the Agent Orange Settlement was created as a result of a private class action lawsuit settlement. It involved neither VA nor any other executive branch agency of the Federal government. The Settlement Fund closed in 1997.
The Agent Orange Settlement Fund was created by the resolution of the Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation - a class action lawsuit brought by Vietnam Veterans and their families regarding injuries allegedly incurred as a result of the exposure of Vietnam Veterans to chemical herbicides used during the Vietnam war. The suit was brought against the major manufacturers of these herbicides. The class action case was settled out-of-court in 1984 for $180 million dollars, reportedly the largest settlement of its kind at that time.
The Payment Program operated over a period of 6 years, beginning, after appeals, in 1988 and concluding in 1994. During its operation, the Settlement Fund distributed a total of $197 million in cash payments to members of the class in the United States. Of the 105,000 claims received by the Payment Program, approximately 52,000 Vietnam Veterans or their survivors received cash payments which averaged about $3,800 each.
The other part of the Settlement Fund, the Class Assistance Program, was intended by the distribution plan to function as a foundation. Between 1989 and 1996 it distributed, through a series of Requests for Proposal, $74 million to 83 social services organizations throughout the United States. These agencies, which ranged from disability and Veterans service organizations to community-based not-for-profits, provided counseling, advocacy, medical and case-management services. During this period, these organizations assisted over 239,000 Vietnam Veterans and their families.
On September 27, 1997, the District Court ordered the Fund closed, its assets having been fully distributed.