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Camp Lejeune Update Archive

Below are Camp Lejeune lawsuit updates. These are not all of the updates or the most recent updates. To the latest news, go back to our main page Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Page for December 2022 news and updates and more.

November 15, 2022 – Legacy Plaintiffs Battle Continues

Last week, the government filed a new brief on the administrative claim exhaustion issue in some of the Camp Lejeune legacy lawsuits. At issue is whether the legacy plaintiffs had to resubmit administrative claims to JAG before filing suit after the CLJA was passed.

The government has a right to fight to make the legacy plaintiffs get in the same line as everyone else. But why the government feels compelled to fight this fight is a mystery. It does not confer any advantage except allowing to avoid getting the litigation started for a few more months.

The latest “Responsive Memorandum” essentially just restates the same underlying argument made in the initial motion to dismiss, that the administrative claims filed by the legacy plaintiffs before the enactment of the CLJA “don’t count.”

The only thing new in this latest brief is a declaration from Randall D. Russell, head of the JAG Torts Claim Branch, attesting to the background of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases and the administration claims that were filed in these cases before the CLJA was passed.

November 14, 2022 – 8,000 Camp Lejuene Lawsuits

In an email response to a local media outlet in Baltimore last week, the JAG Tort Claims Unit stated that they have received 8,000 Camp Lejeune claims so far and that none of them have been adjudicated. Back in September, JAG responded to a similar inquiry and stated that they had received 5,000 CLJA claims. Our lawyers fully expect the number of claims filed with JAG to increase dramatically over the next few months as many claims will likely be filed in large group batches.

November 11, 2022 – Pre-Lawsuit Motions

Last Friday another Petition to Perpetuate Testimony was filed on behalf of a Camp Lejeune victim who probably won’t live long enough to see their CLJA lawsuit filed in court.

The Petitioner in the case, Mr. Nelson, is a Navy veteran who lived at Camp Lejeune on 3 separate occasions of about 45 days between 1983 and 1986. During that time, Nelson lived at the barracks on Hadnot Point, Holcomb Boulevard, and Camp Geiger. Mr. Nelson now has terminal prostate cancer and was recently admitted to hospice care. The Petition seeks to allow Nelson to give his deposition to give critical evidence in support of his CLJA case before he dies.

October 13, 2022 – Legacy Lawsuits

Since the CLJA was passed on August 10, 2022, nearly 80 plaintiffs have 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 28, 2022 – Pretrial Discovery

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.)

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 Lejeune 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 16, 2022

Should you bring a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit if you are already getting disability payments from the government? Victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune can bring a tort lawsuit against the government and get financial compensation even if they previously received or are receiving VA disability benefits for their injuries. Any settlement compensation awarded in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit under the CLJA may be offset or reduced by the amount of any previous VA disability awards or payments. But it will still put you in a much better position (or you would not accept the settlement amount offered).

August 15, 2022

Our lawyers see that some DD214s will incorrectly not show service at Camp Lejeune. This can happen because the Marine was stationed at a different camp. What do you do in that situation? An affidavit for the victim – or a family member – attesting to service at Lejeune should suffice.

August 12, 2022

Inspecting the final changes to the CLJA, our Camp Lejeune lawyers found another significant change. The original version of the CLJA adopted a soft evidentiary standard for demonstrating general causation. That version would have permitted reliance on a single epidemiological study.

This language would have kept attorneys out of the law-science labyrinth of what is necessary to prove causation between contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and specific types of cancer and other injuries, such as Parkinson’s disease or ALS. But at some point during the lawmaking process, this provision was removed and replaced with language that creates a normal “preponderance of the evidence” standard for proof of causation in Lejeune water cases. This means the legal-scientific burdens will be the same as any other civil lawsuit.

August 8, 2022

The PACT Act will be signed by President Biden on Wednesday in the Rose Garden.

July 27, 2022

The cloture motion to expedite the revised PACT Act is scheduled for a vote in the Senate today. The cloture motion on the first version of the PACT Act passed by a vote of 76-23 and a similar result is expected today. If the motion passes, the PACT Act will be set for a final vote tomorrow.

July 26, 2022

Yesterday we finally saw significant progress in the Senate on the final passage of the revised version of the PACT Act. After a day of debate over various amendment proposals, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) ended the day by filing a cloture motion to end any further debate over the bill and expedite the final approval vote. This is a very good indication that the bill will get passed before Congress leaves for vacation at the end of this week. A similar cloture motion was passed on the previous version of the PACT.

July 25, 2022

We finally have something on the calendar in the Senate. Today the Senate will convene at 3 p.m. to resume consideration of the House message to accompany #S3373. This is the legislative vehicle for the PACT Act. One thing that could potentially push this back is the continued political maneuvering to get the semiconductor bill moving forward. The Senate focused much of its effort last week on the so-called “chips bill” and as of the close of session on Thursday, it was still pending. We only have about a week left before Congress takes its summer recess on August 5, 2022.

July 22, 2022

We were hoping for a procedural vote on the PACT Act in the Senate yesterday to set up a full vote next week.

The need for a procedural vote is to stop Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey’s effort to stop a final vote with his proposed amendments to the House version of the PACT Act.

July 20, 2022

Our hope for a PACT Act vote in the Senate this week has been quelled by Washington’s focus on primaries in many states this week. No movement in the Senate yesterday on the latest version of the PACT Act. Many Senators have not returned to the capital after the primary elections on Tuesday.

July 19, 2022

The amended version of the PACT Act has yet to be taken up by the Senate. We may have to wait until later this week before we see any movement. Why? Lawmakers are focused on primary elections which are happening today in states around the country.

This bill is going to pass. But we have all gotten a refresher look at how the sausage gets made in Washington and it is not a pretty sight.

July 18, 2022

The amended version of the PACT Act that was passed by the House last week should be formally introduced on the Senate floor this week where it will be up for debate and approval once again.

Last time around it took the Senate nearly 3 months to eventually pass an amended version of the PACT Act. Version 1 of the PACT Act was passed by the House on March 23, 2022, and the Senate passed the amended version on June 16, 2022.

The expectation is that the Senate process will be faster this time around, hopefully with a vote this week. A new poll suggests that there is overwhelming public support for the PACT Act, with 93% of likely voters saying they support the bill.

July 15, 2022
There is talk that the PACT Act will hit the Senate floor today. But the take-home message from this reintroduction to Civics 101 for all of us is that things in Congress move slowly. But there is little opposition to this new legislation that will be a blessing for veterans far beyond just the ability to bring a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. So our expectation is the bill will pass the Senate and get signed by President Biden next week.

July 13, 2022
The U.S. House of Representatives easily passed the PACT Act last night by a vote of 342-88. This comprehensive legislation includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This law will allow victims to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. The bill now heads back to the Senate where a vote is expected tomorrow.

July 12, 2022
Congress was back from its 2-week recess yesterday. In typical fashion, they accomplished nothing. But this is how it works – many in Congress did not make it back immediately after the break.

There has not yet been any movement to report on the resolution of the blue-slip objection from the House that is stalling the final passage of the PACT Act. Hopefully, today is the day our attorneys can report some progress. The good news for those looking to bring a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is that none of the dissenters are complaining about the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This part of the bill has not generated any controversy. It seems everyone agrees tainted water victims deserve a fair settlement amount as compensation for the harm done to them.

As committee meetings resume their normal schedule throughout the week we should see some movement.

July 11, 2022
Congress is back in session today and we expect this bill to pass this week. The key hurdle, and it should be an easy one to climb, is resolving the blue slip objection that is currently preventing the final passage of the PACT Act. The objection could be resolved if the Senate simply strikes the tax exemption for VA healthcare providers who agree to relocate. Our attorneys will continue to report on the progress of the legislation this week.

July 8, 2022
Video of the blue slip PACT Act debate in the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee on June 23, 2022, features a brief statement by a frustrated Jon Tester (D-Mont.) followed by a statement by the opposition leader Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) laying out his grounds for opposing the bill. This took place the day before Congress took its 2-week recess on July 4th.

July 6, 2022
The final enactment of the PACT Act is held up by a “blue slip” privilege objection from the House over the validity of the Senate amendment adding a tax provision that only the House is authorized to issue. Blue slip objections from the House of Representatives are rarely seen. In the last 20 years, only four bills have been “blue-slipped” back to the Senate over a tax provision. The last time it happened was in June 2015.

June 30, 2022
Congress will be back in session Monday, July 11th. Getting the PACT Act back on track for the final passage should be a top priority when they return. The only aspect of the bill that is holding things up is a minor provision (unrelated to Camp Lejeune) that offers a small tax credit to VA healthcare providers who willingly relocate to underserviced locations. This was not a major part of the PACT Act and it should be easy enough to either eliminate it or revise it in a way that sidesteps the constitutional objection.

June 29, 2022
With Congress in recess, there have been no developments on the legislative front this week. The path to justice is moving slowly. Many of you are understandably frustrated with the pace of this legislation. But it should not be too much longer and it should not stop you from moving forward toward bringing your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits.

Several news outlets are reporting that the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee was working on a resolution to the blue slip objection that is currently delaying the final passage of the PACT Act. Committee Chairman Jon Tester attempted to push through the proposed fix on the Senate floor. But it was blocked Thursday evening. Members of both the House and the Senate publicly stated on Friday this is merely a delay and that there is still strong bipartisan support for the PACT Act.

June 27, 2022
Who could be against the PACT Act that stands behind the men and women who have valiantly served our country? Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was one of the 14 Senators who voted against the bill. He remains the leader of the opposition faction. Senator Toomey blocked the last-minute resolution effort by the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee on Thursday. Senator Toomey fears the bill will cost too much and overburden the VA. (This is how to contact Senator Toomey.)

June 25, 2022
Now that the revised PACT Act has been blue-slipped it has become very difficult to keep track of the legislative progress since everything now is happening in unofficial back channels. The best-case scenario now is that the Senate will strike the minor tax credit provision that prompted the blue-slip objection from the House.

July 24, 2022
The final passage of the PACT Act is still temporarily on hold as lawmakers work out the blue-slip objection asserted by the House over a constitutional technicality.

At 12:30 p.m. yesterday, Congressmen Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) gave false hope with his tweet that Congress passed the PACT Act. Unfortunately, Rep. Doyle did not have his facts straight. The House has not passed the version of the bill passed by the Senate last week. Instead, certain House members are insisting that the bill is unconstitutional because of a minor provision that creates tax credits for some VA healthcare providers. Now the bill is on its way back to the Senate with a request that this provision is removed.

Our Camp Lejeune attorneys remain soundly optimistic that the bill will eventually be passed. Blue slip objections like this are generally just technical delays.

June 23, 2022

A final vote by the House on approval of the amended version of the PACT Act was supposed to happen yesterday, which would have allowed President Biden to sign it before the July 4th recess. This timeline has been now been derailed, however, by technical objections over the constitutional validity of the bill. One of the amendments added by the Senate was a provision giving VA doctors a tax benefit if they agreed to relocate to underserved, rural locations.

A group of House lawmakers claimed that this was an improper “tax provision” from the Senate because all tax and revenue laws must originate in the House. Now they are raising a “blue slip” objection which will likely send the bill back to the Senate for correction. It will still eventually be passed, but now the timeline is pushed back another month most likely.

June 22, 2022
The House Rules Committee was scheduled to vote yesterday afternoon on whether to advance the amended version of the Honoring Our Pact Act passed by the Senate (H.R. 3967). Unfortunately, that did not happen and consideration of the PACT Act was formally postponed until recalled by the Chair of the Committee. The Senate version of the bill is in danger of being rejected by the House. This is a prime example of why most of us hate politics. A straight line is never the path. This bill will get passed. The Committee just ran out of time yesterday and pushed the PACT Act vote back.

June 21, 2022
The House is scheduled to vote on whether to approve and pass the amended version of the Honoring Our Pact Act. The approval vote appears to be a mere formality. When passed, the bill could be signed into law by President Biden by the end of the week, opening the door for thousands of victims to seek justice via a Camp Lejeune lawsuit to get a jury verdict or a fair settlement amount from the government.

June 20, 2022
The slightly revised version of the Honoring Our Pact Act that was passed by the Senate last week now needs to be approved by the House. This is pretty much a lock to happen considering the House previously passed almost the same bill back in March 2022, by a wide margin. None of the changes adopted by the Senate are highly controversial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) has said the House will move quickly to get this bill passed, presumably this week. So, hopefully soon, our lawyers will be providing Zantac water contamination lawsuit updates instead of legislative updates.

June 14, 2022 Update
The Senate is now set to take a final vote this week on the passage of the Honoring Our Pact Act (HOPA) and all indications are that the bill will be passed by a wide margin.

June 13, 2022 Update
Last week, the Senate voted 86-17 in favor of a cloture motion to proceed on the bill. This means that the Senate agreed to limit debate over the bill and effectively fast-track its consideration for the final approval vote.

This does not necessarily mean that the bill will pass a final vote, but it is a very positive indication.

Senator Patty Murry (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday about the importance of passing the HOPA. Senator Murry’s comments about the importance of passing the HOPA bill generally mirrored those previously cited by her Republican colleague, Marco Rubio (R-FL), last month when announcing his support for the bill.

June 8, 2022 Update
There has been no progress on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act since the shootings in Uvalde, Texas. The hope was that the bill would be passed by the Senate last week after Memorial Day. But these shootings have put many legislative initiatives on the back burner for the moment, including this one.

Most Camp Lejeune lawyers are confident this bill will soon be passed by the Senate. But you may want to remind your senators of the importance of this bill to military families who have served this country.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Let’s look at a few of these Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits because they are a harbinger of what is to come if this new law passes.

Jones v. United States
In Jul7 2007, Laura J. Jones filed the first Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. After first filing an administrative complaint with the Department of the Navy (as required to bring a Federal Tort Claim Act case), Jones filed a Camp Lejeune lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Jones was the wife of a Marine Corps Corporal and she and her husband lived in base housing at Camp Lejeune from 1980 to 1983. The house that Jones and her husband lived in received its drinking water supply from one of the contaminated water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune.

In her Camp Lejeune lawsuit, Jones alleged that she was exposed to carcinogenic chemicals in the water supply at the Marine base, including TCE, PCE, DCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene. These are the same operative facts you will see in the soon-to-be-filed water contamination lawsuits at Camp Lejeune. Jones claimed her exposure to these toxic chemicals led her to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

The government immediately filed a motion to dismiss the Jones case, arguing that her claims were time-barred under the Federal Tort Claims Act’s statute of limitations. Specifically, the government asserted that Jones should have been on inquiry notice as early as 2005 because by that time there were numerous media reports about the Camp Lejeune water contamination issues.

The District Court denied the motion to dismiss based on the FTCA statute of limitations. The court ruled Jones could not have been on notice of her potential claim in 2005 because the USMC did not do enough to inform people.

Shriberg v. United States

In January 2011, Joel Shriberg filed a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit against the U.S. Government in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Shriberg was a former Marine with 155th Howitzer Battalion, and he served as a clerk at Camp Lejeune and lived on base from 1957 to 1959.

In 2004, Shriberg was diagnosed with a rare form of male breast cancer that spread to his lungs. Shriberg had no family history of breast cancer or any other risk factors. Several experts concluded that his cancer was likely caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

In his toxic water lawsuit, Shriberg alleged that the government had a duty to provide Camp Lejeune with a safe drinking water supply. Shriberg claims that the USMC breached this duty by failing to provide a safe water supply, failing to properly test the water, ignoring early reports of contamination, and then covering up the existence of the contamination.

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