Wednesday, April 30, 2014

25 Years Ago Today

...and the beat goes on...
In San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ordered the U.S. government to reconsider the Agent Orange health claims of more than 31,000 veterans because existing rules “sharply tipped the scales” against those exposed to the toxic defoliant.
He struck down the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regulations that denied Agent Orange service-related benefits for cancers and all other diseases except one non-fatal skin condition. In a ruling on a nationwide lawsuit brought on behalf of Agent Orange claimants, Henderson said the department was wrong to require direct proof that the dioxin-containing herbicide caused various diseases. The department, formerly known as the Veterans Administration, would give claimants the benefit of the doubt, Henderson said. Veterans’ advocates praised the decision. Mary Sout, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said the ruling validated what Vietnam veterans had been saying for years, that the VA had failed to give Agent Orange victims a fair hearing. She said she was optimistic that Congress would act quickly to resolve “this most painful legacy of the Vietnam War.”

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