Victor John Yannacone jr.
When Vietnam veterans charged dioxin contaminated Agent Orange had poisoned them and deformed their children, the chemical companies denied any responsibiliy; the government ordered studies. Victor Yannacone sued!
C-Span at the public release of Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans’ Movement.
Victor John Yannacone jr. is an advocate, trial lawyer, and litigator practicing today in the manner of a British barrister by serving of counsel to attorneys and law firms locally and throughout the United States in complex matters.
Yannacone coined the phrase and created the field of Environmental Law during the litigation over DDT during the 1960s and pioneered the development of environmental systems science. With his wife, Carol Annia Yannacone, he launched the Environment Movement and together they were co-founders of the Environmental Defense Fund.
In 1969 he established the Environmental Law Section of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), then wrote the two volume treatise, Environmental Rights & Remedies, in 1972. He was the chairman, organizer, and moderator of the first American Bar Association National Institute on Environmental Litigation in 1973, where he first presented the concept of an Environmental Audit.
He has been continuously involved in computer science since the days of the first transistors in 1955 and actively involved in the design, development, and management of relational databases since 1966. Yannacone has contributed to a number of inventions and been awarded patents in dynamic digital infrared medical imaging for early detection of breast cancer, communication systems for the safety of ships at sea, data mining and analytics.
In addition to providing the litigation platform for the Vietnam veterans to tell their story to the American people and the world, he and Carol Annia Yannacone, provided the outreach for the Vietnam combat veterans which the VA had denied to them.
During the Agent Orange litigation (1979–1984) he designed and developed the first successful real-time relational database for medical records which eventually established that exposure to dioxin-contaminated herbicides during the war in Southeast Asia was responsible for a complex constellation of diseases for which combat veterans are finally being compensated.
Yannacone has represented injured workers and victims of occupational disease for more than half a century and his unique ability to deal with the complex properties and long term effects of dangerous chemicals led to his involvement in the Agent Orange litigation, the largest product liability case in history. Yannacone originated the trust fund concept at the start of the case and it now is the basis for most class action settlements today.
Victor Yannacone was elected Patchogue Village Justice in 1994 and during eight years on the Bench he adjudicated more than 8,000 cases involving alleged violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and a variety of Village Ordinances, Building and Housing Codes through the end of his term in 2002.
He was a Councilor of the Entomological Society of America Foundation and a lecturer in the Institute of Environmental Education of the Geological Society of America conducting a number of seminars on “Public communications for scientists.”.
For six years, Yannacone served as vice chair of the Public Outreach Committee of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
Yannacone established the first municipal arts council in the United States, the Brookhaven Town Council on the Arts, and founded the Brookhaven Town Symphony Orchestra which was the first professional municipal symphony orchestra in the United States.
Yannacone was responsible for the effort to save and restore the Patchogue Theatre, an historic 1200 seat music hall and theater to its original grandeur.
He was a founder and is now Chairman emeritus of the Patchogue Village Center for the Performing Arts which manages the Patchogue Theatre as the most successful performing arts venue of its size in the Metropolitan New York area and the only financially solvent municipal performing arts venue in the United States to operate without financial support from taxpayers.