This appeal challenges the District Court’s dismissal of an action brought by a purported class of Vietnamese nationals (“Plaintiffs”) on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated for injuries allegedly sustained by their exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides manufactured by defendants-appellees United States companies (collectively, “Defendants”) and deployed by the United States military during the Vietnam War. Plaintiffs brought this action seeking relief under the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, which grants the district courts jurisdiction over any civil action by an alien claiming damages for a tort committed in violation of international law or a treaty of the United States. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that the United States government violated international law by spraying toxic herbicides in areas of South Vietnam from 1962 to 1970 and that Defendants either aided and abetted the government’s violations by supplying it with Agent Orange or that they were directly liable in their corporate capacities. Plaintiffs also asserted claims grounded in domestic tort law. In connection with their alleged injuries, Plaintiffs sought money damages as well as injunctive relief in the form of environmental abatement, clean-up, and disgorgement of profits.
Wars do not end when the bombs stop falling and the fighting ceases. The devastation continues long after, in the land and in the minds and bodies of the affected population.