Our lawyers are handling claims for victims seeking to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit for injuries and deaths from water contamination at this Marine Corps base for victims in all 50 states.
This page gives the most recent updates - real information you can use whether you hire our Camp Lejeune lawyers or not - on this new law that allows tainted water victims to participate in a civil lawsuit that seeks fair settlement compensation for the harm that has been done.
Our lawyers also speculate about potential settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune lawsuits. These cases are ultimately about money compensation for victims. So we predict the range of settlement payouts you can expect for your claim.New Law Allows Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
If you have brought a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim in the past, the legal environment has changed dramatically. Congress has passed a new law - the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 - that provides eligibility for victims to seek a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement.
In the past, every Camp Lejeune lawsuit was stopped by the statute of limitations that barred a Camp Lejeune lawsuit or injuries or wrongful death. Victims were left with just a disability claim that did not provide adequate compensation. This new law will change that, allowing victims to bring a civil lawsuit separate from their disability claim.
So people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 to 1987 and suffered water toxicity-related diseases such as cancer and other illnesses may be eligible for a settlement compensation payout from the government.Get Help from a Camp Lejeune Lawyer
The vehicle to get settlement compensation in these cases is a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Our Camp Lejeune lawyers can assist you with your claim for your injuries or sickness or the wrongful death of a loved one. Many law firms are charging attorneys' fees of 40%. Our Camp Lejeune attorneys are not.
If you have a potential Camp Lejeune lawsuit, call our lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates
Let's start by giving you the latest updates on the Camp Lejeune litigation, including the passing of the SFC Heath Robinson PACT Act which encompasses the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
October 1, 2022
In the first month after the CLJA was enacted, the JAG Tort Claims Unit received over 5,000 Camp Lejeune claims. Once these administrative claims are filed, JAG has a 6-month deadline to accept (or otherwise resolve the claim) or the claimant will be able to proceed with filing a lawsuit in civil court.
There has been speculation among Camp Lejeune lawyers about whether JAG will make an effort to settle some of these claims or simply allow the 6-month period to expire. So far there has been no definitive indication either way. But there are rumors that Tort Claims Unit in Norfolk only has 10 lawyers assigned to handle these claims.
September 29, 2022
Since the CLJA was signed into law last month, 77 plaintiffs have refiled Camp Lejeune “legacy cases” that were previously dismissed back in 2016 based on the North Carolina repose statute. This gives us a lens - albeit imperfect - to the most common Camp Lejeune lawsuits we will see.
Over a dozen different types of disease and health conditions are alleged as injuries related to the contaminated water at Lejeune. The most common diseases alleged by these 77 plaintiffs are:
- breast cancer (12)
- lymphoma (11)
- kidney cancer (8)
- prostate cancer (7)
Just over 50% of the plaintiffs are veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and around 45% percent are family members of veterans who lived on base. The remaining 5% are civilian employees.
September 28, 2022
As the Camp Lejeune lawsuits swing into gear, you are seeing the typical - and sometimes depressing, as in the example we are about to give - pretrial maneuvering these lawsuits require.
Yesterday, two plaintiffs filed a Petition for Depositions to Perpetuate Testimony in the Camp Lejeune litigation on behalf of two Marine Corps veterans who are dying from diseases caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The Petition in Bishop, et al. v. United States (7:22-cv-170) seeks to have depositions of the two veterans taken immediately to preserve their testimony for anticipated wrongful death claims their family will bring if they pass. Petitioner Michael Benz developed Parkinson’s from the Camp Lejeune water. Sadly, he is currently in hospice care. Petitioner Steve Bishop has inoperable liver cancer. (We have changed the first names of these brave Marines to respect their privacy.)
September 28, 2022
Since the CLJA was passed on August 10, 2022, nearly 80 plaintiffs has brought a Camp Lejeune lawsuit in federal court in North Carolina on behalf of over 100 plaintiffs. These cases are referred to as “legacy cases.” They have this moniker because they were initially filed and dismissed years ago. Now, these water contamination lawsuits are revived by the new law. Because the plaintiffs in these cases already submitted administrative claims before filing a lawsuit the first time, they were eligible to re-file immediately without submitting a new claim.
September 26, 2022
Our lawyers are getting a lot of questions about the deadline to seek a compensation payout for Camp Lejeune water contamination. The CLJA creates a limited 2-year window to bring civil lawsuits against the government for injuries related to Camp Lejeune toxic water. All CLJA cases must be initiated by filing an administrative claim with the Navy JAG within two years of the enactment of the new law. Unfairly, the law was modified so that you cannot bring a claim if your injury is discovered after that date.
September 20, 2022
A federal judge ended an effort 15 Camp Lejeune law firms made to create a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina. But our lawyers think this is a good development that will bring victims a larger and faster Camp Lejeune settlement offer.
Class action lawsuits can be a great tool. But they are clunky and they slow down the pace of litigation. Our Camp Lejeune attorneys agree that a class action is not appropriate in these cases. Victims do not want to wait years for their water contamination settlement. They want to move forward now. Treating these as individual lawsuits is the best path to a settlement or jury payout.
September 19, 2022
How many Camp Lejeune lawsuits can we expect? There are predictions as high as a half-a-million from some Camp Lejeune lawyers. Our law firm does not think that is a realistic number. But over 100,000 but less than 200,000 is our current estimate.
So far, 5,000 claims have been filed by Camp Lejeune water contamination victims in the first month since the new law passed. How much money is available to pay fair settlement compensation. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that compensation payments to Camp Lejeune victims under the CLJA would cost the federal government at least $7 billion. This hopefully suggests that the government is committed to awarding full settlement compensation to all Camp Lejeune victims, no matter how many valid Lejeune suits are filed. If it is not, the government will be on the wrong end of jury trials where the payouts will be a lot higher.
September 15, 2022
A spokeswoman for the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit in Norfolk, Virginia revealed in an email to Reuters that over 5,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims have already been filed with JAG under the CLJA. 2,900 admin claims were filed with JAG on the first day after the CLJA was passed. Filing administrative claims with JAG is a mandatory first step for all Camp Lejeune victims seeking compensation under the new federal law.
Our Camp Lejeune attorneys are tracking information on the number of toxic water clams closely because we believe it will impact settlement compensation amounts for all victims. We anticipate that the number of CLJA cases filed over the next 2 years could be over 100,000. But we do not believe there will be 500,000 Camp Lejeune lawsuits as many lawyers have suggested.
- Camp Lejeune Legislative Updates
- Contaminated Water Supply at Camp Lejeune Base
- What Chemicals Were Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
- Studies Link Contaminants in Camp Lejeune Water to Cancer
- Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Caused Other Injuries
- Study Links Camp Lejeune Water Contamination to Birth Defects
- New Law May Allow Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
- Calculating Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts
- FAQs: Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit
One question our lawyers have been getting a lot is whether you can still bring a Camp Lejeune lawsuit if you were previously awarded VA benefits for your injuries. The answer is yes.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act creates new claims that are separate from your disability claim. So veterans who were previously awarded VA benefits for a health condition related to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are still eligible to bring civil lawsuits for those injuries and get additional compensation for pain and suffering.
September 7, 2022
Some surviving family members are surprised you can bring a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit for a claim that is so old. But you can.
The CLJA allows wrongful death or survival claims to be brought on behalf of former residents or employees of Camp Lejeune who have already passed away as a result of disease they developed from the contaminated water. Wrongful death claims under the CLJA must be brought by the personal representative (“PR”) of the decedent’s estate. If the person died a long time ago, the estate may need to be reopened and a new PR may need to be appointed. But this is pretty easy to do.
September 5, 2022
This Labor Day weekend it has been almost four weeks since the CLJA was passed. Lejeune water contamination administrative claims are already getting filed with the Navy JAG office. These administrative claims are a prerequisite to filing a civil lawsuit. Our Camp Lejeune lawyers are very eager to find out how the Navy and DOJ will handle the process. Attorneys are guessing how this process will work but no one knows for sure what to expect, particularly in early settlements.
Our lawyers believe that the Navy will use the administrative process to identify strong, valid claims and then make an aggressive attempt to settle those claims for fair value. This makes sense simply because allowing all of the CLJA claims to proceed to litigation would likely overwhelm the limited DOJ resources and the whole reason the CLJA was passed was to give compensation to deserving veterans.
August 25, 2022
The new law allowing victims to file toxic water lawsuits from Camp Lejeune imposes a 2-year deadline for Camp Lejeune victims (or their surviving relatives in wrongful death cases) to bring civil compensation claims.
Victims and their families can get a head start on their Camp Lejuene water contamination suit by obtaining copies of official documents that will prove that they lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. Former Marines stationed at Lejeune should request their official military service records. This is called a DD214, which is something you know well if you served.
Civilians who worked on base can request copies of their Social Security Work History. Collecting these records will help your Camp Lejeune lawyer get your case moving faster. As we discuss below, our attorneys believe settlement amounts could be offered before suit is filed.
August 24, 2022
Are New River Marine Corps Air Station contaminated water lawsuits included under the new law? The New River Air Station is located directly adjacent to Camp Lejeune and its residents/employees were exposed to the same contaminated water.
The CLJA only mentions “Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.” So the question is if the eligibility clause of the statute covers New River MCAS.
Our Camp Lejeune lawyers are confident that New River is a part of this statute and the Navy Department and the Department of Justice will make settlement payouts on these claims just as they would any other Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
August 22, 2022
Many people - including other Camp Lejeune lawyers - seem confused about what is required to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. The key is to read the statute.
The CLJA requires plaintiffs to submit an administrative claim to the Navy Department before filing their case in court. These administrative claims will set forth certain key facts including (a) dates of residence or employment at Camp Lejeune, (b) details about use/exposure to the toxic water during that time, (c) date of diagnosis with disease or health condition, (d) medical treatment and outcome, and (e) impact on the claimant’s life including economic and mental. In addition to these facts, the administrative claim will also include a financial compensation demand.
August 20, 2022
Plaintiffs who file a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit under the new CLJA will need to gather medical records to support their case. Medical records will be critical to proving that a specific injury was diagnosed and that it was connected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The VA keeps medical treatment records going back to the 1960s. Medical records from private, non-VA, healthcare providers may be more difficult to obtain. Our Camp Lejeune lawyers can help obtain medical records for you.
August 19, 2022
Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits will be subject to a lowered burden of proof that will make it easier to prove that their injury was related to the toxic water at Lejeune.
The CLJA requires plaintiffs to present evidence showing that the relationship between the water at Camp Lejeune and their alleged harm is “at least as likely as not.” This means that even if the scientific evidence is divided as to whether a health condition is linked to the toxic water at Lejeune, the plaintiff will be able to meet the burden of proof.
In a normal civil case, a split in scientific opinion would mean that the plaintiff cannot prove causation. This is a big deal because it will significantly expand the number of diseases that plaintiffs can get compensation for in CLJA cases.
August 10, 2022
President Biden signed the PACT Act today. So it is all systems go. The "date of enactment” of the CLJA will be August 10, 2022. This is significant because the CLJA gives Camp Lejeune victims a deadline of two years from the enactment date to file their civil lawsuit. This means that all Lejeune victims will have until August 10, 2024, to bring their claim under the CLJA.
Whenever Congress is considering new legislation that involves government spending, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) examines the bill and provides a formal estimate of how much the law will cost over the next 10 years. The CBO Cost Estimate for the PACT Act estimates a total 10-year expenditure of $667 billion. Camp Lejeune settlement payouts are estimated at $6.7 billion. This is only 1% of the total cost of the bill.
There is no question that $6.7 billion for Camp Lejeune settlement compensation payouts is a great deal of money for victims. But it is a rounding error in the big picture of this legislation.
- More Camp Lejeune Legislation News: We give the entire history of the path to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
Camp Lejeune represents the worst contamination of a public water system in American history. From 1953 to 1987 the water supply at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was contaminated with dangerously high levels of carcinogenic chemicals. Marines, their families, and people who worked at Camp Lejeune drank and bathed in water contaminated with more than 70 chemicals and toxins at levels 240 to 3400 times permitted by safety standards.
The main chemicals that will be the focus of a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit are three volatile organic compounds: trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene. Our military and their families were unknowingly digesting water contaminated with awful toxins every day.
This toxic water did not create just a theoretical risk of harm. Scientific and medical evidence has shown undeniably that exposure to this contaminated water while living or working at Camp Lejeune caused thousands to develop cancer, birth defects, and other conditions.
Sadly, the law in North Carolina had blocked these Camp Lejeune victims from bringing cancer lawsuits and other claims against the government. Now, however, the U.S. Senate is about to pass a new federal law that will enable victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune to file claims and get financial compensation.
Our national mass tort lawyers are now accepting new Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits from victims who lived or worked at the base between 1953 and 1987 and were subsequently diagnosed with leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver, cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and anemia or other myelodysplastic syndromes.Contaminated Water Supply at Camp Lejeune Base
Camp Lejeune is a sprawling Marine Corps military base and operational training facility that has been in use since 1942. The base, which is serviced by several satellite facilities, occupies a total area of 250 square miles in Onslow County, North Carolina.
Camp Lejeune is the traditional home base of many resident Marine Corps commands, including the II Marine Expeditionary Force. It has been used for military training operations by various branches of the armed forces.
In the 1980s, the Marine Corps tested the two primary water treatment facilities supplying water to Camp Lejeune. This testing revealed that Camp Lejeune’s water supply contained high levels of chemicals that are known to be toxic and linked to cancer.
The Marine Corps testing also determined that the water supply to Camp Lejeune had been contaminated with toxic chemicals since the 1950s. The full-time range of the Camp Lejeune water contamination (in both treatment facilities) is from 1953 to 1987. During those 30 years, 750,000 people were exposed to contaminated water.What Chemicals Were Found in the Water at Camp Lejeune?
The water supply at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s was contaminated with two specific chemicals: Perchloroethylene (PCE) and Trichloroethylene (TCE). These chemicals were found at extremely high levels in two separate water treatment plants servicing the base, the Hadnot Point treatment plant and the Tarawa Terrace water plant.
The TCE contamination occurred in the Hadnot Point water treatment facility. TCE is an odorless, colorless liquid chemical used for industrial purposes. For decades, TCE was commonly used by the U.S. military as a solvent and degreaser for the cleaning of large metal weapons and equipment. TCE is also used to make refrigerants.
The EPA’s maximum safe level of TCE in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The water from the Hadnot Point plant was found to contain TCE levels as high as 1,400 ppb. The TCE contamination at the Hadnot Point plant occurred from 1953 to 1985.
The PCE contamination was found in the Tarawa Terrance water treatment plant at Camp Lejeune. PCE is a clear liquid with a mild odor that is primarily used as a fabric solvent in the commercial dry-cleaning industry. The contamination at the Tarawa plant was traced to the ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a nearby dry-cleaning business.
For drinking water, the EPA has set the maximum safe level for PCE at 5 ppb. The water from the Tarawa treatment plant going to Camp Lejeune was found to contain PCE levels as high as 215 ppb, 43 times the maximum safe limit. It was eventually determined that the PCE contamination at the Tarawa plant existed for most of Camp Lejeune's history.
But shutting down the wells did not change anything for the million people that had been exposed to this unbelievably contaminated water. The government did a study in 2013 on the water at Camp Lejeune. It found PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene levels that were among the highest ever recorded in drinking water in American history.Studies Link Contaminants in Camp Lejeune Water to Cancer
The chemicals that were in the Camp Lejeune water supply for 4 decades are well-known to be extremely harmful to the human body and have been associated with cert types of cancer, neurologic disorders, and birth defects. Medical studies and research has established that prolonged exposure to TCE and PCE is associated with higher rates of certain cancers. The cancers that have been linked to TCE and PCE exposure in drinking water at Camp Lejeune include:
Since the discovery of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, many scientific studies have assessed the health impact that water contamination had on Camp Lejeune residents and employees. All these studies reach the same conclusion: exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune significantly increased the risk of mortality from cancers and other chronic diseases.
One of the first major Camp Lejeune water studies lead by CDC scientist Frank Bove and published in 2014 in the journal Environmental Health. The Bove Stud, a retrospective cohort study, looked at the mortality data for military personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985. This data set was compared to the same mortality data for personnel stationed at another military base where the water was not contaminated (Camp Pendleton, CA).
The Bove Study found that Marines who served at Camp Lejeune had substantially elevated risks for several causes of death including kidney cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, and cervical cancer. Camp Lejeune residents also had higher rates of multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the CDC, has been performing comprehensive studies on the health risks of water contamination at Camp Lejeune for several decades. Many of the ATSDR studies show clear evidence that water contamination caused higher rates of cancer and death.
What are the most common cancers diagnosed from Camp Lejeune? Breast cancer, bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, and renal cancer.Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Caused Other Injuries
Other health conditions, such as aplastic anemia (and other myelodysplastic syndromes) and neurologic disorders, have also been linked to exposure to PCE and TCE. Other injuries include:
- ALS (Lou Gerhig's Disease)
- Birth Defects and Injuries
- Brain Damage
- Cardiac Defect
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Immune disorders
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral Effects
- Parkinson's Disease
- Plastic anemia (and other bone marrow conditions)
- Renal Toxicity
To this day, Camp Lejeune is an important military base that defends our country. It is a huge and vibrant Marine Corps base that uses fuel, electrical transformers, machine shops, pesticides, fire training, dry cleaning, trash removal, utility maintenance services, construction, mechanical support maintenance services, chemical treatment operations... the list goes on and on.
Over 20 years, the failure to properly maintain a safe water supply at Camp Lejeune resulted in water contaminated with high levels of TCE, PCE, and other chemicals. Thousands of pregnant women lived and worked on the base and drank the water. The result will be a large number of Camp Lejeune birth defect lawsuits.
One key piece of research that will be relied on in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit will be studies by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). These scientific studies concluded that maternal exposure to contaminated water a Camp Lejeune resulted in a significantly higher rate of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
The ATSDR study looked at birth defect rates for women who resided at Camp Lejeune at some point during pregnancy and had children born between 1968 and 1985. The study a clear link between gestational exposure to PCE and TCE in the Camp Lejeune water and neural tube birth defects (“NTD”).
Children exposed to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water during the first trimester of pregnancy displayed NTD birth defect rates nearly 5 times higher than normal. Five times. That is a stunning and tragic number of babies enduring permanent and avoidable injuries.Military Ignored and Concealed the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
In recent years, a long trail of evidence has been uncovered that clearly shows that the U.S. Marine Corps knew about the Camp Lejeune water contamination for years but first ignored and then later actively concealed the issue.
The dangerous water contamination at Camp Lejeune was first discovered back in 1980 when new EPA regulations were enacted which required the military to perform testing for the first time.
The testing was done by the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency and in March 1981 that agency provided a report to the U.S. Marine Corps warning that “[w]ater is highly contaminated with other chlorinated hydrocarbons (solvents)!” No immediate action was taken in response.
In 1982, the USMC contracted Grainger Laboratories to perform extensive testing on the water supply system for Camp Lejeune. Grainger submitted a report confirming that certain water supply wells servicing the base were heavily contaminated with TCE and PCE. One of the Grainger scientists also met with the deputy director of base utilities at Camp Lejeune to warn him about the tainted water problem. But the USMC official refused to address the issue.
A month later, in August 1982, another Grainger chemist sent a letter to the Camp Lejeune base commander (Marine Maj. General D.J. Fulham) advising that the water supply wells were “poisoned.” Once again, no action was taken by the Marine Corps. Grainger provided additional warnings about the water contamination to Marine Corps officials in December 1982, March 1983, and September 1983.
In April 1983, however, USMC officials at Camp Lejeune submitted a report to the EPA falsely stating that there were no environmental contamination issues at the base. In June 1983, North Carolina’s water supply administration asked the USMC to provide Grainger’s water testing reports for Camp Lejeune. The Marine Corps flatly refused to disclose the testing reports and in December 1983 they reduced the level of water testing being done by Grainger at the base.
In July 1984, a new laboratory was contracted to test the water at Lejeune as part of the EPA superfund program. This testing found that Camp Lejeune water was contaminated with dangerously high levels of TCE, PCE, and also with benzene. At this point, the USMC finally agreed to begin shutting down the contaminated water wells. In December 1984, the USMC formally notified North Carolina officials about the contamination but withheld key details such as the discovery of benzene in addition to TCE and PCE.
In 1992, the USMC submitted a report for a federal health review which admitted to the prior TCE and PCE contamination in the water. In that same report, however, the USMC failed to disclose that the water was also contaminated with benzene even though Marine Corps officials were fully aware of it.
In 2005, the EPA and the Department of Justice launched a formal investigation into the USMC’s handling of the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue. This investigation ultimately concluded that no USMC officials had engaged in criminal conduct concerning the Camp Lejeune water problem. In 2007, however, it was revealed that EPA officials involved in the investigation wanted to charge several Lejeune officials with obstruction of justice. But they were overruled by the DOJ prosecutors.U.S. Veterans Affairs Supports Core of Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that only 30-day continuous exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the years between 1953 and 1987 may qualify veterans and their family members for health benefits if they suffer leukemia, bladder cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, miscarriage, neurobehavioral effects, and the autoimmune disease scleroderma.
Our Camp Lejeune lawyers believe this is just the start of the list of harms caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.New Law May Allow Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits
The ATSDR and Department of Defense have estimated that around 750,000 people were exposed to the contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base from the 1950s to the 1980s. Thousands of these people may have developed leukemia and other types of cancers and possibly died as a result of their exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. In many cases, the case cancer develops years or decades later.
The dismissal of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits created public outrage because it meant that thousands of innocent victims (including military veterans and their families) would be denied compensation for serious injuries. In response, a new federal law was proposed in Congress called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (“CLJA”).
The CLJA circumvents the North Carolina statute of repose and allows victims to file lawsuits in federal court if they were exposed (even in-utero) to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days.Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
If the CLJA is passed by Senate and becomes law, it will give potentially thousands of Camp Lejeune victims the right to file a civil lawsuit in federal court in North Carolina. As the bill is currently written, claimants would have to file their suits within two years after the CLJA is enacted.
Practically, the purpose of this bill is to make sure victims get fair Camp Lejeune water settlement amounts as compensation for the suffering they have endured from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. This applies to the water contamination victims themselves and those who lost loved ones and wish to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Claimants who file a lawsuit under the CLJA would need to prove that they were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and that they subsequently developed one of the cancer types or other health conditions that have been linked to the water contamination.
Successful claimants who can establish both of these requirements will be entitled to the full range of compensatory damages available in tort cases (past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.). Any amounts awarded to claimants will be offset by any VA benefit payments they received for the alleged injuries.Calculating Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts
There are way too many variables for our lawyers to come up with a very accurate estimate for the potential settlement value of Camp Lejeune water contamination cases. But we can make an educated guess by looking at the settlement amounts in prior cases involving similar injuries.
In the Camp Lejeune cases, the primary injuries will be leukemia, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and lymphoma. Based on these prior points of comparison, our lawyers think the Camp Lejeune lawsuit cancer cases could have settlement amounts between $175,000 and $350,000. Parkinson's disease settlements will likely be higher.
The tough thing here is how to bake in the politics involved in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. This is harder to read and harder to project because there are not many comparable class action lawsuits against the government in such a politically charged case. This door swings both ways in terms of impact on settlement amounts.
But, most likely, it pushes settlement compensation higher than lower because of the politics of being on the right side of veterans. Is it hard to spend $10 billion as compensation for injury and wrongful death claims brought by Marine veterans who were serving our country when we are spending $40 billion on Ukrainian Aid Package #7?
Moreover, the legislative intent of Congress is clearly to fairly compensate victims. Is that intent satisfied by paying soldiers and their families who suffered and often died of cancer, Parkinson's disease, and other similarly awful conditions a $200,000 settlement per person? Our lawyers do not think Congress intended to go through all of this trouble to serve victims half a cup of justice.Camp Lejeune Settlements Are Likely to Go Smoothly
The government will not go through the trouble to allow victims to make a claim only to fight them tooth and nail. So while there are no certainties in litigation, our lawyers expect there would be a global settlement payout covering most of these Camp Lejune water contamination lawsuits before there is a single trial.Calculating $6 Billion Set Projected Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts
The Congressional Budget Office - a flawed bureaucracy but still the best governmental agency at projecting cost in the history of the world - has projected $6 billion to settle these cases.
There are two schools of thought on this. One is that the CBO has made meaningful projections based on estimated Camp Lejeune lawsuits they expect to be filed. The other school of thought is that even the CBO cannot project this. It is like trying to project where the stock market will be in 10 years. So the $6 billion is likely a floor that can be raised if more claims come in than they hoped.There Will Be a Range of Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts
It is also important to understand there may be a range of settlements from over $1 million per person to as little as $25,000. Cancer and Parkinson's disease Camp Lejeune lawsuits are likely to fetch higher settlement amounts. Some other injuries might have smaller water contamination settlement compensation payouts.
At this point, many of you are reading this and feel like our lawyers have told you nothing about the settlement compensation payout you might receive for your case. It is too early to project settlement amounts. But attorneys have opinions on settlement amounts. If you want gun-to-the-head per person Camp Lejeune settlement amount projections, here they are:
This is the average per person Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts we project. There will be wild variation around these averages. So even if our estimates are accurate, there will likely be claims that have settlements that easily exceed $1 million for all of these types of cases. You can also expect settlement payouts that are less than half of this average.
Bladder Cancer - $182,500
Brain Cancer - $800,000
Breast Cancer - $250,000
Cervical Cancer - $202,500
Colon Cancer - $150,000
Kidney Cancer - $237,500
Liver Cancer - $370,000
Lung Cancer - $325,000 (non-smoker projection)
Lymphoma - $225,000
Parkinson’s Disease - $775,000
Esophageal Cancer - $300,000 (non-smoker projection)
Ovarian Cancer - $287,500
Leukemia - $250,000
Wrongful Death $625,000
Birth Defects (Major) $1,125,000
In 2009, some Marines, their family members, and employees at Camp Lejeune began filing lawsuits against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act alleging that they developed cancer and other health conditions from drinking contaminated water on the base. Every Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit was eventually consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2012.
Just over 850 lawsuits were eventually consolidated into the Camp Lejeune water contamination MDL. Unfortunately, all these cases were eventually dismissed based on the North Carolina 10-year statute of repose.
If the Senate passes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims who meet the qualifying criteria will be able to pursue their claims by filing a tort lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Under the newly enacted CLJA, anyone who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between 1953 and 1987 will be entitled to bring a tort suit in the Eastern District of North Carolina for injuries related to the contaminated water. As a prerequisite to filing a civil lawsuit, however, the CLJA requires all plaintiffs to go through a 6-month administrative claim process:
(h) Disposition By Federal Agency Required.- An individual may not bring an action under this section before complying with section 2675 of title 28, United States Code.
Before filing a bad water lawsuit, prospective plaintiffs must submit a claim to the “appropriate federal agency” before they can file an actual civil lawsuit against the government. In this case, that is the JAG at the Department of Navy. The new law gives the agency 6-months to either accept or deny the claim. Claimants cannot file their lawsuit in federal court until the administrative claim is denied or the 6-month deadline expires.
Our water contamination attorneys expect that the CLJA administrative claims could function more like a settlement mediation process. Claims will likely go through some type of initial screening process. After this, reasonable Camp Lejeune settlement amounts might be made before the six months expire and a water contamination lawsuit can be brought. A large number of Camp Lejeune claims may be settled during this administrative claim process before a civil lawsuit is filed.
Our Camp Lejeune lawyers believe that the CLJA administrative claim process may end up playing out this way for two reasons. First, the intent of Congress in passing the CLJA was to compensate victims of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Second, the handling of the CLJA claims process will be controlled by the Biden administration. President Biden is a strong supporter of the idea of compensating deserving veterans. (This could be wishful thinking, too.)
The ATSR and other studies on the effect of water contamination at Camp Lejeune have found that certain neurologic disorders such as multiple myeloma and Parkinson’s disease appear to be associated with exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
The water at Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with many toxins that can cause cancer and other conditions. Perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) are the two biggest problems. These chemicals are recognized as probable human carcinogens and exposure has been specifically linked to leukemia, renal cancer, and other cancers.
There is not a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit. Most lawsuits like this are class action lawsuits. But there will not be a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit like an MDL.How Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims Work
There are two kinds of Camp Lejeune lawsuits. The first is for victims who have a Camp Lejeune claim for their own injuries. The second is a wrongful death and survival action claim for the loss of a loved one.
Under the new CLJA, civil lawsuits can now be brought on behalf of former employees or residents of Camp Lejeune who are now deceased because of injuries related to the contaminated water. These cases would be brought under North Carolina law because that is where the exposure to the contaminated water occurred, so this section will take a brief look at death claims in North Carolina.
Two different types of tort claims can be brought in North Carolina on behalf of a decedent: (a) a wrongful death claim; and (b) a survivorship claim. Both claims are based on statutes.Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death claims are based on North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-2, which gives the personal representative of the estate standing to bring a claim against anyone who negligently or intentionally caused the decedent’s death. Some states permit any close family member to bring wrongful death claims. North Carolina only allows the decedent’s estate to bring these claims. The personal representative of the state brings the claim and then distributes any settlement proceeds among the heirs.
Damages for a wrongful death claim in North Carolina can be awarded for (1) medical expenses, (2) pain & mental suffering, (3) the decedent’s lost earnings, (4) loss of the decedent’s services and companionship, and (5) funeral expenses. Punitive damages are not available unless the plaintiff can show that the defendant acted with malice.Camp Lejeune Survival Actions
In addition to wrongful death, North Carolina also recognizes a separate claim under North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 28A-18-1 known as a survivorship claim. A survival claim is the decedent’s own personal injury claim that he or she had and which survives their death.
North Carolina survivorship claims can recover for pre-death damages and injuries if they are separate and distinct from the conduct giving rise to the wrongful death claim. North Carolina only allows survivor claims by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. You can get a Camp Lejeune settlement without being the PR of the estate. But the lawsuit must be initiated by the personal representative of the estate on behalf of the family members for the death.
Will victims have to open up an estate in North Carolina to bring a claim? Camp Lejeune lawyers have a split opinion on that issue and we are still working through it. What we want to avoid is giving the JAG a technical reason to reject an early settlement of your claim. Either way, this is an issue that your attorney can work through for you.
Our Camp Lejeune attorneys have talked to over 1,000 victims in this litigation. Our law firm is looking for new Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit cases that meet the following criteria:
- You served, lived, or worked on the Camp Lejeune base for at least 1 month between the years 1953 and 1987.
- You have been subsequently diagnosed with: bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, leukemia, colon cancer multiple myeloma, lymphoma, or other cancer or Parkinson's disease, some other neurologic condition, or another condition listed above.
Contact us today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or reach out to our Camp Lejeune lawyers online.