

A rare tie vote in the Supreme Court.

The justices deadlocked today on the question of whether it's too late for Vietnam veterans with cancer and other diseases to sue chemical firms over exposure to Agent Orange.

But the action allows veterans to continue lawsuits that claim they were wrongly shut out of a 1984 national settlement.

Companies that made Agent Orange believe their liability ended with the 1984 deal. Dow Chemical, Monsanto and other companies tried to reach veterans with newspaper and magazine ads.

But some veterans have argued that even though the Vietnam war ended decades ago, some war-related illnesses are just being discovered.

The justices were divided four-to-four over whether it's too late for sick vets to sue. A ninth justice didn't take part in the case.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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