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Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Settlement

Our lawyers handle claims for victims seeking to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit in all 50 states.

This page provides the most recent updates on the new Camp Lejeune litigation. Our lawyers also speculate about potential individual per-person settlement payouts for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. These cases are ultimately about compensation for victims, so our attorneys predict the range of settlement payouts you can expect for your contaminated water claim.

A Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is the vehicle to get settlement compensation in these cases. Our Camp Lejeune lawyers can assist you with your claim for your injuries or sickness or the wrongful death of a loved one.

Call our lawyers today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation if you have a potential Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates

Let’s start by giving you the latest news and updates on the Camp Lejeune litigation. Our lawyers are committed to bringing victims the latest information in this litigation.

June 13, 2024 – Agreement on Some Motions

During yesterday’s Status Conference, deals were made and the parties agreed to withdraw the filing motions that we have been talking about:
  1. Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group’s Motion to Compel Document Production in Response to First Set of Request for Production
  2. United States’ Cross-Motion for Protective Order
  3. Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reconsider Order Denying Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Production of Certain Digitized Muster Rolls
  4. Plaintiffs’ Motion to Reconsider Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Production of ATSDR Water Modeling Project File in Native Format

June 12, 2024 – When Will Lejeune Lawsuits Settle?

It is hard to say when these lawsuits will finally settle. But the history or mass tort litigation suggests that if a defendant is trying to avoid the news of a settlement leading to more filed claims, it is better to wait until after the statute of limitations has passed.  With the August 10 deadline looming, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the government makes a global or even semi-global settlement offer to resolve these claims before that datel

June 11, 2024 – Time to Roll on  Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Lawsuits

It is taking longer to open an estate than many lawyers expected. We now have a filing deadline in less than two months.  If you have a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim, this is the moment to pick up the phone and call a lawyer.  Our firm is not far from cutting off new wrongful death cases.

June 10, 2024 – Picking Cases For Trial

Today, the North Carolina judges approved a joint motion by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the government regarding the selection protocol for Track 1 Trial Plaintiffs in a case involving illnesses allegedly caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The court has ordered that plaintiffs alleging one or more of five specific illnesses—kidney cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, or Parkinson’s Disease—will be selected from the Track 1 Discovery Pool Plaintiffs. These plaintiffs who will be first in line for trial must waive their rights to claim any other illnesses or injuries caused by the water at Camp Lejeune.

Within five days of  today, the PLG must propose three plaintiffs for each illness to proceed to trial. Subsequently, the defendant will select two plaintiffs for each illness, and these selections will proceed once necessary waivers are obtained. The finalized list of plaintiffs will be designated as “Track 1 Trial Plaintiffs.”

Fact discovery, including general discovery for the Track 1 Trial Plaintiffs, must conclude 45 days after all necessary waivers are secured. The deadlines for expert discovery will be stayed until a trial order is issued, establishing the sequence of trials. Once this order is in place, the expert discovery period will begin, with each side disclosing their expert witnesses within specified timeframes.

All discovery and deadlines for plaintiffs not selected as Track 1 Trial Plaintiffs will be stayed upon the court’s entry of the Trial Order. This gives all the Camp Lejeune attorneys involved in these bellwether trials a chance to focus exclusively on the lawsuits that will be tried first.

June 8, 2024- Settlement Master

The govement asys it is “hopeful” that the appointment of a settlement master will help the lawyers make progress toward a settlement. There has been a lot of banter about bringing on a special master but the court does not seem to have much urgency in appointing a special master.

June 7, 2024 – Over 1,800 Lawsuits Now Pending

We are now at 1,813 toxic water lawsuits. The number of administrative claims continues to boom: 232,892 have been filed as of Tuesday.

June 6, 2024 – Settlement Check Process 

Because the government is the government, there are three entities processing Camp Lejeune claims: the Torts Branch, the DOJ, and the Navy. Here is the current status of Camp Lejeune settlements with these three entities as of Tuesday.

The Torts Branch has determined that seventy-two cases in litigation meet the Elective Option (“EO”) criteria through documentary verification. The breakdown of these cases by injury is as follows: nineteen cases of Bladder Cancer, twenty cases of Kidney Cancer, thirteen cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, six cases of Kidney Disease, four cases of Parkinson’s Disease, eight cases of Leukemia, and two cases of Multiple Myeloma.

Thirty-one settlement offers have been accepted by plaintiffs. These include offers for eleven cases of Bladder Cancer (five offers of $150,000; five offers of $300,000; one offer of $450,000), five cases of Kidney Disease (End Stage Renal Disease) (two offers of $100,000; three offers of $250,000), seven cases of Kidney Cancer (two offers of $150,000; five offers of $300,000), four cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (two offers of $150,000; two offers of $300,000), one case of Multiple Myeloma ($250,000), two cases of Parkinson’s Disease ($400,000; $100,000), and one case of Leukemia ($300,000).

Nine settlement offers were rejected by plaintiffs, including four cases of Bladder Cancer, two cases of Kidney Cancer, one case of Multiple Myeloma, one case of Kidney Disease, and one case of Parkinson’s Disease. Twenty settlement offers have expired, including seven cases of Kidney Cancer, seven cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, two cases of Bladder Cancer, three cases of Leukemia, and one case of Parkinson’s Disease. Twelve toxic water settlement offers are still pending.

Additionally, the DOJ, relying on information provided by the Navy, has approved offers for ninety-three claimants. Of these, thirty-three settlement offers have been accepted, three offers have been rejected, twenty-three offers have expired, and thirty-four offers are pending.

Settlement checks have been sent for thirty-three accepted settlement offers made by the Navy and twenty-five accepted settlement offers from the DOJ, totaling $14,400,000. This includes payments for sixteen cases of Bladder Cancer totaling $4,050,000, eight cases of Leukemia totaling $2,100,000, eight cases of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma totaling $1,950,000, five cases of Parkinson’s Disease totaling $1,100,000, fourteen cases of Kidney Cancer totaling $3,900,000, six cases of Kidney Disease totaling $1,050,000, and one case of Multiple Myeloma totaling $250,000.

June 5, 204 – Amendment to CLJA to Provide Additional Protection to Veterans

The Senate passed a new bill that provides additional help and protection to veterans worried about their benefits.

It is hard to envision a scenario that makes sense in which someone did not bring a claim because they were worried about their benefits. But more information is better than less, and the key is getting real information to veterans and their families.

June 4, 2024 – Bellwether Trial Selection

Today, victims’ attorneys and the DOJ have agreed to a plan to select five specific toxic water plaintiffs from the Track 1 Discovery Pool to proceed with bellwether trials.

This plan will cull out five plaintiffs who claim that contaminated water caused them to develop the five Track 1 illnesses:  leukemia, kidney cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s Disease. The selected plaintiffs will only be able to claim these specific illnesses, which is unfair to plaintiffs but part of a larger deal on the selection process.

How do they pick which five plaintiffs get trial dates? Plaintiffs’ lawyers propose three per illness, and the United States proposes two more. These chosen plaintiffs will then undergo detailed discovery and trial preparations. This strategy focuses resources on fewer cases, making the process more efficient for everyone involved and giving clear expectations to all plaintiffs. It also helps find a quicker resolution, possibly leading to a global settlement for all parties.

May 30, 2024 – Case Specific Discovery Motions

As we get deeper into discovery in individual cases, we are starting to see more of the one-off motions you see in discovery. In one case, the court has been asked to compel a plaintiff to testify regarding their departure from a Sheriff’s Office despite a confidentiality agreement tied to a settlement with the office.

The government argues that such an agreement does not prohibit the witness from answering relevant questions in the current civil litigation. Both parties have discussed and consented to this motion, which was addressed during the last status conference two weeks ago.

The plaintiff’s prior employment is relevant because he seeks lost wages in his Camp Lejeune lawsuit that alleges his kidney cancer diagnosis in 2009 is related to his TCE and PCE exposure at Lejeune.  During a deposition a few months back, he declined to answer questions about his former employment due to the confidentiality agreement. Both parties agree that a court order will allow the witness to testify. It is better for the plaintiff if a court order compels him to provide information because it conflicts with his signed confidentiality agreement.

May 13, 2024 – Bad News on Jury Trial Appeal This Morning

The Camp Lejeune judges issued a disappointing decision this morning, denying a motion for immediate appellate review of a prior ruling that struck down the plaintiffs’ request for a jury trial.

The court’s decision to deny the motion for immediate review is based on historical precedents that generally reserve interlocutory appeals for exceptional circumstances, preferring to address such matters only after a final judgment.

However, the practical implications of this decision are significant, meaning that this ruling may be final for most plaintiffs. It seems unlikely that most Camp Lejeune lawsuits will not be concluded before an appellate court can review the jury trial issue.

Any settlement offers victims receive are based largely on what the expectation of what the case might be worth at trial. These settlements will likely be calculated assuming that plaintiffs do not have the right to a jury trial.  So the judges’ ruling will be final for any plaintiff who settles before the issue reaches appeal.  This was the wrong call.  There would be zero harm in allowing an appellate court to have the last word and it would have been the most fair outcome.

May 10, 2024 – How Many Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Now?

The most recent data shows that the total number of Camp Lejeune lawsuits stands at 1,764. Not a big increase.  But the number of administrative claims filed with the Navy has surged to 227,309. So while there has not been a significant increase in new lawsuits, the volume of claims has notably increased.  We predicted 150,000 claims so we are well past that number.  How many of these claims will receive compensation?  We will think that number is around 150,000.

May 6, 2024 – Agenda for Next Status Conference

Following the Court’s invitation during the Status Conference on April 24, 2024, the plaintiffs’ attorneys have submitted a list of suggested topics for potential discussion.

The proposed discussions aim at two fundamental goals: (1) using trials to facilitate a comprehensive resolution and (2) refining the processes to prepare cases for trial efficiently.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have also proposed discussions on foundational issues of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, including the standard of proof, specifics of water contamination and the required duration of presence on the base, and establishing causation for diseases linked to Track 1 of the proceedings.

In terms of trial structure, the plaintiffs’ attorneys recommend considering various formats such as single or consolidated multi-plaintiff trials, trials organized by disease type, and, interestingly, the possibility of reverse bifurcation or advisory jury trials.

They also address the need for specific hearings to handle Daubert issues separately from initial trials.

The selection of trial plaintiffs and prioritizing cases of gravely ill plaintiffs, like two specific victims, is also proposed for discussion.

Lastly, logistical aspects of trial scheduling across multiple judges, the use of technology in courtrooms, and the length of trials are suggested for consideration.

April 22, 2024 – Track 3 

The DOJ proposes that the following conditions be prioritized for Track 3: (1) esophageal cancer; (2) general medical monitoring not tied to a specific illness; (3) miscarriage; (4) dental issues; and (5) hypersensitivity skin disorder.

April 21, 2024 – New Lawsuit and Claim Statistics

As of Friday, 40 Camp Lejeune lawsuits have settled for a combined $9.6 million.

The Torts Branch has identified 60 cases in litigation that meet the Elective Option criteria through documentary verification. The distribution of cases by injury is as follows: 16 cases of bladder cancer, 16 cases of kidney cancer, 12 cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, six cases of kidney disease, four cases of Parkinson’s Disease, four cases of leukemia, and two cases of multiple myeloma.

Among these cases, 22 offers have been accepted by plaintiffs, involving five cases of bladder cancer, four cases of kidney disease (end stage renal disease), five cases of kidney cancer, four cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, one case of multiple myeloma, two cases of Parkinson’s Disease, and one case of leukemia. Nine offers were rejected, while 17 offers have expired. Additionally, 12 settlement offers are currently pending.

Furthermore, the Department of Justice has approved offers for 62 claimants based on information provided by the Navy. Among these, 29 settlement offers have been accepted, two offers have been rejected, and 25 offers have expired, with six offers pending.

Payments have been disbursed for 22 accepted settlements made by the Navy and 18 accepted settlements from the DOJ, totaling $9,600,000. These payments include various amounts for different cases, such as $300,000 and $150,000 payments for bladder cancer cases, $300,000 and $100,000 payments for leukemia cases, $400,000 payment for Parkinson’s Disease cases, $300,000 and $150,000 payments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases, $300,000 and $150,000 payments for kidney cancer cases, and $250,000 and $100,000 payments for kidney disease cases, among others.

April 11, 2024 – Government Seeks Discovery Extension

Late last month, Camp Lejeune lawyers issued an extensive series of discovery requests to the United States, encompassing 20 Requests for Production, 20 Interrogatories, and 129 Requests for Admission. The requests targeted information from various federal agencies such as the ATSDR, EPA, Navy, USMC, VA, NOAA, NWS, and USGS.

The United States wants more time to answer. It complains that it has already provided over 12 million pages of documents during the discovery process. So it wants a 30-day extension to adequately respond to these new requests.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers, who are tired of the endless stalling, have “sort of” denied this request, only offering to consider extensions for specific issues that may arise. The government argues that the extension is justified given the scope and complexity of the information sought.

The government claims that the delay – extending the deadline to May 28th –  will not affect the overall timeline of the case. But the reality is that any bottleneck in pretrial discovery, such as delays in document production or responses to discovery requests that are sought here, can significantly slow down the entire litigation process. It can cause subsequent procedural steps, like depositions or the filing of motions, to be postponed. This disruption can lead to a cascading effect on the litigation timeline, increasing costs and extending the time required to resolve the case.

April 5, 2024 – Call Your Camp Lejeune Lawyer

If your lawyer is calling you, return the call. The deadline to file a claim is in August. Does that sound far away?  If feels like tomorrow if you are a Camp Lejeune lawyer.  We have to get our ducks in a row.  This is the part where attorneys really need their clients to cooperate so there is no risk of losing your rights to bring or settle a claim.

April 2, 2024 – Deadline to File Looms

To be eligible for a Camp Lejeune settlement, a claim or lawsuit must be submitted within two years of the implementation of the PACT Act. The deadline is August 10, 2024.

The one thing I’m sure of is that people with meritorious claims will try to bring them too close to the deadline and will not be able to find a Camp Lejeune lawyer to handle their claim.  If you have a potential claim, call us – call someone – today.

March 28, 2024 – Settlements So Far

To date, there have been 1,662 lawsuits and 176,662 administrative claims related to Camp Lejeune filed with the Navy. Recent data from the DOJ indicates that among these, only 51 cases qualify for participation in the early settlement elective program. Of these, 26 involve bladder and kidney cancer cases.

So far, 21 early settlement proposals have been accepted. The breakdown includes 5 bladder cancer cases, 4 instances of kidney disease, 5 kidney cancer cases, 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases, 1 multiple myeloma case, 2 Parkinson’s disease cases, and 1 leukemia case. Conversely, 9 settlement offers were declined by the plaintiffs.

March 15, 2024 – Case Count

The number of lawsuits related to the toxic water Camp Lejeune has reached 1,633, with an additional 174,891 administrative claims filed.

March 14, 2024- New Video

We posted a video today about the jury trial ruling in Lejeune and how it will like impact the two issues victims care about the most:  settlement amount and when there will be a Camp Lejeune settlement.

March 9, 2024- Settlement News

Key line from last status report on settlement:

“The Parties have had several preliminary discussions regarding the possibility of a global resolution of claims that remain in the administrative and legal processes. The Parties continue to negotiate a resolution questionnaire and resolution roadmap.”

March 8, 2024 – Camp Lejeune Schedule

Pushing Track 2 cases forward quickly helps get these case on stronger footing for settlement.  This is plaintiffs’ plan for Track 2 discovery:

Step Description
I. The Court lifts the stay on the cases in the Track 2 Discovery Pool.
II. Fact discovery in every Track 2 Discovery Plaintiff’s action may begin upon the selection of the Track 2 Discovery Plaintiffs.
III. Each Plaintiff who is selected as a Track 2 Discovery Pool Plaintiff shall complete a Discovery Pool Profile Form [D.E. 62-1] within 45 days of the entry of a notice on the Master Docket selecting them as a Track 2 Discovery Pool Plaintiff.
IV. Within 180 days of the date of this Order, the parties shall complete fact discovery for the Track 2 Discovery Pool.
V. Within 30 days of completion of fact discovery, Plaintiffs shall disclose their expert witnesses. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B) & (C).
VI. Within 30 days of Plaintiffs’ disclosure of their expert witnesses, Defendant shall disclose its expert witnesses.
VII. Within 15 days of Defendant’s disclosure of their expert witnesses, Plaintiffs shall disclose their rebuttal expert witnesses. Within 45 days of Defendant’s disclosure of its expert witnesses, expert discovery will close.

We talk about the Track 2 cases in the February 26 update below.

March 5, 2024 – Motions for Summary Judgment

Plaintiffs submitted yesterday a reply supporting their motion for partial summary judgment what exactly plaintiffs must prove at trial under the CLJA. Plaintiffs’ lawyer are drilling the point: Congress did not intend to set this up like other tort claims.

The motion argues that Congress set a specific standard for proving causation under the CLJA that is different from the common law standard. They contend that the government’s approach disregards the specific causation standards detailed in the CLJA, favoring a general causation standard that is not supported by the statute’s text. The reply criticizes the government for ignoring the unique causation standard set forth by Congress, misinterpreting the plaintiffs’ arguments, selectively using legislative history, and proposing unsupported theories that challenge established legal principles favoring veterans.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys emphasize that due to the long passage of time since the exposure at Camp Lejeune, evidence has been lost, and many witnesses are no longer available, making it challenging to prove specific causation as per the common law. They argue that Congress recognized these challenges and intended to streamline the litigation process through the CLJA by establishing a causation standard that accounts for the general causation evidence available. The reply concludes by urging the court to grant their motion, arguing that doing so would align with congressional intent and facilitate a more efficient resolution of the claims.

February 27, 2024 – Latest Update on Number of Lawsuits and Administrative Claims

The new numbers were released today: 170,502 administrative claims and 1,530 lawsuits.  So less than 1% of the claims have been filed.  If there is not a settlement, all of these claims will have to be filed before August.

February 26, 2024 – Track 2

The court ruled today we are moving forward with a Track 2 plan.  Which types of Camp Lejeune lawsuits are in Track 2?

The Discovery Pool for Track 2 in the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation specifically includes plaintiffs who allege suffering from one or more of the following illnesses:

  1. Prostate Cancer: A type of cancer that occurs in the prostate, a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid. This inclusion reflects the potentially increased risk of prostate cancer for individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
  2. Kidney Disease: Refers to conditions that impair kidney function, leading to a buildup of waste products in the body. Kidney disease can be acute or chronic and may result from exposure to certain toxic substances.
  3. Lung Cancer: A type of cancer that begins in the lungs. The inclusion of lung cancer suggests a recognition of potential links between exposure to certain chemicals in the contaminated water and the development of this disease.
  4. Liver Cancer: Cancer that starts in the liver. Exposure to toxic substances, like those found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, is known to increase the risk of liver cancer, which may progress silently and be diagnosed at an advanced stage.
  5. Breast Cancer: Although more commonly associated with women, breast cancer can also occur in men. This inclusion indicates a concern for the potential impact of toxic exposure on the risk of developing breast cancer among both male and female residents or workers at Camp Lejeune.

February 15, 2024 – Jury Trial Appeal

Plaintiffs’ lawyers were in a quandary after the court’s ruling on jury trials that we lay out in our February 7th update below. We think there is a real chance to win on appeal. But we cannot slow down the path to trials because that is the only way to get the government serious about making settlement compensation offers that will lead to more than a trickle of settlements.

The solution is clever. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are only appealing two cases.  This allows the litigation to move forward while still taking a shot at flipping this ruling on appeal.

February 8, 2024 – Muster Rolls Battle

Plaintiffs need full production of the muster rolls at Camp Lejeune; getting those has been a battle in this litigation. Muster rolls official rosters or lists that record the presence, absence, or other status of military personnel assigned to that location.

These documents are so important because the plaintiffs’ records do not always show the exact dates the plaintiffs were there. But the government knows, and we need the records. The historical record of the service members stationed or trained at Camp Lejeune during specific periods is critical for veterans seeking to prove their presence at the base.

February 7, 2024 – Jury Trial Ruling

The Camp Lejeune judges ruled to strike the jury trials. The court concluded that the CLJA does not unequivocally grant the right to a jury trial for plaintiffs seeking relief under the Act, primarily based on its interpretation of subsection 804(d) and established legal principles surrounding sovereign immunity.

It is hard to understand the logic of this ruling. Subsection 804(d) of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) states:

“The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any action filed under subsection (b) and shall be the exclusive venue for such an action. Nothing in this subsection shall impair the right of any party to a trial by jury.

Boy, it seems clear, right?

The court’s interpretation of the second sentence of subsection 804(d)—that it does not affirmatively grant a jury trial right but merely clarifies that the statute’s jurisdiction and venue provisions do not impair any pre-existing right—seems to ignore the statute’s plain language.

Additionally, it is a mistake to discount legislative history and post-enactment statements from lawmakers as ambiguous or irrelevant. While some think post-enactment statements are not traditionally a solid basis for statutory interpretation, they can provide valuable insights into Congressional intent, especially in cases where the statutory language is argued to have different interpretations.

This is a bad ruling that does not align with the spirit of justice and accountability that underpins the CLJA.

February 3, 2024 – New Cancers in Focus

Which diseases are now in greater focus in the Camp Lejeune litigation after the new ATSDR study we discussed yesterday?  We think there are five:

  1. Laryngeal Cancer
  2. Lung Cancer
  3. Pharyngeal cancer
  4. Thyroid cancer
  5. Colon cancer

February 2, 2024 – New ATSDR Study Released

The new Camp Lejeune ATSDR study was released this week. This study examined how exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune affected the chances of getting certain types of cancer.

They found that Marines, Navy personnel, and civilian workers at Camp Lejeune had a higher risk of developing several types of cancer compared to those at Camp Pendleton. The cancers with the highest increased risks included:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia: a type of blood cancer, which was 38% more likely at Camp Lejeune.
  • Myeloid cancers: a group of blood cancers, including polycythemia vera, were 24% to 40% more likely.
  • Myelodysplastic and myeloproliferative syndromes: disorders affecting blood cell production were 68% more likely.
  • Cancers of the esophagus, larynx, soft tissue, and thyroid were 21% to 27% more likely.

For civilian workers at Camp Lejeune specifically, there was also a higher risk of squamous cell lung cancer and female ductal breast cancer.

The study’s statistics underscore why there are so many Camp Lejeune lawsuits.  People at Camp Lejeune, both military and civilian, were significantly more likely to get these types of cancers compared to those at Camp Pendleton.

The percentages show how much higher the risk was. For example, a 38% higher chance of acute myeloid leukemia means that relative to Camp Pendleton, individuals at Camp Lejeune were almost 1.4 times as likely to develop this cancer because of exposure to contaminated water.

February 1, 2024 – Type of Lejeune Claims That Have Been Filed

The Navy has initiated its evaluation of claims, which is currently at a preliminary stage due to the nascent phase of its claims processing system. This system is in the process of entering data from upwards of 164,000 claims.

From the initial 29,000 claims entered into the system, the Navy has offered an early distribution of claims.  Here is what the Navy has so far:

Disease Number of Cases Percentage of Total Cases
Kidney Cancer 1,090 3.76%
Liver Cancer 501 1.73%
Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 750 2.59%
Bladder Cancer 1,447 5.00%
Leukemias 634 2.19%
Multiple Myeloma 790 2.73%
Parkinson’s Disease 1,120 3.87%
Kidney Disease 2,970 10.25%
Systemic Scleroderma 502 1.73%
Other Diseases 6,809 23.51%

“Other Diseases” is the largest subgroup, nearly one-fourth of all claims. Prostate cancer represents the majority within this subgroup, with over 4,000 cases.  Next is cardiac defects, with over 1,000 cases.  Esophageal cancer, aplastic anemia, cervical cancer, and rectal cancer are also in that group, each with fewer than 500 cases.

January 30, 2024 – Government Bellwether Selections

The government updated its bellwether trial selections yesterday for leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The first trial may begin as early as April.

January 25, 2024 – Status Conference

The next status conference is scheduled for February 6, 2024. A ton of outstanding issues need to be addressed.  The first Camp Lejeune trial may be in April.

So the biggest question is whether these will be bench trials decided by a judge or jury trials.  The next big question is whether the first trial will involve one plaintiff or multiple plaintiffs. Third, and this is not the last big issue, we must resolve the attorneys’ fees question.

January 22, 2024 – Battle Over the Pool of Plaintiffs for Trial

The government complained to the court the plaintiffs eligible for the Track 1 Discovery Pool had, on average, more extended exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune compared to those who opted out. This disparity in exposure levels, the DOJ argues, could potentially result in an unrepresentative sample of claimants, as individuals with different levels of exposure might have varying health issues or claims.

In other words, the Department of Justice is saying that if the group of people in the Track 1 Discovery Pool only includes those exposed to contaminated water for a long time, it might not fairly represent everyone affected. Some people with different levels of exposure or different health problems might not get a chance to be part of this group, which could make the decisions and outcomes less fair for all the people affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.  So the verdicts would be higher than you would get from a more representative pool.

The court acknowledged in a ruling today that the government has a point.  But individuals who had already exhausted their administrative claims with the Department of the Navy were self-selecting into the federal litigation process.

This means that some claimants who had already undergone administrative procedures might have different motivations, claims, or circumstances than those who had not pursued administrative remedies. Basically, the court is saying it understands but cannot solve the government’s problem.

January 17, 2024 – What We Know 

As of yesterday, we know:

  • There have been 1,483 Camp Lejeune Lawsuits
  • There have been 158,252 administrative clams
  • The most common claim made is prostate cancer, which is around 14% of all claims; kidney disease is second and approximately 10% of claims. This is based on the estimated 29,000 claims the Navy has cataloged.
  • There have been four Camp Lejeune settlements.  The average settlement of Camp Lejeune settlement is approximately $242,000.

January 11, 2024 – Status Conference 

A status conference has been arranged for January 23, 2024, at 11:00 AM in Wilmington before Judge Jones.  In this litigation, good nuggets always emerge from these status conferences.

January 9, 2024 – CLJA Fraud Warning

The Justice Department and the Department of the Navy have issued a new warning about fraudulent activities targeting individuals filing claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022. This alert cautions claimants about deceptive attempts to obtain personal information or monetary payments.

Claimants encountering such fraud through phone calls or emails should report these incidents to their attorneys. Those without legal representation are advised to inform the Navy’s Camp Lejeune Claims Unit (CLCU). It’s important to remember that the Justice Department and Navy will never request money or payments from claimants. Legitimate emails regarding CLJA claims come from the address, and any suspicious emails can be forwarded to this address for verification.

If you receive a phone call claiming to be from the CLCU or offering assistance with your claim and feel uncertain, ask for the caller’s name and position and verify this information by calling the CLCU at (757) 241-6020. For those represented by an attorney, all communication from the Justice Department and Navy will occur through the attorney.

January 5, 2024 – Pretrial Discovery Continues at Full Speed

The plaintiffs have served five sets of document requests on the United States, seeking a wide range of documents from multiple federal agencies. In response, the United States has produced over 415,000 files consisting of 307,486 pages. The parties continue negotiating electronically stored information (ESI) discovery terms.

January 4, 2024 – Nearly 150,000 Admin Claims Filed

Approximately 147,428 administrative claims are filed with the Navy. The Navy has set up a system for intake and analysis of claims and established two pathways for assessing CLJA claims, including a manual review process and accessing information from the Veterans Administration (VA).

A week before Christmas, the Department of Justice (DOJ) determined that 26 litigation cases meet the settlement criteria. Offers have been made, with some accepted and others rejected or expired. Payments totaling $1,450,000 have been sent in six cases. So the average Camp Lejeune settlement as of now is $241,667.

January 3, 2024 – Plaintiffs’ Appeal Magistrate Ruling

Before Christmas, we reported on the Magistrate Judge’s decision to refuse the plaintiffs’ lawyers the ability to review the latest ATSDR study.  The plaintiffs are appealing that ruling.

This study, called the Cancer Incidence Study (CIS), began in 2016 to investigate the link between exposure to contaminated water and cancer risks at Lejeune.  Despite expectations of the study being released within five years, it remains unpublished eight years later. This delay is critical as the study reportedly confirms an increased number of cancers linked to the contaminated water, providing strong evidence that the water caused cancer. Plaintiffs should have all available science to make their claims.

The plaintiffs’ appeal to the District Court judges argues that the order denying the plaintiffs’ motion to compel the production of the CIS and its data was deemed erroneous. Specifically, plaintiffs’ attorneys challenge the judge’s acceptance of the government’s claim that the documents were part of the peer review process, and therefore protected by the deliberative process privilege.  The appeal clarifies that plaintiffs seek the factual elements of the study and its underlying data, not the peer reviewers’ comments, which could be redacted.

This is a big deal. The refusal to release the CIS hinders the victims’ ability to litigate effectively and could prevent others from bringing claims without the new cancer incidence data. Is the government delaying the study’s release strategically?  It could be.  Hopefully, the North Carolina judges reverse this ruling in the interests of justice.

January 2, 2024 – DOJ Continues Aggressive Defense Strategy

The Camp Lejeune litigation was supposed to be different.  The government passed a law to remedy an injustice; the idea is that the lawyers would work together to achieve justice.

So far, the DOJ is acting like any other defendant in mass tort litigation.  They deny everything, try to keep every defense option open, and aggressively contest every issue. This includes denying evidence from its own agencies about water contamination at Camp Lejeune and its link to certain diseases.

For example, the government’s lawyers disagree with the findings of the ATSDR, calling them too cautious and saying they lacked enough water sample data. They also do not accept what Dr. Frank Bove, a top ATSDR expert, said. At a meeting, Dr. Bove explained that everyone at Camp Lejeune was exposed to contaminated water in some way. But the defendant said Dr. Bove wasn’t “officially” speaking for the government.

This is not what Congress intended when it passed the CLJA.

December 26, 2023 – More on the Opening of an Estate Issue

As we have been telling you, the government’s position is that estate representatives appointed outside of North Carolina must open additional estates in the state before they can seek relief under the CLJA.

It is burdensome for plaintiffs to open an estate in North Carolina.  The government has said as much.  Still, they want to impose this burden because the law requires it.

Yet its rationale for putting an unnecessary burden on victims for no compelling reason is shifting, as the plaintiffs’ recent reply brief points out.   Two months ago, at a status conference, the government argued that North Carolina law should determine who can act as a “legal representative” in cases under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.  They believe – citing law that it is really just making up – that the Federal Tort Claims Act should be used to fill any gaps in the CLJA.

When plaintiffs pointed out that the term “legal representative” already has a clear legal meaning, the government changed its stance, suggesting that the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17 demands out-of-state representatives to open ancillary estates in North Carolina. However, this new argument is also flawed because, under North Carolina law, any executor or administrator, as well as anyone else legally authorized to sue, has the capacity to do so.

The bigger question is how does putting an unnecessary burden on victims for a dubious legal rationale advance the interest of anyone – including the government – in this litigation?

December 22, 2023 – Plaintiffs’ Discovery Request Denied

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones decided against allowing plaintiffs access to a vital draft report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subagency.
The core of the magistrate’s ruling is that the draft report has not completed the necessary external peer review process, which is essential for its finalization. The government argued that premature release could disrupt this review and potentially mislead the public, especially if the final report substantially differs from the draft.

The court’s decision is rooted in maintaining the integrity of the peer review process and the deliberative process privilege.  It reflects what we believe is the wrong choice in balancing interests between arcane rules and the immediate informational needs of the affected victims. So we think the court got it wrong.  In this case, our lawyers believe the public interest in upholding the peer review process pales compared to the need for victims to get information that could make or break their claims.

Plaintiffs need to know what the evolving science is saying at this critical juncture, with the deadline to file a Lejeune claim expiring in August and claims beginning to settle. There should be a path for victims’ Camp Lejeune lawyers to see these documents. This could make a real impact on victims. For example, Plaintiffs’ attorneys might discard Tier III cases without knowing that there is sound scientific evidence supporting their claim.

December 19, 2023 – Update on the Volume of Lejeune Civil Cases

Since October 1, 2023, 257 new Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. That is actually an increase in the volume of new Lejeune cases filed over the summer and in September.

December 13, 2023 – Plaintiffs File Motion to Enforce

The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group (PLG) has asked the court to intervene and enforce the rules of Case Management Order No. 2 (CMO-2) in reaction to what they perceive as the government’s non-compliance with established protocols for selecting plaintiffs for case discovery.

The PLG points out that the government has twice chosen plaintiffs for discovery who do not meet the eligibility criteria outlined in CMO-2. The government first chose 29 Camp Lejeune plaintiffs who missed the deadline for filing Short Form Complaints. They then selected 16 plaintiffs who had been explicitly withdrawn from the Discovery Pool by their legal representatives. To preserve the fairness and integrity of the process, the PLG is now urging the court to step in and mandate the government to adhere to the set guidelines in selecting eligible plaintiffs.

In a separate but related issue, the motion brings up concerns about the conduct of a lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs from Camp Lejeune. The PLG has reservations about this lawyer’s collaborative spirit and professional demeanor, fearing that such behavior might jeopardize the unified quest for justice for those affected by the Camp Lejeune water crisis. Consequently, the PLG advocates excluded plaintiffs from the Track 1 Discovery Pool represented by this lawyer, citing his inability to collaborate and his open criticism of the leadership’s strategy and tactics.

December 4, 2023 – New ATSDR Study 

The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has a new study that shows elevated cancer rates in military and civilian personnel who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune.  This study, submitted in April but not yet released, links these cancer rates to contaminated drinking water at the base from 1953 to 1987. The findings suggest strong evidence that the contamination caused cancer.

The delay in releasing the report has led to frustration and accusations of withholding evidence. This is not just Camp Lejeune lawyers who are claiming foul. Frank Bove, a senior epidemiologist involved in the study, has also expressed frustration with the delay.

The study’s findings are significant because they used data from every U.S. cancer registry, comparing Camp Lejeune’s rates with Camp Pendleton, which did not have contaminated water.

Indeed, the government lawyers have a draft they could produce for plaintiffs.  But, inexplicably to us, they appear to be claiming it is a privileged document.  The North Carolina judges will decide this dispute.

December 3, 2023 – Depositions This Week

The plaintiffs have scheduled 30(b)(6) depositions for three different agencies this week: the United States Marine Corps, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What is a 30(b)(6) deposition? This type of deposition allows for the deposition of a corporation, partnership, association, government agency, or other organization in a civil lawsuit. Unlike a deposition of an individual, where a specific person is deposed, a 30(b)(6) deposition requires the named organization to designate one or more officers, directors, or managing agents — or other persons who consent to testify on its behalf.

December 1, 2023 – Four Judges

In the Eastern District of North Carolina, the Camp Lejeune lawsuits are handed by four judges. As of a few days ago, there have been 1433 CLJA complaints filed within the district. Fourteen cases have been dismissed, including eleven voluntary dismissals and three dismissals of cases filed by self-represented litigants.

November 27, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlements Update

The judges overseeing the Camp Lejeune cases are requiring settlement reports, which the government is mandated to provide. Today, the DOJ reports sixteen cases have been deemed eligible for settlement.  That is 16 out of 130,000.

There have been four Camp Lejeune settlements for $1 million. This sum includes a $250,000 payment for a Parkinson’s Disease case, a $300,000 settlement for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and two settlements for Leukemia cases, one for $300,000 and the other for $150,000.

November 22, 2023 – Government Wants to Deny Jury Trials to Lejeune Victims

The U.S. government asked the federal judges in North Carolina to prohibit jury trials for the water contamination cases at Camp Lejeune. Wait what?

In their argument, the government pointed out that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the basis for these lawsuits, does not clearly and definitively provide the right to a jury trial in cases against the federal government.  The government says this is how it might go if it were a Federal Tort Claims Act case.

The JAG cannot seem to grasp that Camp Lejeune is not a Federal Tort Claims Act claim.  This motion will fail.

November 21, 2023 – Government Gets Extension

Yesterday, Judge Dever allowed the U.S. government more time to respond to a challenge regarding the definition of “legal representative” under the CLJA and FTCA. The government insists that such representatives in FTCA cases must be court-appointed outside North Carolina and establish an ancillary estate within the state, per North Carolina law. This has been a cumbersome process for plaintiffs, leading them to argue through a motion that the less restrictive CLJA standards should apply instead of the FTCA’s stringent requirements.

November 13, 2023 – Battle Over Rules for Wrongful Death Claims

Plaintiffs are filing a motion asking the court not to require every plaintiff to open an estate in North Carolina.

The U.S. government contends that under the law allowing Camp Lejeune lawsuits,  a person acting as a “legal representative” for claims related to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) must be appointed by a court outside of North Carolina and establish an ancillary estate within the state. This requirement stems from the FTCA’s reliance on state law, here North Carolina law, to determine the eligible representative in wrongful death cases, which plaintiffs find excessively burdensome.  It is a ton of extra paperwork for everyone except the government lawyers who want to do whatever they can to slow down the litigation to take some pressure off.

In response, plaintiffs have filed a motion, correctly asserting that the CLJA, not the FTCA, governs their claims. Section 804(b) of the CLJA permits a “legal representative” to initiate a lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ legal team argues that this term traditionally denotes someone appointed to oversee a decedent’s estate. They maintain that this interpretation aligns with the CLJA’s wording, which neither ties the definition of “legal representative” specifically to North Carolina law nor imposes conditions for initiating a CLJA lawsuit.

Moreover, the plaintiffs argue that should any uncertainty exist in the CLJA concerning the term “legal representative,” it would still be inappropriate to apply FTCA criteria. The FTCA’s scope does not cover federal actions like those under the CLJA or injuries incurred by servicemembers in the line of duty, differentiating the CLJA from FTCA stipulations.

This motion is filed on behalf of one plaintiff.  But it will have an impact on every other lawsuit in the litigation.

November 7, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Update

There have been approximately 100 Camp Lejeune lawsuits filed so far in November.

November 1, 2023: Both Sides Work Toward Settlements

The Camp Lejeune plaintiffs’ lawyers and the government continued to try to put as many of these lawsuits in position for settlement.  They’re creating a questionnaire to collect information from affected individuals and determine how to calculate compensation. They also aim to set up a secure database for this data.

Some of these claims might start settling pretty soon. But, at the same time, many of these cannot and should not settle, so we need to continue pushing for trial dates as soon as possible.

October 25, 2023: EPA Proposes Ban on TCE

The EPA is now proposing a comprehensive ban on the use of the industrial chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to evidence showing that TCE can cause cancer and other serious health risks. TCE was one of the primary contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The fact that the EPA is now calling for a total ban on using TCE, even in industrial settings, is a chilling reminder of just how toxic the water at Camp Lejeune was.

October 23, 2023: Initial Status Conference in CLJA Civil Cases 

A meeting, called an “initial status conference,” is scheduled for Monday, October 30th at 11:00 AM at 201 South Evans St, Room 209 in Greenville, NC.. This is the first status conference of what will become an ongoing thing.  The Camp Lejeune judges will have more of these meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 10:00 AM.

This first meeting will cover:

  • How many CLJA actions were filed in this district and their current status.
  • The number and current status of administrative claims with the Department of Navy.
  • Any agreements made between the parties since the last meeting.
  • A summary of the information gathered or exchanged since the last meeting.
  • Updates on trying to resolve the matter, whether for individual cases or all cases together.
  • Any other concerns or matters the parties want to discuss.

October 10, 2023: New Civil Filings Spike Following Settlement Program

It has been a full month since the Navy and DOJ announced the Camp Lejeune early settlement program under which qualifying claimants could obtain immediate settlement payouts. We were very interested to see what, if any, impact this new settlement program might have on the volume of new civil cases filed under the CLJA. The early results indicate that it has not slowed the rate of new civil case filings by Camp Lejeune victims. Since the settlement offer program was announced in early September, 193 new CLJA civil cases have been filed. That is actually a significant increase over the rate of new Camp Lejeune filings. In the previous month, only around 50 new civil cases were filed.

October 2, 2023: Case Management Order #2 Amended

The North Carolina judges made some adjustments to Case Management Order #2 last week, one day after the order was entered.   This order deals with discovery matters and mandates that both parties must convene at least once a month to discuss suggested agreements and keep the Court informed about the progress of these proposed agreements. The order also anticipates Lejeune trial dates next year. The changes are:

  • Section JV .D. has been updated to say that even though all CLJA actions on individual dockets are paused, defense lawyers must still officially let the court know when they’re involved in a specific CLJA case by submitting a Notice of Appearance when they receive a Notice of Service, as outlined in Standing Order 23-SO-1.
  • Section VI. has been changed to make it clear that any lawyer representing a plaintiff in an individual CLJA case must officially introduce themselves to the court by filing either a Notice of Appearance or Notice of Special Appearance, following the rules in Local Civil Rule 5.2(a). Additionally, if a lawyer is not already allowed to practice in this court, they need to follow the steps laid out in the Court’s order from April 24, 2023, including submitting a special request (pro hac vice motion), for each CLJA case they work on.

September 28, 2023: First Lejeune Trials to Begin Next Year

The federal court in North Carolina that is handling the Camp Lejeune lawsuits recently issued an Order announcing that the first round of trials in the Lejeune cases will begin next year. The Lejeune trials will be divided into “Tracks” or groups based on the primary disease or health condition alleged by the plaintiff. The first track of cases to go to trial will include those plaintiffs with diseases included in Tier 1 of the recently launched early settlement program: Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, and bladder cancer.

September 14, 2023: The North Carolina judges shot down on Friday an effort to upend the Camp Lejeune attorney leadership plan.  We think this is good for victims.  It is time to focus on getting some of these lawsuits settled and others ready for trial.

September 10, 2023: We break down all the details of the Camp Lejeune settlement proposal on a separate page.

September 6, 2023: Camp Lejeune Settlement Offers Today

This is big news. The DOJ is creating a tiered settlement compensation system to expedite the resolution of numerous administrative claims and federal lawsuits related to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

This system considers the severity of individuals’ illnesses and exposure, offering payouts ranging from $100,000 to $550,000 for injuries or deaths caused by the tainted water.

This Camp Lejeune settlement plan would allow those who qualify to receive compensation based on the seriousness of their health issues and how long they were exposed to the contaminated water. The key to your settlement amount, under this plan, depends on the severity of the illness and the duration of exposure.

For example, if you have a disease like kidney or liver cancer and were exposed for a long time, you could receive up to $450,000. If you have a less severe illness, incredibly they include Parkinson’s disease as Tier 2, and were exposed for a shorter time, you might be eligible for a lower amount, like $100,000.

So it goes like this:

Camp Lejeune Settlement Offers 30 to 364 Days 1 year to 5 years More than 5 years
Tier 1 Qualifying Injury $150,000 $300,000 $450,000
Tier 2 Qualifying Injury $100,000 $250,000 $400,000

These settlement offers are low.  This offer is designed to speed up getting compensation for those who qualify and want their money now.

September 5, 2023: Government Seeks Extension on Response Deadlines

The Navy is requesting more time to respond to the Camp Lejeune lawsuits that have been filed.  You are probably not surprised.

The Navy wants an extension until October 2, 2023. This is not a huge deal, and the motion is not opposed by the main plaintiffs’ lawyers. The DOJ and other parties have been discussing a case management plan and submitted it to the court for approval on August 28, 2023. While the Court previously extended the deadline for the DOJ to respond to certain cases until October 2, 2023, this extension does not cover cases where the DOJ has already responded. To align with the case management plan, the DOJ is asking for this extension.

  • More Camp Lejeune Legislation News: We have been updating these cases from the beginning. Get all the updates for the entire history of the path to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Camp Lejeune represents the worst public water system contamination 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.

North Carolina law had blocked these Camp Lejeune victims from bringing cancer lawsuits and other claims against the government. Now, Congress passed a new federal law enabling 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 other injuries addressed below.

Contaminated Water Supply at Camp Lejeune Base

Camp Lejeune is a sprawling Marine Corps military base and operational training facility that has been used since 1942. The base, which several satellite facilities service, 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 water treatment plants servicing the base, the Hadnot Point treatment plant and the Tarawa Terrace water plant.

The TCE contamination occurred mainly 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 cleaning large metal weapons and equipment. TCE is also used to make refrigerants.

The EPA’s maximum safe level of TCE in drinking water is five 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 primarily used as a fabric solvent in the commercial dry-cleaning industry. The contamination at the Tarawa plant was traced to ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a nearby dry-cleaning business.

The EPA has set the maximum safe level for PCE for drinking water at five ppb. The water from the Tarawa treatment plant going to Camp Lejeune contained 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 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.

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Map

Studies Link Contaminants in Camp Lejeune Water to Cancer

The chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water supply for four decades are well-known to be highly harmful to the human body. They 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 of water contamination on Camp Lejeune residents and employees. All these studies conclude that exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune significantly increased mortality risk 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 at Camp Lejeune had elevated risks for several causes of death, including kidney, liver, esophageal, 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), part of the CDC, has been conducting comprehensive studies on the health risks of water contamination at Camp Lejeune for several decades. Many ATSDR studies show clear evidence that water contamination causes higher cancer and death rates.

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 Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Birth Defects and Injuries
  • Brain Damage
  • Cardiac Defect
  • Epilepsy
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Hepatic Steatosis
  • Immune disorders
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral Effects
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Plastic anemia (and other bone marrow conditions)
  • Renal Toxicity
  • Scleroderma

Study Links Camp Lejeune Water Contamination to Birth Defects

To this day, Camp Lejeune is an essential military base that defends our country. It is a vast 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 contamination with high levels of TCE, PCE, and other chemicals. Thousands of pregnant women lived, worked on the base, and drank 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 studied 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 congenital disabilities 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 showed a clear link between gestational exposure to PCE and TCE in the Camp Lejeune water and neural tube congenital disabilities (“NTD”).

Children exposed to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water during the first trimester of pregnancy displayed NTD birth defect rates nearly five times higher than usual. 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 in 1980 when new EPA regulations were enacted, requiring the military to perform testing for the first time.

The U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency did the testing.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 extensively test Camp Lejeune’s water supply system. 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 TCE, PCE, and benzene levels. 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 vital 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.

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 Allows Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits

The Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit’s dismissal 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 passed by 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.

Lower Burden of Proof for a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination who are hesitant to bring a claim often fear not being able to prove their claims. But there is a much easier evidentiary burden for proving causation in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit than you would have in a typical case.

To prove causation, the CLJA merely requires claimants to “produce evidence” showing that “a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.” This is referred to as “equipoise” causation, and it will be the first time this standard is applied in a civil case. Why? This is how the law was written to make it easier for veterans to make a claim.

So what will this mean for your case? It should mean that you won’t have to battle quite as hard to prove that your disease is connected to the Camp Lejeune water, even when you may have other risk factors.

You will see how this plays out as this litigation moves forward in 2023. For example, if you were a smoker, it would be challenging to prove that your lung cancer was caused by the water and not the cigarettes. Under equipoise, however, the contaminated water could be “at least as likely” as the cigarettes to be the cause.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

If the CLJA is passed by Senate and becomes law, it will potentially give 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 must file their suits within two years after the CLJA is enacted.

This bill aims to ensure victims get fair Camp Lejeune water settlement amounts as compensation. This compensation is for the suffering they have endured from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. This applies to the water contamination victims 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 establish 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 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 examining the settlement amounts in prior cases involving similar injuries.

In the Camp Lejeune cases, the primary injuries will be Parkinson’s disease, lung cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and lymphoma. Based on these last 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 tricky thing here is how to bake in the politics involved in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. This is harder to read and project because there are few similar 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 $30 billion as compensation for injury and wrongful death claims brought by Marine veterans serving our country when we spend $40 billion on Ukrainian Aid Package #7?

Moreover, the legislative intent of Congress is clearly to compensate victims fairly. 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 this trouble to serve victims half a cup of justice.

Camp Lejeune Settlements Are Likely to Go Smoothly (After Some Early Chaos)

The government will not go through the trouble of allowing victims to make a claim, only to fight them tooth and nail. So while there are no certainties in litigation, our lawyers expect a global settlement payout covering most of these Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits before a single trial.

Calculating $22 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 $22 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 $22 billion is likely a floor that can be raised if more claims come in than 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 will likely 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 yet to tell you anything 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:

Bladder Cancer – $182,500

Brain Cancer – $800,000

Breast Cancer – $250,000

Cervical Cancer – $202,500

Colon Cancer – $150,000

Kidney Cancer – $250,000

Liver Cancer – $370,000

Lung Cancer – $325,000 (non-smoker projection)

Lymphoma – $225,000

Parkinson’s Disease – $775,000 (this is low)

Esophageal Cancer – $300,000 (non-smoker projection)

Ovarian Cancer – $287,500

Leukemia – $250,000

MDS $142,500

Scleroderma $125,000

Anemia $157,500

Wrongful Death $625,000

Infertility $175,000

Birth Defects (Major) $1,125,000

This is the average per person Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts we project. These are LOW settlement compensation estimates. We do not want to set settlement payout expectations through the roof.

There will be wild variation around these averages. So even if our estimates are accurate, there will likely be claims with settlements that easily exceed $1 million for all of these cases. You can also expect settlement payouts that are less than half of this average.

The average jury payout – as opposed to a settlement – in every single one of these cases will likely be in the millions.  In February 2024, the judges have ruled that these cases will be heard and decided by a judge, not a jury. This is a bad ruling.  But it does not change our attorneys’ opinions that the verdicts in these case will be worth millions.

How Do I File a Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

Victims who meet the qualifying criteria can 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. 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 filing a civil suit against the government. In this case, that is the JAG at the Department of Navy. The new law gives the agency 6-months to 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 initial screening process. After this, reasonable Camp Lejeune settlement amounts might be made before the six-month expires, and a water contamination lawsuit can be brought. Many Camp Lejeune claims may be settled during this administrative claim process before a civil lawsuit is filed.

Our Camp Lejeune lawyers believe the CLJA administrative claim process may play out this way for two reasons. First, Congress’s intent 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.)

What Are Neurological Conditions Linked to Camp Lejune Water Contamination?

The ATSR and other studies on the effect of water contamination at Camp Lejeune have found that certain neurologic disorders, such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease, appear to be associated with exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.

Is There a Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit?

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 with a Camp Lejeune claim for their injuries. The second is a wrongful death and survival action claim for losing a loved one.

Under the new CLJA, civil lawsuits can now be brought on behalf of former employees or residents of 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 that this section will take a brief look at death claims in North Carolina.

Two 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 lawsuit against anyone who negligently or intentionally caused the decedent’s death. Some states permit any close family member to bring wrongful death claims, and North Carolina only allows the decedent’s estate to bring these claims. The personal representative of the state brings the suit 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 unavailable unless the plaintiff shows that the defendant acted maliciously.

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 they 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 estate’s personal representative on behalf of the family members for the death.

Will victims have to open an estate in North Carolina to bring a claim? Camp Lejeune lawyers had a split opinion on that issue and now we are battling with the DOJ over the issue.

Get a Camp Lejeune Lawyer to Fight for You

Our Camp Lejeune attorneys have talked to thousands of 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 one month between 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.

You can contact us today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or reach out to our Camp Lejeune lawyers online.

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