Q: I have cancer from serving in Vietnam. When is the Agent Orange lawsuit going to pay off? - H.M., Fayetteville
A: It isn't. But you may be eligible for help and benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Presumably, you're talking about two lawsuits that were filed by U.S.
veterans who'd been exposed to the herbicide in Vietnam but weren't
diagnosed with related health problems until after 1994, when money from
the original Agent Orange settlement ran out.
That settlement had totaled $180 million.
Despite that settlement, a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court
opened the way for veterans with late-manifesting health conditions to
file suit against Agent Orange's manufacturers. When filed, though, the
suits gained little legal traction and were rejected by the courts. In
2009, the Supreme Court rejected appeals in the matter without comment.
After that, Texas lawyer Gerson Smoger, who'd pursued the matter
since 1991, wrote that "despite literally years of work and knowing that
we are right, we do not know that there is anything more that we can
But veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange - or other herbicides -
during military service and their dependents and survivors may indeed
be eligible for help and benefits through the Department of Veterans
For information, check publichealth.va.gov/ exposures/agentorange/ index.asp.