NYS Senate and Assembly Pass Bills to Extend Statute of Limitations for Victims of Agent Orange and Superfund Site Toxins

Two new bills have been passed by the New York State Senate and Assembly to address the lasting damages of chemical contamination. A serious problem with claims for toxin-related health issues is that the statute of limitations frequently expires before the cause of the injury is known. Because of this, many injured persons and their families are unable to receive proper compensation for their suffering.

Bill A09568 / S6824, amends CPLR 214 and "relates to the tolling of the statute of limitations relating to personal injury caused by contact with or exposure to any substance or combination of substances found within an area designated as a superfund site." A superfund site is a contaminated area identified by the EPA and placed on the National Priorities List. The reasons behind this bill are the long-undiscovered environmental and health dangers posed by water contamination in communities like Flint, Michigan, and the nearby Hoosick Falls, New York, both places having seen a rise in mysterious illnesses for years before the source of pollution was identified. The people of Hoosick Falls may have been ineligible to file personal injury claims for PFOA expsoure prior to A09568, but this legislation would give them the chance to file claims within three years of the area's designation as a superfund site.

Bill A08699 / S7087 relates to injury or death caused by U.S military service members' exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Agent Orange was a powerful herbicide used to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War. While the dangers of the Agent Orange are well known today, injuries from chemical exposure often take years to develop. A08699 would extend from June 2016 to June 2018 the "revival of time barred causes of action for an injury or death caused by contact with or exposure to phenoxy herbicides for those persons serving as members of the armed forces in Indo-China from February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975. This bill is designed to support the Vietnam veterans who have long been denied reparations for any type of physical disability caused by the army's use of dangerous chemicals.

Both of these bills were created to do right by individuals harmed or killed by chemical contamination, who may otherwise not have the ability to receive help due to the pre-imposed statute of limitations. For more information, the New York Assemble is reporting the progress of A09568 and A08699.

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