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Dow Chemical Company v. Stephenson - Agent Orange Class Action Settlement

Close Date: 06/09/2003
Topic(s): Class Actions
Status: closed
Citation: 539 U.S. 111 (2003)
Date Of Involvement: 01/24/2003
Docket: 02-271

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In this case, respondents Stephenson and Isaacson, like hundreds of thousands of other class members purportedly bound by the judgment in the case, had not yet manifested an Agent Orange-related injury at the time the court approved the Agent Orange settlement. Public Citizen filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing the question whether a class-action judgment can release “future” claims of persons unaware of those claims, such that when or if they ever develop injuries, those class members have no opportunity to raise their claims or to contest the judgment. The Court divided 4-4, and therefore affirmed the lower court decision without issuing an opinion.