ACCEPTING CAMP LEJEUNE CASES NATIONWIDE

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Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Kelly Peterson, PhD
Medical Review By: John Boxberger, PhD
Camp Lejeune Deadline - August 10, 2024
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Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Overview

Opened in 1942, Camp Lejeune is a large Marine Corps base and military training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Camp Lejeune has been used by various branches of the army as a base where marines and sailors prepare for combat and humanitarian missions abroad.

Since its founding, Camp Lejeune has housed hundreds of thousands people (military personnel and their families, as well as civilian workers and contractors).

Camp Lejeune has its own public water system, which in the 1980s was found to be contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times levels now considered safe.

Former residents, who were exposed to the dangerous chemicals between 1953 and 1987, later developed different types of cancer and other serious diseases. They claim that USMC knew about the Camp Lejeune water contamination and failed to either resolve it or notify the residents.

The Camp Lejeune base is is still used to this day.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates 2024

July 9, 2024: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Advances with Selection of 25 Plaintiffs for Track 1 Trials

On July 9, 2024, the Court issued an order confirming the 25 plaintiffs who will go to trial in Track 1 in the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit. The Track 1 cases involve Bladder Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Parkinson’s Disease. This represents a major step forward in the litigation. We now know the cases that will be tried, and the order sets a concrete timeline. The Court ordered that the discovery period for the 25 plaintiffs conclude on August 11, 2024. Our firm represents one of the claimants selected for trial, a Marine diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after a distinguished lifetime of service to our country. We expect trial dates to be announced in the coming weeks.

June 5, 2024: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Moves Towards Trial Selection

On June 3, 2024, attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defense in the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit submitted a joint memorandum to the court to begin selecting which plaintiffs with Track 1 injuries will go to trial. Track 1 is made up of five injuries: kidney cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Parkinson’s Disease. Five cases will be selected from the Plaintiff Trial Pool for each of the five Track 1 injuries. The Plaintiff’s Leadership Group (“PLG”) will select three plaintiffs, and the defense will select two. Both parties feel this joint proposal will be beneficial if ordered by the court. They argue it will promote a more efficient use of resources and will give plaintiffs certainty by letting them know they no longer have to worry about going to trial, or to allow them to begin preparing for trial. The Court is expected to decide on this issue soon.

May 5, 2024: Key Developments at Latest Status Conference in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Judge Robert Jones presided over a status conference in the Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit on Friday, April 26, 2024. A status conference is a time where the lawyers meet with the judge to discuss issues that must be addressed to keep the cases moving towards trial and settlement. Several motions were discussed, including the Plaintiffs’ motion for Certification of the Jury Trial Issue, which is required to appeal the decision that there will not be jury trials in this lawsuit. The Plaintiffs have also moved for Partial Summary Judgment regarding causation—they argue that if it can be shown that an illness may be caused by exposure to toxic water and a plaintiff was at Camp Lejeune for 30 days, they are entitled by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to win the case. Finally, the parties agreed that there should be an evidence depository, where the government could put evidence. The next status conference is scheduled for May 16, 2024.

March 1, 2024: Track Two Trial Diseases Announced

The court established the Camp Lejeune lawsuit “Track 1 Illnesses” in Case Management Order 2, specifically (1) bladder cancer, (2) kidney cancer, (3) leukemia, (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This week the Court announced the Discovery Pool for Camp Lejeune Track 2 shall include Plaintiffs alleging: (I) prostate cancer; (2)kidney disease; (3) lung cancer; (4) liver cancer; or (5) breast cancer. The Court was sure to note: “The selection does not assess the merits of these or other CLJA actions. Rather, the selection focuses on illnesses for which early trials may help to promote early resolution for common illnesses.

February 29, 2024: Important Ruling on Estates in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

In a long anticipated ruling that has held up probate work for many Camp Lejeune lawyers, the judges overseeing hte case finally gave some clarity to the issue of estates. In this particular case, to legally file a claim in the Camp Lejeune litigation for a deceased loved one, a person must be legally appointed to represent the deceased. Additionally, should any monetary award be paid, an estate must be opened to receive the funds. It is then distributed just like any other asset. Because the litigation is in North Carolina, and most of the plaintiff’s died outside of the state, would an ancillary estate have to be opened in NC? The judges said no. Our firm is working with all of our clients in this position to properly appoint a representative and open an estate where the individual passed away.

February 25, 2024: Plaintiff’s ask judge to force government to turn over original ATSDR files

The ATSDR was the groundbreaking study completed in 2017 that set the stage for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The water modeling study looked at the history of the contamination on the base from 1953 to 1987. The Plaintiff’s want the original documents and research that were used to complete the study. The government is proposing sending it in pieces, making it largely unusable. The Plaintiff’s lawyers are asking the judge to order the government to produce the documents in their original and native format for transparency.

February 17, 2024: Jury Trial Ruling Appealed

The plaintiff’s leadership has appealed the ruling for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit judges striking the right to a jury trials. The appeal asks for the Court to consider allowing the litigation to continue while a narrow and immediate appeal is considered. A typical appeal would stop all proceedings and would significantly slow the progress of the case. We expect to Court to make a decision rather quickly.

February 16, 2024: Camp Lejeune Trial Update

The question remains as to whether the plaintiff’s will appeal the ruling of the four Camp Lejeune judges striking the right to jury trials. An appeal could take up to a year or more, further delaying payments to veterans who have already waited long enough. Having the judges in full control of the pace of the trials may get marines and their families paid faster. The other interesting piece is that the judges would have full and complete knowledge of the background and science of the case and would not need to be educated like juries would, saving both time and resources. Camp Lejeune trials could start as soon as the Fall of 2024.

February 9, 2024: Appeal expected in Camp Lejeune Jury Trial Ruling

Lawyers representing Camp Lejeune water contamination victims are likely to appeal the decision by the four judges overseeing the lawsuit striking the right to a jury trial. In an announcement, the group noted that while they will appeal, the understand the need to continue to press forward in order to get justice for those affected by the water contamination. The lawyers believe that Congress intended for plaintiff’s to have the right to a jury trial.

February 7, 2024: Judges Will Not Allow Jury Trials in Camp Lejeune Cases

In a major development, the four federal district court judges granted the government’s motion to strike the right to a jury trial by Camp Lejeune plaintiffs. The judges wrote a 34 page order in which they determined that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act did not expressly grant such a right, despite the language of the law stating “Nothing in this subsection shall impair the right of any party to a trial by jury.” This ruling has raised a lot of eyebrows, among both veterans and lawyers. It is unclear as to the thinking of the Court, especially given the legislative intent of the law.

What does this mean? The ruling could be appealed, however that would likely add significant delays to the process. Time will tell, but on the surface this indicates that all trials will be “bench trials” where a single judge will rule on a case and will make a determination on any monetary award to the plaintiff. Historically, juries have awarded significantly higher amounts than judges in bench trials. This could ultimately lower the value of all cases. However, there may be a silver lining to this. The judges have indicated that they would like to see a global settlement as soon as possible. Having the judges in full control of the pace of the litigation and the outcomes could result in veterans getting paid sooner rather than later. There will certainly be more to report on in the coming days.

February 1, 2024: Major Groundbreaking Study Links More Cancer’s To Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

In the midst of the pretrial phase of the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, a bombshell study was released on January 31, 2024. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has issued another report linking presence at Camp Lejeune to increased risk of cancer. The study focused on marines and civilians at Camp Lejeune military between 1975 and 1985, and compared them to those who spent their time at Camp Pendleton. The study found higher rates of cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma and throat, lung, breast, thyroid, and esophagus cancers.

The ATSDR is closely linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report indicates that contamination on the base was linked to fuel leaks, dumping of toxic waste at several locations on the base and a toxic plume from a nearby dry cleaner. It has been our position that the contamination at Lejeune is simply the most well-known and illustrative of a larger problem of military base contamination throughout the United States. Fuel leaks, toxic dumping and training with fire fighting foam have lead to confirmed contamination of hundreds of military bases and installations. The most common contaminants include TCE, PCE, Benzene and PFAS. The clock is now ticking for those exposed to contaminated water to become part of the Camp Lejeune lawsuit. All initial administrative claim filings must be submitted by August 10, 2024.

January 14, 2024: Track 1 Trial Progress

The wheels are in motion for the first set of Camp Lejeune water contamination trials. Our firm is one of approximately two dozen in the country to have a client selected for the bellwether trial pool. Only 100 plaintiff’s have been selected to be part of this process in Track 1. There are expected to be 2 to 3 tracks, each with different diagnoses. Our team has spent the past several months compiling extremely detailed information about our clients case as part of the discovery process. During this stage of information exchange between parties, our firm was required to produce all evidence that we have collected so far regarding our client to the DOJ. We were also required to complete and submit a Discovery Pool Plaintiff Profile Form (DPPPF) detailing our client’s full history including health, family, employment, military service, and more. Our client, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1998 after a long and distinguished career and a Marine, will be scheduled for a deposition in the coming weeks where he will be interviewed and give a sworn statement to DOJ lawyers. There are likely to be hundred’s of thousands of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits when all is said and done, however, just a handful will go to trial. The parties are working on a global settlement process to resolve the remaining cases based on the circumstances of their injuries and exposure.

January 10, 2024: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Status Conference Update

On January 9, 2024, Judge Robert Jones presided over a Camp Lejeune water contamination Lawsuit status conference update.

Depositions: The parties informed the Court that depositions of Track 1 Camp Lejeune bellwether plaintiff’s have begun, with others scheduled to take place in the near future. In this case, depositions are sworn interviews by the plaintiff conducted by government lawyers used to gather information during the pre-trial discovery process.

Motions Pending: Previously, the government made a motion to the Court to make a ruling that trials should not be allowed for Camp Lejeune claimants because the law does not expressly call for that right. The plaintiff’s argue that the the CLJA was written by Congress to allow individuals to sue the government in federal court, and which includes the right to a jury trial. The other outstanding issue deals with who qualifies as a legal representative for a deceased claimant. There has been much discussion about the process required for family members or next of kin to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit on behalf of their loved one. This is a very important issue that likely affects about half of the cases that will ultimately be filed.

Track 1 Plaintiff Profile Forms: All plaintiff’s chosen for Camp Lejeune Track 1 bellwether trials have until January 19, 2024, to file a Discovery Pool Plaintiff Profile Form (DPPPF). This 18 page questionnaire includes approximately 100 questions ranging from personal information, to medical history, financial history, to military history, and more.

The next Camp Lejeune update conference is scheduled for January 23, 2024, in Wilmington, NC.

January 3, 2024: Who is your camp lejeune lawyer?

Our firm has been selected as a Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit bellwether trial pick. In a very large litigation such as the Camp Lejeune lawsuit, a very small number of cases are chosen for trial. Only a few firms have been selected to have one of their cases go to court. Many firms are advertising that they take Camp Lejeune claims. Most of those law firms cannot handle Camp Lejeune lawsuits on their own because they are not licensed to practice in the Eastern District of North Carolina. In fact, many firms and marketers are just referring cases to one of the big firms. We are handling our cases here in-house at King Law. Although 150,000 claim forms have been filed, only about 1,500 lawsuits have been filed. In late 2023 the judges issued an order with the first 100 cases that would proceed to court in the Camp Lejeune lawsuit. These bellwether picks are representative of all the cases, meaning the outcomes of these cases will affect all others. The plaintiffs and government will exchange information known as discovery. The first deposition of the government’s witnesses has already occurred and the first several plaintiffs will be deposed this month.

If you are looking for a Camp Lejeune lawyer, most of the time your call will be answered by an intake agent likely to sell your case. I recommend asking the person that answers the phone: What law firm do you work for? Do you refer cases to other law firms? How many cases does your law firm have? How many claim forms have you filed? How many lawsuits have you filed? Is your firm involved in the Bellwether trial process?

A firm that is not involved in the Bellwether process is not at the center of this case. If they haven’t filed any lawsuits yet, they are not at the center of the case. If the person on the phone doesn’t know who they work for – they are a marketing firm – and your case is getting sold to a bigger firm. Therefore, you have no control over who your lawyer is.

January 1, 2024: 150,000 Administrative Claims Filed

The Department of the Navy has created a secure storage system to receive and store sensitive and personally identifiable documents for purposes of evaluating Camp Lejeune claims. The Navy has also established two paths for assessing claims. The first option is accepting “fully developed” claims from the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s counsel. The second is made possible by an agreement made with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs allowing the Navy to have direct access to databases containing information to assess claims. It is now estimated that more than 150,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims have been filed. The number of actual lawsuits stands at approximately 1,500, just 1% of of the number of claims filed. This number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming months.

December 18, 2023: Government Continues to fight against jury trials

On December 18, 2023, the government filed its most recent opposition to the right to a jury trial in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. They argue that “[a] plaintiff in an action against the United States has a right to trial by jury only where Congress has affirmatively and unambiguously granted that right by statute.” Lehman v. Nakshian, 453 U.S. 156, 168 (1981) and that “The CLJA contains no such affirmative and unambiguous grant, and thus provides no jury trial right.” It remains to be seen what happens here, however the spirit of the law created by congress is quite clear – relief – as fast as possible for veterans and their families affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

December 3, 2023: Plaintiffs Selected for Possible Track 1 Trials

As part of the plan to choose cases for Camp Lejeune bellwether trials (test cases), leadership for the Plaintiff’s and Defense were directed by the Court to choose 10 cases each for each Track 1 disease for consideration for the discovery pool. 100 cases were chosen to total, 20 for each disease including Bladder Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and Parkinson’s Disease. These cases will proceed through the discovery phase where parties will exchange all available information regarding the case. Eventually, a handful of these 100 Camp Lejeune cases will be chosen by the judges for trial, which are expected to begin in 2024.

December 3, 2023: COurt Approves Discovery Pool Plaintiff Profile Form

The Court overseeing the Camp Lejeune “class action” style lawsuit, issued an order approving the 2023.11.29-Dkt.-62-1-Ex.-A-Corrected-Discovery-Pool-Profile-Form which will be used in choosing bellwether trials (or test cases) for Track 1 diseases including Bladder Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This 18 page document requires detailed information regarding the plaintiffs personal and family details, service information, medical conditions to which they claim were caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, specifics regarding their time spent at Camp Lejeune, medical history, economic loss, and financial information relating to any bankruptcies or disability benefits. The deadline to be considered as a bellwether case for track 1 has passed, and trials are expected to take place in 2024.

November 20, 2023: Joint Status Report Filed in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

On November 14, 2023, the parties filed a joint status report in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

Update on Number of Administrative Claims Filed with DON
Roughly 129,000 administrative claims have been filed with the Department of the Navy. The Navy continues to work on implementing a database to analyze claims for potential settlement. The Navy and the VA have entered into an agreement which will allow the Navy access to the VA database for information pertaining to claims.

Update on Number of Complaints Filed in Court
1,419 short-form complaints (SFC) have been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The SFC is a filing by a plaintiff initiating a lawsuit. The cases are equally distributed among each of the four judges overseeing the litigation. This is still a very small number based on the number of administrative claims filed, but a significant jump since the last status update.

Update on Individual and Global Settlement Efforts
The parties continue to collaborate on developing a questionnaire to determine certain plaintiff facts. They groups have also continued development of a “resolution roadmap.”

As to the government’s Elective Option (EO), just a handful of offers have been made and only 4 cases have been paid, totaling 1 million dollars. The court is sure to be discouraged by the slow pace of this resolution option.

While we are still a long way from seeing the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit come to a close, progress, albeit slow, continues to be made.

November 18, 2023: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit – Do You Need to open an estate for a deceased family member?

One of the lingering issues for the Plaintiff’s revolves around how estates will be handled for claimants with a deceased family member. Typically, an estate will need to be opened for the purpose of receiving a settlement. The confusion comes from whether this should be handled by North Carolina law with respect to wrongful death cases or if federal common law should apply. The plaintiff’s point out that in some states, such as Florida, the cost of opening an estate can be upwards of $7,000. Ultimately, the plaintiff would have to pay for that. The attorney’s are asking the court to make a ruling as to how these estates will be handled in the most efficient and cost effective way for the claimants.

November 12, 2023: Camp Lejeune Elective Option Settlement Offers

The Plaintiff’s lawyers indicated that they were not invited to be any part of the Elective Option (EO) development process, and that it was a “secret” to them. Plaintiff’s told the court they would have appreciated the opportunity to be involved so that it could be applicable to more people. Currently, the latency requirement of 35 years between last exposure and diagnosis eliminates more than 97% of our clients at King Law.

The Government states that out of the 117,000 claims filed thus far, they have made 23 settlement offers. Three have been accepted and two have been paid. The amounts were $250,000, $300,000 and $300,000. One judge was sure to emphasize the slow progress of offers stating, “So far you’ve had three (settlements accepted) and you said there are 120,000 claims?”

The other issue at hand with EO cases is that the attorney is required to sign a waiver that they understand the offer is being accepted as part of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The Plaintiff’s disagree, and believe that offers cannot be made under the FTCA, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a standalone bill where federal common law applies. Judge Myers noted that the court needs a case of controversy in which to rule upon and requested the Plaintiff’s brief a case and bring it before the court for a ruling.

November 10, 2023: Plaintiff’s Demand Access to Discovery and Databases

In a lawsuit, discovery is the exchange of information and documents between parties, in the case the Government and the Plaintiff’s. The open exchange of information allows parties to be on equal footing in a case, without one party having access to relevant information which the other party may have. The most pressing matter here for the Plaintiffs is that the Government has not given them full access to the ATSDR study, including at least 6 databases on which the study is based, and the drafts prior to its final publication. The plaintiffs argue that access to the military personnel databases will allow them to prove upwards of 90% of their clients were on the base and when. This is particularly important for people who have passed away. The Plaintiff’s also argue that when choosing bellwether cases, the Government has access to these databases which the Plaintiff’s do not, giving them an advantage. The Government alleges that there is personal information about individuals on which the study was based that would be inappropriate to release. Here, the Court questioned that logic noting this is not dissimilar to other cases where information is exchanged and kept private through a protective order.

November 8, 2023: Plaintiff’s and Government Disagree Over Camp Lejeune Exposure Model

The ATSDR study, published in 2017, reported on the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. It is the largest epidemiologic study ever done in the U.S. The ATSDR used a “base wide model”, meaning that no matter where a person lived or worked on the base, they were deemed to have been exposed equally. The “site specific model” gets more granular. It focuses on people who lived or worked in areas serviced by Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants as having higher levels of exposure. The government’s position is that the causation is more strongly connected for this group. The plaintiffs argue that Marine’s and their families were exposed everywhere on base, regardless of where they lived or worked. Interestingly, the Government used the base-wide model in crafting its Early Settlement (EO) option. The Plaintiff’s lawyers argue that if each person were to have to prove their exposure by where they lived or worked through independent epidemiological studies, it would take more than 3x the length of the Roman Empire to complete the trials. The Plaintiff’s recently asked the court to address the issue specifically. The ruling will have a major impact on the burden placed on each plaintiff in proving their case.

November 7, 2023: Status of Bellwether Trials and Short Form Complaint Filings

The short Form Complaint for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit was released in September of 2023. This is the document that attorneys use to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of a plaintiff. Judge Dever noted that only 47 Short Form Complaints have been filed. This was of concern to the court because it is important for there to be a large pool of clients to choose from for the test trials (bellwether trials) scheduled to begin in 2024. Dever’s main point was that with a small sample to choose from, they may not be representative of the plaintiff’s as a whole. The Plaintiff’s attorney’s assured the judge that many more will be filed shortly, citing the need to communicate directly with each client prior to initiating the lawsuit. Judge Dever also made note that ” I am here ready and willing and able, hopefully, to try cases when the time comes. And that time will come sooner rather than later.” This gives us insight that the judge’s will push hard to move the process along quickly.

November 6, 2023: Update on Number of Camp Lejeune Claims Filed

The Government reports that there are 1,309 Camp Lejeune lawsuit cases before the court, a little over 300 with each of the four presiding judges. Additionally, there are now approximately 117,000 administrative claims on file with the Department of the Navy. The Navy is currently working on a database system that will help streamline the filing, organizing, and analyzing of the Camp Lejeune claims for purposes of evaluation for settlement. They expect it to be online “fairly soon.”

October 27, 2023: Plaintiffs and Government File Global Settlement Progress Update

On October 26, 2023, both parties filed a joint status update regarding global resolution discussions. As directed by the Court in Case Management Order No. 2, the Plaintiff’s Leadership Committee and the Government are required to meet regularly to work towards an overall resolution and settlement process. In this insightful update, the parties highlighted several key updates.

1. The parties are working together on a questionnaire to establish data fields for what could become a resolution or settlement “matrix.” This matrix would be used to identify enhancements to a case that might make it more valuable, such as length of exposure, medical diagnosis, age at time of diagnosis, severity of diagnosis, etc. It will also include detractors that might make a case less valuable such as lack of sufficient evidence, whether the claimant was a smoker or abused alcohol, preexisting medical conditions, etc. The fact that they are working on this document is very encouraging.

2.The parties are also working on a questionnaire and data fields for the diseases set for trial under Track 1. The Resolution Committee and the Science Committee are working with medical experts and expect to have a draft by November 10, 2023.

3. With respect to the possible settlement matrix, the parties are negotiating what type of documentation will be sufficient to establish the time that a claimant spent on base at Camp Lejeune, and which party (Plaintiff or Defendant) must provide the documentation.

4. The parties are separately interviewing several vendors to create a system to house all of this data electronically. They are now working on coordinating the vendor selection process.

The good news is that both parties are working on a process that may ultimately create an efficient and simplified resolution process. This is interesting to watch unfold as one would not normally see Plaintiff and Defendant working so closely and so early on the process toward a common goal.

October 4, 2023: Camp Lejeune Trial Date Status

The panel of four federal court judges overseeing the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, in a Case Management Order (CMO) issued on September 26, 2023, directed the parties to be ready for trial in 2024. The Court, in this and other filings, has made it clear that they are not happy with the pace of the litigation and the lack of eagerness by the government and Navy to resolve the issue in a timely manner. While the government has created an early settlement structure, in reality it applies to a tiny percentage of people. While this litigation will take time, likely at least another 1 to 2 years, it is expected to progress faster than most similar lawsuits. This is due to significant pressure advocacy by plaintiff’s lawyers over the past several years, in addition to widespread coverage by the media. Those affected by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune have until August 9, 2024, to file an initial administrative claim. 2024 is shaping up to be a fast and furious year in this lawsuit.

>>> Read Past Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates Here

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

From 1953-1987 the United States Marine Corps (USMC) training facility at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina exposed service members, their families, and civilian workers to contaminated drinking, cooking, and bathing water.

Industrial waste, pesticides, solvents, and other chemicals were buried in the ground or dumped into storm drains. These chemicals leeched into the water supply from junkyards, fuel supplies, and a dry cleaner located near the base and were ingested by the residents, causing serious health problems. Amongst the most common marine corps camp lejeune water contamination health effects are:

  • Various cancers
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriages 
  • Birth defects and development problems  
  • Heart disease 

In many cases, the chemical concentrations were thousands of times higher than safe levels. The United States government knew about the contamination and failed to act.

It is estimated that more than one million civilian workers, military service members, and their families may have been exposed to the contaminated water supply. Victims may now be eligible to receive lump sum financial settlements under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

On this page:

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Lawyers

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a bill which allows victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits in federal court to recover a financial settlement for damages. The bill was signed into law in August of 2022, by President Biden. The act differs from previous bills and allows for financial compensation beyond VA healthcare and disability benefits. Veteran’s and their families were previously blocked from suing due to North Carolina’s 10-year statute of limitations. This was upheld by the Supteme Court in 2014. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act creates new law which allows individuals affected by the contamination to sue regardless of when they leaned about their exposure. Claimants have a two-year period from the signing of the Act to file an administrative claim. This window will expire on August 10, 2024.

Widows of veterans like Dawn Green in the video above are just one of the many tragic stories caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. With the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a widow like Dawn is able to file a lawsuit for the pain and suffering his husband’s death has caused. These stories continue to fuel the passion King Law feels for helping the Camp Lejeune victims.

Call King Law at (585) 535-9114 or fill out the form on the right side of this page to get started on your claim.

What to consider when hiring a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer:

When choosing a Camp Lejeune law firm, consider the following: 

  • Free case evaluation
  • Related experience 
  • Client reviews 

At King Law, we are a team of experienced personal injury lawyers, who take great pride in helping people who have been wronged to get the compensation they deserve. 

Contact us for a case evaluation and we will help you determine if you’re eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

What caused the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

Contaminated water draining from pipe at Camp Lejeune

Beginning in the early 1980’s it was discovered that several water supplies at the Camp Lejeune Marine base were contaminated with toxic chemicals. From the very opening of the Camp Lejeune military base in 1942, dangerous chemicals began to seep into the water systems supplied by Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants. These plants served enlisted family housing, barracks, administrative offices, schools, and recreational areas, and the hospital.

Water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant, which began operation in 1952, was primarily contaminated by the waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning establishment. This plant provided water to:

  • Tarawa Terrace family housing
  • Knox trailer park

The Tarawa Terrace plant was shut down in 1987.

Water from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant, established during the construction of Camp Lejeune in 1942, was contaminated primarily by leaking underground storage tanks, industrial waste, and other disposal sites. More than 800,000 gallons of fuel may have leaked in the ground. This plant generally served:

  • Mainside barracks
  • Hospital Point family housing
  • Family housing at Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor until June 1972

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Map

Much of the contamination came from the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants. Anyone who used the water for drinking, bathing, cooking, and even swimming, was potentially exposed. Most of the contaminated wells were shut down in 1985 when cleanup efforts began.

What chemicals were in the water at Camp Lejeune?

Numerous studies have been done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease (ATSDR) that link exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to many diseases, including several types of cancer.

The primary chemicals found in the water were:

  • Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Benzene
  • DCE (trans-1,2-dichloroethylene)

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Chemicals and Levels

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

Former Marines and their families who lived in Tarawa Terrace family housing between 1957 and 1987 were exposed to drinking water contaminated with the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE). Levels of PCE in the drinking water during this period were 43 times higher than the amount currently allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Studies suggest a link between exposure to PCE for extended periods may lead to an increased risk of illnesses, including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or multiple myeloma.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The Hadnot point plant, mostly contaminated by the dumping and burial of volatile chemical compounds, was found to have TCE (trichloroethylene) as the main contaminant. TCE is used primarily to make refrigerants and other hydrofluorocarbons, as well as a degreasing solvent for metal equipment. Maximum TCE level detected in drinking water was 1,400 parts per billion (ppb) in May 1982. For comparison, this is 280 times higher than the current limit for TCE in drinking water of 5 ppb. Kidney cancer is caused by prolonged exposure to trichloroethylene and some studies also suggest an increased risk of liver cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Vinyl chloride

Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen that is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, plastic kitchen utensils, vehicle upholstery and wire coatings. Prolonged exposure to vinyl chloride increases the risk of hepatic angiosarcoma, a rare form of liver cancer, as well as lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer and lung cancer. Exposure to Vinyl chloride at Camp Lejuene is tied to the Hadnot point plant.

Benzene

Benzene is primarily used to create plastics, resins, synthetic fibers and nylon. Long-term exposure to benzene impacts the blood and is linked to cancers including leukemia and other cancers of the blood-forming organs. Benzene was one of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that was found at the Hadnot point plant.

DCE (trans 1,2-dichloroethylene)

In addition to TCE, the Hadnot Point plant also detected the contaminant of DCE (trans 1,2-dichloroethylene). The maximum amount of DCE detected was 407 ppb in January 1985. The current standard for safe drinking water for DCE is 7 ppb. Unfortunately, there have not been sufficient studies to determine the carcinogenicity of DCE.

Mercury

In September 2012, twelve pounds of mercury was found at Hadnot Point Water Treatment plant which was shut down for several weeks for cleanup. It is suspected that the source of the contamination is linked to water pressure meters containing mercury which were removed in the 1980’s. Symptoms of mercury exposure include increased blood pressure, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, sore throat, coughing, nausea, and vision problems. Pregnant woman can also pass mercury on to unborn children. Those who were exposed to mercury at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 may be eligible for compensation.

Health Effects Of Contaminated Drinking Water At Camp Lejeune Caused by Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

Prolonged and recurring exposure to the chemicals of tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride and benzene through the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is tied to a number of conditions. These conditions include various types of cancer, birth defects, infertility and other diseases. A list of presumptive conditions related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune was made available by the Department of Veteran Affairs in 2012. These conditions include:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Additional diseases connected with the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:

  • Birth defects (including underdeveloped organs)
  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiac Defect
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriages
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome
  • Neurological Issues
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Renal Toxity

Discuss your case during a free consultation. Call King Law at (585) 535-9114 to get started on your claim.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Timeline

The Marine Corps military base and training facility of Camp Lejeune has an over 80 year history. Listed below is the timeline since the start of the water contamination to the present day.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Timeline

1942 | Camp Lejeune Opens

In April of 1941 congress approved the construction of the military base. The base opened in 1942 and was named the Marine Barracks Camp Lejeune to honor the 13th Commandant and Commanding General of the 2nd Army Division in World War I, Major General John A. Lejeune.

1953 | Water supplies begin to be contaminated at Hadnot Point

An off-base dry cleaner, ABC One Hour Drycleaner opens and begins to dump waste directly across the street from Tarawa Terrace. By August of 1953, water was contaminated with toxic chemicals. This is the point in which the eligibility period begins under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

1982 | Military discovers contamination

In May of 1982, maximum TCE levels were detected at Hadnot Point. PCE, DCE, vinyl chloride and benzene are also detected. The sources of contamination were leaking underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites.

1985 | Water wells and supply plants begin to be shut down

Almost 3 years later, the most contaminated wells at Hadnot Point were shut down in February of 1985. Maximum PCE levels at Tarawa Terrace are detected at this time with the most contaminated wells also shutting down.

2012 | Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012

In 2012, the Camp Lejeune Families Act was passed that provides free healthcare for certain conditions to Veterans who served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Veterans must also have developed one of the eight presumptive illnesses including leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Parkinson’s disease.

2022 | Camp Lejeune Justice Act is passed by the Senate

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 was passed by the United States Senate on June 16, 2022. This bill received bipartisan support and would provide former residents, veterans, civilians and their families the ability to file a lawsuit in federal court to recover a financial settlement for damages. The bill will become law once signed by the President.

2022 | Camp Lejeune Justice Act Becomes Law

The Camp Lejeune Act was passed by Congress and was signed into law by the President on August 10, 2022. Individuals must file a claim within two years of the passage of the law. It is expected that tens-of-thousands of Camp Lejeune lawsuits will be filed and the process is anticipated to take several years to resolve.

2023 | First Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Filed

The first Camp Lejeune lawsuit was filed on February 10, 2023 in the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court.

Am I Eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

To be eligible for a settlement, a person must have lived, worked, served, or have been present at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and developed some type of harm (such as cancer or other conditions) due to the base’s contaminated water. Unborn children whose mother served, lived, or worked at the base while she was carrying the child may also be eligible.

Camp Lejeune Settlement Amounts

It will take some time until an average Camp Lejeune payout can be calculated, since no cases have been concluded yet. Many factors will be taken into consideration including the type and severity of harm you suffered, your time spent on base, and more. Lawsuit settlements may also cover pain and suffering, loss of income, medical bills, legal fees and more.

Many in the legal community expect the Camp Lejeune settlements to reach several hundred thousand dollars. In general, court settlements reflect actual economic loss, like time missed from work and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can mean actual physical pain due to injuries or diseases or mental anguish, uncertainty and fear.

It is very difficult to assess the value of a victim’s pain and suffering, especially in cases that involve serious medical conditions, like those caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. One way that lawyers estimate case values is by looking at what other cases have settled for with similar injuries.

Camp Lejeune Claim Process

We expect that the law will give claimants two years to file a lawsuit or claim and that a Federal Judge will preside over an organized litigation. That process is designed to make the exchange of information between the parties more efficient.

The first step in the Camp Lejeune lawsuit will be discovery, which is the exchange of information.

After discovery the government and lawyer for the victims will write several briefs and memorandums to the presiding Judge about how the law should be interpreted. This process is called motions.

Following discovery and motions we expect one or more bellwether trials. A bellwether trial is the first trial in a an organized litigation. It is used so that both sides can test the issues, and most importantly assess the potential value in all of the other claims. Typically a jury will return a verdict in a Bellwether trial and that will help set the value for other similar cases.

Following a bellwether trial, the parties will attempt to value the remaining cases and resolve them with settlements acceptable to both sides.

How to File a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim

All claims will go through at least three stages – preliminary investigation, filing of a notice of intention to file a claim, and formal complaint. During the preliminary investigation your marine corps camp lejeune water contamination lawyer will help you gather evidence that you were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, and that you were exposed to contaminated water and they developed an illness. Most victims can show these elements through military documents and medical records. In other cases we have been able to show presence on the base through letters written home or photographs.

The first filing will be notice of intention to file a claim. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act states that a claimant may not bring an action without providing notice to the Department of the Navy. The notice to the Department of the Navy must include identifying information like name and date of birth, when you were exposed, what your illness is and what your damages are. The Department of the Navy then has 180 days to review the submission. Upon denial or the expiration of the 180 days. The victim is then allowed to file a formal complaint in federal court.

The formal complaint for exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune can be filed 180 days the notice of intention is filed with the Department of the Navy or after the notice is denied. A complaint is a “pleading” that begins a marines camp lejeune water contamination lawsuit. The cost of filing a lawsuit in federal court is typically $400. Some cases may be consolidated in a complaint, which would reduce the filing fee. In this case the Victim of toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune would be the plaintiff and the United States of America would be the Defendant. The government will be defended by the United States Department of Justice. The complaint will allege that the water at Camp Lejeune contained toxic substances, that the plaintiff was exposed to toxic water because of their presence at Camp Lejeune and the plaintiff became sick or died because of their exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. After a complaint is filed the government will file an Answer. The case will then proceed to discovery which is the process of the parties exchanging information. The discovery process will be highly regulated in this case because there are so many cases. There will then be a period of legal maneuvering known as “litigation”. We expect most cases to settle during the litigation phase of the case.

If you are already receiving compensation through the VA due to your exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you are still eligible to file a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. You will NOT risk losing your current benefits.

Wrongful Death Claims

For years many families filed wrongful death Camp Lejeune claims against the government. Unfortunately those claims were all rejected because of North Carolina’s “Statute of Repose” law which sets strict criteria on how far back an injury may be. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, part of a larger bill called the Honoring our Pact Act, allows individuals and their families to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the exposure. Families must still prove that the claimant was present at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1 1953, and December 31, 1987, and that they developed a serious illness or disease than can be linked to the exposure. In order to bring a claim for wrongful death, next-of-kin must be assigned as an administrator of the decedent’s estate.

Burden of Proof

Many people worry that they may have difficulty proving their claim. Fortunately, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows for a lower burden of proof than is typically seen in this type of lawsuit. Claimants must show a “causal” relationship between the injury and the exposure, or that the exposure to the contamination was “just as likely as not” to have caused the illness or disease. This term is also knows as “equipoise.” This is the first time that this lower burden of proof has been permitted in a civil case. As this litigation proceeds, we will learn more about what proof will meet the equipoise standard.

If you or someone you know lived, worked, or was otherwise present at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days between 1953 and 1987 call us at 585-270-8882 for a free consultation and case analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination?
All claims begin with the notice of intention of filing a claim. This document is submitted to the Department of the Navy, which is responsible for the Marine Corps. After 180 days the victim is eligible to file a formal complaint in Federal Court.. Call us at 585-270-8882 for a free consultation.
What is the expected Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amount?
To date, there have been no Camp Lejeune lawsuit trials or settlement offers. Settlement amounts will likely be based on several factors including exposure, type of illness and injuries suffered, age of the claimant, among others. Projected settlement amounts could range from $50,000 to over $1,000,000 depending on the circumstances. King Law has made some assumptions based on past legislation about what potential settlement amounts could be.
What chemicals were in the water at Camp Lejeune?
The ground water was contaminated by cancer causing chemicals including dry cleaning solvents, degreasers, fuel waste, and dozens of other dangerous chemicals.
What are the diseases associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination?
Many people have developed cancer, birth defects, cardiac problems, neurological problems, and other illnesses and diseases.
Is Camp Lejeune water safe to drink now?
The government has spent years cleaning up the toxic soil and have deemed the water safe to drink.
How was the Camp Lejeune contamination cleaned up?
Under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the United States Navy had the responsibility for investigating and clearing up contamination at Camp Lejeune.
What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a bill which allows victims of the Camp Lejeune Water contamination to file lawsuits and recover financial settlements.
What effects did the Camp Lejeune contamination have on humans?
The water contamination led to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, cardiac problems, neurological problems, and a number of other illnesses and diseases.
How did the water get contaminated at Camp Lejeune?
Water contamination at Camp Lejeune primarily occurred at water-treatment plants, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. Tarawa Terrace was contaminated with waste through an off-base dry cleaner, ABC One-Hour Cleaners. Contaminated water at Hadnot Point was caused by leaking underground storage tanks and industrial waste. It is estimated that more than 800,000 gallons of fuel may have leaked into the ground.
Is Camp Lejeune still contaminated?
The United States Navy was responsible for investigating and cleaning up the water contamination and toxic soil at Camp Lejeune. According to the government, the water is now safe to drink and has been since March of 1987.
Is there a lawsuit against Camp Lejeune?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act authorizes any person who was exposed to the contaminated water the right to file a lawsuit in federal court to receive financial compensation. The person must have developed a serious health condition likely to be associated with the exposure. The defendant in this case is not Camp Lejeune itself, but rather the United States Government.
What is the problem at Camp Lejeune?
The problem at Camp Lejeune occurred from August 1,1953 and December 31, 1987 when the United States Marine Corps (USMC) training facility at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina exposed service members, their families, and civilian workers to contaminated drinking, cooking, and bathing water.
Is tap water safe to drink in North Carolina?
North Carolina’s Department of Environment Quality enforces the mandates of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The water is also regulated by the Environment Protection Agency.
What are the symptoms of neurobehavioral effects?
Symptoms of neurobehavioral effects include motor function, lack of concentration, depression, tension, sensory and sensitivity issues, headaches, confusion, issues with coordination, slowed reactions and some other learning and behavioral issues. Additional research has been conducted and some neurobehavioral effects can be tied to water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
What is the lawsuit against Camp Lejeune?
The lawsuit defendant is the United States Government, not Camp Lejeune. Through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, any person who was exposed to contaminated water for more than 30 days and has a serious health condition, is authorized to file a lawsuit in federal court.
What cancers are associated with Camp Lejeune?
There are a number of illnesses associated with the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Of these illnesses, the cancer types include adult leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Other conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, miscarriages, birth defects, and others may also qualify.
Are they shutting down Camp Lejeune?
The Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base is still open and running. Water contamination has been cleaned up, with water now being safe to drink.
Who is eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
A person is eligible if they were:

  • Present at camp Lejeune for at least 30 cumulative days between August 1, 1953 – December 31, 1987. This includes service members, family members (including unborn children in utero), and civilian workers.
  • Exposed to the contaminated water.
  • Developed a serious health condition that can likely be attributed to the exposure.

The beneficiary (surviving spouse, next of kin, etc.) of a deceased individual is further authorized to make a claim on behalf of the victim.

Will filing a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim affect your VA benefits?
No, it will not affect any monthly compensation received through the VA. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is separate and can get you an additional settlement amount for the negative effects exposure to toxic water has caused.
Is Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit a class action lawsuit?
Despite some claims, this is not a multidistrict litigation. In fact, by definition this is a single district litigation.
Can family members sue on behalf of deceased loved ones?
Yes. Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a relative or legal representative can file a claim on behalf of a person, living or deceased, who was exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Latest News on Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

September 2023

September 28, 2023: Major Update in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

On September 26, 2023, all four judges handling the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit cases in the Eastern District of North Carolina signed the first Case Management Order (CMO) and the Short Form Complaint (SFC). The CMO is a document which outlines the pre-trial discovery timeline and potential procedure and schedule for trials. The CMO adopts most of what the Plaintiff’s leadership committee proposed exactly one month ago. Additionally, the SFC lists the same proposed diseases and illnesses. While it does not mean that all cases will receive a settlement, it does give insight into the thinking of the Government, The Plaintiff’s leadership, and the Court.

Notably, the Court confirmed its preference for a speedy resolution by informing the parties to be ready for trials in 2024. The Court also re-emphasized that a global settlement resolution is imperative and directed the parties to meet regularly to discuss.

While we are still potentially years away from this being all over, the month of September has proven to be very productive for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit progress.

September 18, 2023: Challenge to Restructure Leadership Committee Denied

The judges overseeing the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit denied an August 15th, 2023, motion by a law firm challenging the appointment of the leadership team in the litigation. Chief Judge Richard E. Myers II, Judge Terrence W. Boyle, Judge Louise W. Flanagan, and Judge James C. Dever III, signed an order denying the motion. With this distraction out of the way, the leadership committee can refocus its efforts towards discovery and other pre-trial proceedings.

September 8, 2023: Government Introduces Limited Early Settlement Program

There were hints that the government was working on something behind the scenes to create an expedited process for handling some Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Claims. On September 6, 2023, after years of pressure by attorneys plaintiffs and other advocates, the government unveiled a new program referred to as the “Elective Option” or “EO.”

This program is designed to expedite resolution for a specific group of individuals who have suffered from illnesses and diseases linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Please understand that while this is encouraging progress, this program is very narrow in scope, and in practice applies to a very small percentage of people. The proposal outlines settlement options ranging from $100,000 to $450,000, which will vary based on the nature of the injury, the duration of a claimants stay at Camp Lejeune, and the time elapsed between exposure and diagnosis. This offer is extended to plaintiffs with one of nine specified diagnoses, categorized into two tiers.

NOTE: Not everyone with an injury listed below will qualify for an early settlement offer.

Tier 1
– Kidney cancer
– Liver cancer
– Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
– Leukemia
– Bladder cancer

Tier 2
– Multiple myeloma
– Parkinson’s disease
– Kidney disease (end-stage renal disease)
– Systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma

The settlement amounts are allocated within a tier system, taking into account the duration of presence at Camp Lejeune:

30-364 Days
$150,000 Tier I
$100,000 Tier II

1-5 Years
$300,000 Tier I
$250,000 Tier II

Over 5 Years
$450,000 Tier I
$400,000 Tier II

An additional $100,000 may be paid for wrongful death cases.

To qualify for this program, plaintiffs will need to provide evidence of their exposure through records such as housing, employment, and service records. Additionally, a certified medical diagnosis is required. Claims will undergo a “perfection” process and will be subject to an investigation by the Department of the Navy.

While some claimants may find these settlement offers appealing, it’s essential to note that they may not fully account for individual circumstances, such as early diagnoses, early death, enduring hardships, loss of employment, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and a diminished quality of life. Simply stated, they lump everyone with specific injuries together, more like a “class action”, regardless of the extent of their injuries.

From the government’s perspective, this plan aims to streamline the resolution process by addressing some of the most serious cases early on, potentially saving them from extensive legal proceedings on the strongest cases.

Are the offers good? For most people, probably not. But for some it may make sense. Whether these offers are advantageous depends on the unique details of each case. For many, the offers may not align with their expectations, especially in cases where the offered amount does not adequately address the hardships caused by the illness. For instance, someone diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, who spent 10 months at Camp Lejeune, would receive only $100,000. This amount may not adequately take into account the significant challenges and expenses associated with the disease. The reality is that this is a very, very low offer in this example. As an example that might make sense, a person diagnosed with bladder cancer, who also had a history of heavy smoking and alcoholism and spent only 30 days at Camp Lejeune, may find it challenging to establish causation to Camp Lejeune contamination and may consider a settlement of $150,000 appropriate.

Key Program Details and Qualification:

Injury: To be eligible for the early settlement program, the plaintiff must have a medical diagnosis of one of the nine specified injuries.

Presence: The settlement amount is determined by the duration of stay at Camp Lejeune, as outlined in the provided table. Most cases may only qualify for the lowest settlement amount.

Latency: The time between exposure and diagnosis is a crucial factor. A minimum of two years must have passed since your “first” exposure and diagnosis, and the diagnosis must occur within 35 years or less of your “last” exposure. If your diagnosis occurred more than 35 years after your last exposure, you are not eligible. For example if a person was at Camp Lejeune last in 1965 and was diagnosed in 2001, they would be ineligible for the early settlement. This is the part that disqualifies most people from the “EO.” Simply put, if more than 35 have passed since the last exposure and the diagnosis, the claimant is ineligible for the “EO” program.

No VA Offset: Under this offer, those receiving VA disability benefits related to their claimed injury will not see their settlement reduced by any benefit amounts received.

Other Injuries: There are no settlement offers available for illnesses or diseases outside of the nine specified conditions.

Our Clients:
We have thoroughly reviewed each of our cases over the last two days. Approximately 50% of our clients have a qualifying injury under the early settlement offer program, however, only about 3% meet the latency requirement. We believe that our cases are not unique, and that a similar percentage exists across the country.

If these numbers are indeed consistent throughout the country, these offers may turn out to be nothing more than a smoke screen. Time will tell. For the remaining 97%, we continue moving forward through the litigation process, and remain committed to securing the best possible outcome for our clients.

September 1, 2023: Encouraging Progress in Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits

On August 28, 2023 the Plaintiff’s leadership committee submitted several documents for the court’s review. The leadership committee consists of several lawyers who represent the interests of all Plaintiff’s. The first document submitted is a proposed case management order. This document outlines the courts scheduling process and pre-trial deadlines, among other logistical components. The following are general takeaways from the proposed order:
Pretrial Coordination
1. Master Docket: The order suggests the the Clerk shall maintain a “Master Docket with case number No. 7:23-CV-897 where the leadership committee and the Government may file motions, pleading, notices, etc.
2. Individual Dockets: Each Plaintiff shall maintain its own individual docket assigned to a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
3. Stay: All individual cases with Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims shall be stayed (no action taken) until Plaintiff’s are selected for trial and discovery (the formal gathering and exchange of information between parties).
4. Status Conferences: The Court shall hold regular status conferences in which the Plaintiff’s leadership and the Government will update the court on the number of cases files, status of agreements between parties since the last conference, a summary of discovery conducted, and other issues the parties wish to raise.
5. Master and Short Form Complaint: the leadership committee shall submit a proposed Master Complaint” which outlines the allegations made by the plaintiffs and the over facts of the lawsuit. A “Short Form Complaint” shall be used by each plaintiff when filing a lawsuit. The Short Form Complaint is a condensed version of the Master Complaint which outlines the specific injuries to the individual plaintiff and the basis of the lawsuit.
6. Self-Authenticating and Admissibility of Records: All official records such as medical and service records are self-authenticating and admissible as evidence.
7. Trial Plan: The Plaintiff’s Leadership Committee Plan proposes a plan for “Track 1” trials which would include five injuries: Bladder Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The selection of these Track 1 trials does not reflect the merit of other injuries, but is meant to focus on those for which trial results may help to facilitate resolution for other types of injuries. The Plaintiff’s and the Defendants (Government) will be responsible for choosing 10 cases for trial within 60 days of the filing of the Master Complaint. Parties should be prepared to begin Track 1 trials in the first quarter of 2024.

Within 60 days of filing the Master Complaint the Parties shall select 5 additional diseases for the purpose of creating a “Track 2” procedure.

The Government Plan asks the Court to limit Track 1 cases to Kidney Cancer, Leukemia, and Parkinson’s Disease. The Government also proposes two diseases for Track 2 cases including Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer. Further, the Government sets forth a “Track 3” trial plan, but does not specify diseases.
8.Global Resolution: The proposed order suggests that the Parties should continue ongoing discussions for creating a process for global resolutions which would certainly simplify and expedite the settlement process.
9. Short Form Complaint: A short form complaint outlines an individuals specific “injuries” and the basis of their claim. This complaint must be completed and filed in every case. The proposed short form complaint in the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit includes basic identifying information, but more importantly gives us a glimpse into what are believed to be the areas of the base most contaminated, and a list of the “injuries” or diseases that may qualify. It is important to note that the law does not specify actual conditions, and the following list taken from the “proposed” short form complaint does not represent “all” of the claims that may qualify:

☐ Adverse birth outcomes (Plaintiff is the PARENT of an individual who died in
utero or was stillborn or born prematurely)
☐ ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
☐ Aplastic anemia or myelodysplastic syndrome
☐ Bile duct cancer
☐ Bladder cancer
☐ Brain / central nervous system cancer
☐ Breast cancer
☐ Cardiac birth defects (Plaintiff was BORN WITH the defects)
☐ Cervical cancer
☐ Colorectal cancer
☐ Esophageal cancer
☐ Gallbladder cancer
☐ Hepatic steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
☐ Hypersensitivity skin disorder
☐ Infertility
☐ Intestinal cancer
☐ Kidney cancer
☐ Non-cancer kidney disease
☐ Leukemia
☐ Liver cancer
☐ Lung cancer
☐ Multiple myeloma
☐ Neurobehavioral effects
☐ Non-cardiac birth defects (Plaintiff was BORN WITH the defects)
☐ Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
☐ Ovarian cancer
☐ Pancreatic cancer
☐ Parkinson’s disease
☐ Prostate cancer
☐ Sinus cancer
☐ Soft tissue cancer
☐ Systemic sclerosis / scleroderma
☐ Thyroid cancer

Final Note: While these developments represent significant movement in the Camp Lejeune Lawsuits, the information contained in this update and in the linked documents are what is being PROPOSED to the court. Negotiations will take place and a judge will ultimately decide how things will proceed in these cases.

August 2023

August 24, 2023: More than 1,100 Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Filed

On August 18, 2023, the leadership committee in the Camp Lejeune lawsuits issued a status update. Some highlights included the meeting of a “Science and Experts” subcommittee and a “Discovery” committee. These groups will focus on the science behind the contamination, the retention of experts of experts for litigation, and the organization of relevant documents in the case. The status of a proposed case management order was also discussed, which will set scheduling procedures among other pretrial compliance requirements. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is the anticipation of a public facing website which is intended to keep all parties updated including the court, the lawyers, the government, and the plaintiffs.

August 20, 2023: More than 1,100 Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Filed

Although the pace of lawsuits being filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina has slowed, there have been over 1,100 filed so far. We attribute the slower pace of lawsuit filings to hints by the government at a more efficient process for resolving claims. Recent comments made to major news outlets have suggested they are working on a plan that would streamline the process. However, based on the lack of response so far, we aren’t holding our breath for a resolution anytime soon.

August 14, 2023: Slow Pace of Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Getting Attention From Major News Networks

Just in the last few days, both CBS and CNN have aired primetime stories related to the lack of progress in the Camp Lejeune litigation. When pressed for answers, the government seems to keep kicking the can down the road, giving vague answers and excuses about the delays. One thing is for sure, with pressure from congress and the media, the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice are now under some serious pressure to get this moving.

August 9, 2023: A Year Into the Camp Lejeune Justice Act Signing

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law by the President on August 10, 2022, giving those affected by the water contamination two years to file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy (DON) seeking compensation. To date, none of the more than 100,000 claims filed have been resolved. Not only have they not been resolved, the DON has not responded to a single one with a settlement offer. Those whose claims are ignored after a six month waiting period can file a lawsuit in federal court. While it is disappointing that government has not taken any action, we are encouraged that we will be permitted to now proceed to the lawsuit stage. Although the government has been woefully unprepared for this despite years of advanced notice, over the next 6 months we expect to see significant progress and guidance. The sad reality is that we have already lost countless souls while awaiting resolution to these cases. Many of those who served our country and were poisoned by the water at Camp Lejeune will never see the justice they deserve. While next-of-kin may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf, it is little consolation for what these brave men and woman have had to endure as a result of the incompetency and indifference of those charged with their safety.

July 2023

July 29, 2023: Encouraging Progress Made in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Lawyers for both the plaintiff’s and the government filed a joint status update on Friday July 28, 2023 in the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court. There are two major takeaways:

1. Plaintiff’s lawyers and leadership have had two productive meetings since mid July. Plaintiff’s lawyers will notify the Court by July 31, 2023, regarding appointments to new leadership and committee positions.
2. A meeting in Washington, D.C., between lawyers representing the plaintiff’s, and government lawyers (the defense), resulted in significant progress and an understanding of a possible plan for resolving cases. Specifically, discussion included: global case management; filing of a master complaint and a short-form complaint; a global database and matrix; and a document management system for requesting a receiving documents by the government.

This is exciting news and represents real progress in the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit. While certainly encouraging, it is important to remember that we are still more than one year away from the administrative claim filing deadline, after which potential bellwether trials and settlement negotiations may take place.

July 23, 2023: Major Step Forward in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

An important step in Camp Lejeune lawsuits was taken this past week when the court approved a plaintiff’s steering committee. This is standard practice in multi-district litigation (MDL) cases. Camp Lejeune lawsuits are neither class action or MDL, however the litigation is set up more along the lines of an MDL. This committee of lawyers representing plaintiff’s will work with the court and the government to help to direct and organize the way that cases and evidence will be presented, and will ultimately create a more efficient and streamlined process. Most importantly, the approval of the committee marks a milestone indicating that the pace of the litigation will begin to speed up.

July 13, 2023: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Litigation at a Standstill

Disappointingly, the Camp Lejeune lawsuit did not see much progress in June. This is inspite of a forceful May 17th letter signed by 10 members of Congress to the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice giving a June 9th deadline for an explanation as to the slow progress. King Law will be in attendance at the 2023 American Association for Justice annual conference this week as we continue to put ourselves at the forefront of this litigation.

June 2023

June 14, 2023: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit News Expected in June

The first two weeks of June have been slow in terms of Camp Lejeune Lawsuit news, however that is expected to change soon. On May 17th, 2023, several lawmakers sent a strongly worded letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy demanding answers regarding the slow pace of resolving claims of poisoned military members and their families. The letter, signed by 10 members of congress, set a deadline of June 9th, 2023, for a response. As of the date of this publication it is not known if the agencies met their deadline. Even so, the action suggests that pressure is mounting on the government to address this matter.

Additionally, it is expected that we will soon hear news regarding the formation of a Plaintiff’s Steering Committee. In April, a federal judge overseeing the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, issued an order soliciting attorney’s to submit applications to the Court to become part of this leadership group. Formalizing such a committee will undoubtedly result in additional advocacy on behalf of the victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination. While the first half of June has been lacking in news, we expect significant Camp Lejeune Lawsuit updates shortly.

May 2023

May 30, 2023: Progress Expected in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits in June

As more lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to pressure the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice to get their act together on Camp Lejeune lawsuits, June is expected to be a busy month. In addition to the congressional intervention, a plaintiff’s steering committee is expected to be formed by the Court in June. Judge Robert B. Jones issued an order requesting attorney’s representing Camp Lejeune victims to submit applications for a leadership committee by May 26, 2023. This group is expected to be significantly involved in creating the framework around how cases will proceed.

May 17, 2023: Lawmakers Demand Action in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Cases

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants answers from the Department of the Navy regarding their lack of movement on addressing more than 45,000 claims filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Frustrated by the delays, lawmakers have sent a letter to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Attorney General Merrick Garland, noting the need for timely resolution and asking for a detailed plan from the Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy to deal with the rush of Camp Lejeune Lawsuits. Lawmakers are demanding a response by June 9, 2023, for information on the status of the claims, number of lawsuits filed, and the impact on Camp Lejeune veterans and their families who have died while awaiting resolution.

May 15, 2023: New Study Indicates Risk of Parkinson’s is 70% Higher in Camp Lejeune Veterans

On May 15, 2023 a new study compared the risk of Parkinson’s Disease in service members stationed at both Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton between 1975 and 1985. It is well documented that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE) and other toxic chemicals. The study found that the risk of Parkinson’s among those stationed at Camp Lejeune was 70% higher than those stationed at Camp Pendleton. The study also concluded that even those without an official diagnosis of Parkinson’s, experienced a higher rate of signs of the disease such as tremors, anxiety, and erectile dysfunction. This new study both strengthens previous study results such as the ATSDR and underscores the need for further testing. The lead researchers of the study include Samuel Goldman, MD ; Frances M. Weaver, PhD, and Kevin Stroup, PhD.

On August 10, 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law by President Biden, giving those affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune the opportunity to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries.

May 5, 2023: Department of the Navy Provides Update in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

On May 4, 2023, Jennifer Langley, an attorney for the Department of the Navy JAG office, issued an update to attorneys handling Camp Lejeune Lawsuits. Below is a recap of the key points addressed in the email:

  • Staffing: The Department of the Navy (DON) is working to expand its team and looking to double the staff. Although the process will take time, they expect to complete it by the end of the summer. They acknowledge they delays and appreciate patience during the delay.
  • Claim Processing: The DON has been overwhelmed with the number of claims , seeing a significant increase in the past few months. They now estimate approximately 60,000 administrative Camp Lejeune lawsuit claims have been filed as of May 1st, 2023. Unfortunately, they are still working on Camp Lejeune lawsuit claims from October. They also indicate that due to bureaucratic red tape, that the online portal for submitting Camp Lejeune claims is still not ready and they anticipate further delays.
  • Litigation: The DON indicates that approximately 1,000 Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been filed to date and believe that the number will increase significantly in the near future.
  • Timeline and Next Steps: The DON acknowledges that if claimants initial administrative claim expires at the end of the 6 month waiting period, they have the option of continuing through the administrative process or file a lawsuit.

While this email was directed at attorneys, it does provide some insight into the process for claimants. The overall takeaway is that the DON readily admits they are understaffed and do not have the capacity to handle this volume of work. It appears as though congress did not allocate the additional funding needed to increase staff and build the needed technology for the Camp Lejeune claims and lawsuits.

April 2023

April 30, 2023: Court Issues Important Order in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

In the latest update in the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, on April 24, 2023, four judges for the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court, issued a joint Order that the Clerk of the Court will maintain a “Master Docket” to act as a centralized location for information relating to multiple cases. Additionally, the Court is soliciting attorney’s who represent Camp Lejeune victims to apply to the Court to serve on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee. This leadership group will be responsible for working to create a master complaint, which will serve as a document which establishes the framework for the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, identifies common issues, and guides future legal proceedings. The court will also seek additional input from the Steering Committee: “Once the court has determined whether and to what extent it will adopt any proposed leadership structure, the court anticipates seeking input from the plaintiffs on creating a master complaint, input from the defendant on a master answer or other responsive pleading to the master complaint, a process for consolidating discovery, a process for phased discovery, a process for coordinating expert-related motions, a process for coordinating dispositive motions, a process for bellwether selection, a process for trials, and a process for settlement negotiations.” This order represents serious movement in the litigation.

April 27, 2023: Local Heroes Unite: Camp Lejeune Veteran Tackles Military Suicide

As the lawsuit surrounding the Camp Lejeune water contamination continues its slow progress, prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of our esteemed veterans has become paramount. Jim Wicker, a retired Marine and cancer survivor who spent time at Camp Lejeune in the 1950’s and 1960’s, has not only entrusted our law firm with his Camp Lejeune lawsuit but has given several years to growing the reach of this important cause. After initially hiring a prominent national firm, Jim discovered the importance of personalized attention for Camp Lejeune veterans who were exposed to contaminated water during their service. His invaluable assistance has played a pivotal role in our firm’s efforts to develop comprehensive information and resources tailored specifically for the benefit of Camp Lejeune veterans.
Challenge 22’s primary objective is to combat the alarming number of daily veteran suicides, which stood at 22 at the program’s inception. Today, the program strives to bring that number down through local initiatives.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Challenge 22 program or wish to contribute to this vital cause, visit the website mcl468.com.

April 23, 2023: Number of Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Climbs Rapidly

As of April 23, 2023, more than 800 Camp Lejeune Lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina federal court. This is pacing about 20 new lawsuits per day. It is expected that there will be thousands of lawsuits filed in the next year. Judge James C. Dever III who is presiding over the cases, is expected to rule this summer on a procedure to determine how cases will move forward.

April 17, 2023: Judge Issue Order Granting Extension of Time to DOJ in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

On April 17, 2023 Judge Dever granted an extension of time for the government to file a response in connection with an earlier motion filed by the Plaintiff’s to group, or consolidate the Camp Lejeune cases. In reading the tea leaves of this order, it appears that the government is preparing to settle the Camp Lejeune cases. The Court granted the government until June 3, 2023 to respond.

April 13, 2023: Advocates Speak Out After First Court Hearing in Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit

Advocates and individuals affected by the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune expressed their frustration with the government, specifically the Department of the Navy, following the first status conference in the litigation.

April 10, 2023: Motion to Consolidate Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Cases

Several lawyers representing Camp Lejeune lawsuit plaintiffs along with the government, filed a joint motion to the court in an effort to consolidate cases. The benefits of consolidation include efficiency for the court and the parties, consistency among rulings, cost savings, and most importantly a streamlined way to manage legal issues, procedures, and discovery requirements.

April 8, 2023: Status Conference Held Before District Court Judge in Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Cases

United States District COurt Judge James C. Dever III held the first status conference in the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit cases. The main topics included how the court should deal with the massive number of cases expected, the number of claims already filed, and resolved, and the process for discovery. It was noted by the government that a streamlined process was needed to get answers to the myriad of questions and issues pertaining to pending and future Camp Lejeune lawsuit cases. The Court expressed frustration with the pace of the litigation noting that it would take 1,900 years to resolve the expected number of claims in a traditional manner.

April 2, 2023: Nearly 200 more Lawsuits Filed Last Week Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The pace of lawsuits being filed under the CLJA continues to accelerate each week, with nearly 200 new cases filed within the last 10 days. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act became law on August 10, 2022, allowing individuals and families to pursue legal action based on illness caused by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. There is currently a status conference scheduled for April 5, 2023, before Judge Dever of the Eastern District of North Carolina. It is still expected that any jury verdicts or settlement payouts are still likely more than a year away.

March 2023

March 29, 2023: Camp Lejeune Victims Seek Consolidation of Lawsuits

Attorneys representing victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination have filed a motion asking the federal court to consolidate the lawsuits into a single case. The motion was filed on March 29, 2023, and the court has not yet ruled on the motion. If the court grants the motion, it could expedite the legal process and create a more efficient path to resolution for the thousands of veterans and their families who have been affected by the water contamination at the North Carolina Marine Corps base.

March 27, 2023: Delays Turning Camp Lejeune Personal Injury Claims into Wrongful Death Lawsuits

An article published by Roll Call highlights the real-world consequences of the governments inability or unwillingness to act quickly on Camp Lejeune water contamination claims. Our law firm has already experienced this first-hand as clients who hired us have passed away, turning their personal injury case into a wrongful death claim for their families. The Department of the Navy has yet to develop any kind of streamlined system for accepting claims, let alone a system to review and act on the claims. To date, none of the more than 20,000 administrative claims have been resolved or offered a settlement. Claimants whose claims pass the 180 waiting period without resolution must file a lawsuit in federal court to recover damages. If history is any indicator, these delays could end up taking years to sort out, causing even more families to lose their loved ones before their case is resolved. It is our hope that Congress, the Department of the Navy, and all those involved will act on the original intent of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and resolve these cases without delay for these families that have suffered long enough.

March 20, 2023: Camp Lejeune Claimants Urged to Beware of Scams

These days our personal information is as accessible as ever. Show an interest in something by giving out your email or phone number and that data is sure to make its way into the hands of unsavory characters. Claimants in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits are not immune, in fact, it is a population that scammers tend to target – the elderly. We at King Law often hear from our clients that they receive constant texts and emails stating, among other things that “Your Camp Lejeune case has been settled – click here to claim your funds.” Let us be 100% clear: NO cases have been settled and NO cases have been heard in court. Jury verdicts and settlement offers are months – if not years away.

The most recent update available as of March 20, 2023 indicates that more than 25,000 claims have been filed under he Camp Lejeune Justice Act and just more than 200 lawsuits have been filed. This represents a tiny fraction of the amount of cases that the courts will need to process through. The truth is that the government has still given no indication as to how they will address the massive volume of Camp Lejeune claims.

If you are contacted in any way asking that you need to claim your settlement before it expires, it is certainly a scam. Should you have any questions regarding your case it is always best to contact your attorney directly.

March 14, 2023: Senate Passes Legislation to Provide Additional Resources for Camp Lejeune Veterans

On March 14, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to provide additional resources for Camp Lejeune veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps base. The legislation, which now moves to the House of Representatives, would establish a new office within the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans and their families with obtaining compensation for illnesses related to the water contamination. The legislation also seeks to improve the coordination of health care services for Camp Lejeune veterans and their families.

March 12, 2023: The Pace of Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates Continues at a Crawl

The government (the defense) in this litigation has still not created any system for processing what expects to be tens-of-thousands of lawsuits, if not more. This could be a staffing issue or a strategic move to delay until the two year claim window expires in August of 2024. This way they will know exactly how many cases they are dealing with and have a better idea of how they plan to settle them. The bottom line is that this will, as we have always known, be a long process.

March 2, 2023: Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Reach 200

The number of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court continues to be slow. Approximately 200 lawsuits have been filed to date. There continues to be no movement in terms of scheduling or potential trial dates. The number of administrative claims filed continues to inch up slowly and currently stands at approximately 25,000. It is believed that the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Department of the Navy has not offered to settle any claims filed to date and has instead allowed the 180 day review period to expire. This allows a claimant to then file a lawsuit in federal court.

February 2023

February 23, 2023: VA comments on benefits related to Camp Lejeune

David Barrans, a lawyer for the VA has confirmed that the filing a Camp Lejeune Claim under the Pact Act or the Camp Lejeune Justice act will not affect a persons eligibility for VA benefits. The VA has been more active in voicing their position because they are concerned about veterans not filing for disability benefits because they are bringing a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claim.

February 16, 2023: Camp Lejeune Lawsuits and Claims Update

In the Eastern District of North Carolina, nine additional CLJA civil lawsuits were filed yesterday, bringing the total number of Camp Lejeune lawsuits filed to 112 now that the administrative claim deadline for the earliest JAG claims has passed. Recently, JAG reported that they have received over 20,000 administrative claims under the CLJA.

February 12, 2023: Camp Lejeune Litigation Enters Next Stage

On Friday February 10th, 2023, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act entered the next stage of litigation. On August 10, 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed and permitted affected individuals the right to file a claim and a subsequent lawsuit for damages caused by the contaminated water at the base.

The first step in the process is to file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy (DON) who then has 180 days to act on the claim either by accepting, denying, or allowing the claim to expire. Should a claim go unresolved after the 180 waiting period, the individual is then permitted to file a lawsuit. On February 10, 2023, thousands of the first administrative claims expired without a resolution. It is expected that the Eastern District of North Carolina Federal Court will begin receiving thousands of lawsuits immediately.

For some perspective, the DON sent an email to attorneys on February 10, 2023, notifying them that they sent out 4,487 “Perfection Letters” to those who filed claims in August. To learn more about the definition of a “Perfected Claim” see the article below.

We expect much more information in the coming days and weeks.

February 1, 2023: Office of the JAG Provides Camp Lejeune Update to Attorneys

As we approach the 6 month mark since the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) recently provided a progress update to attorneys.The good news is that there was an update – the bad news is that there isn’t much substance.

A Tort Claims Attorney with the JAG covered the following topics in a January 31st email:

Progress on Claims:
As required by law, each claimant must file an administrative claim commonly called a “Claim for Injury or Death” with the JAG. This procedural step must be completed before a lawsuit can be filed in federal court.

The update indicates that JAG will begin notifying claimants (or their attorneys) as to whether their administrative claim has been properly filed (or perfected). These notifications will include those administrative claims filed from August-October of 2022. The perfection standard includes such elements as:
Correct Legal Name; Standing to File Claim; Amount of Claim; Basis of Claim; Authorization (for claims requiring an executor or authorized representative); Correct Agency Addressed

Substantiation Requests
Here, the attorney indicates that those Camp Lejeune claims which were filed between August and October of 2022, have been perfected, and fall into the presumptive list of conditions, claimants will receive a letter requesting additional information regarding their service.

Scams
The JAG office makes a point to recognize that there are a lot of scams surrounding Camp Lejeune Claims. Specifically, people should be on the lookout for emails saying that they need to accept their settlement or the offer will expire. All communication from the government will be written on Department of the Navy letterhead or from the official CLClaims email address, or by first class mail.

Claims Portal
The update here indicates that they have made significant progress on the claims portal, but that government red tape has slowed the process, citing security concerns.

Claimants Seeking to Litigate
For those who plan to litigate cases (or file a lawsuit) and move beyond the administrative claim process, the JAG is asking attorneys to notify them so that they can forward the requests to the DOJ allowing them to plan for resources.

Numbers
The update notes that the JAG received approximately 10,000 claims in the first 3 months (August through October 2022). They expect that November, December, and January will show a large increase. To put that in perspective, the department typically handles 1,500-2,000 cases in an entire year.

While there isn’t much substance to the update from the JAG, we do expect significant updates in the coming weeks and months.

January 2023

January 3, 2023: Order Regarding Exhaustion of CLJA Claims

With respect to the legacy cases filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina, Chief United States District Judge, Hon. Richard E. Meyers II, issued and order finding that the plaintiffs failed to follow procedures prescribed by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) and therefore the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the cases. The full order reads:

“These matters come before the court on the parties’ briefing in response to the court’s order concerning administrative exhaustion of the Plaintiffs’ claims against Defendant under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, Pub. L. No. 117-168, § 804, 136 Stat. 1802 (2022) (“CLJA” or “Act”)[DE 15, 17, 19). For the same reasons cogently stated in an order issued by the Honorable James C. Dever III in Fancher v. United States, No. 5:22-CV-00315-D, [DE 30) (E.D.N.C. Dec. 20,2022), which addressed the same arguments presented by the parties in the above-captioned cases, the court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate they exhausted their administrative remedies as required by the CLJA and, thus, the court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear their claims. In due time, the court will enter separate orders in each case addressing issues and/or arguments specific to that case.”

The law requires that a person must file an administrative “Claim for Injury or Death” with the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG Unit – Department of the Navy) prior to filing a lawsuit in federal court. The JAG unit then has 180 days to respond to the claim.

December 2022

December 18, 2022: Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Scams

Anyone who has a TV, computer, or smartphone has surely seen the barrage of ads filling up our screens over the last several months regarding Camp Lejeune Lawsuits. Search for it once and you’ll likely be served advertisements everywhere you look online through social media or Google. The attention this litigation has received has made it ripe for scammers to target unsuspecting Marines and their families. The truth is if you have a connection to the military there’s a good chance that you have made it onto marketing lists. These databases are typically for sale by 3rd party vendors and usually include identity and contact information.

Should you ever receive a call, text, or letter from anyone telling you they can help you file a claim and ask you for money upfront, it is most certainly a scam. Additionally, if you have already hired a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit attorney, beware that scammers may contact you pretending to be “your law firm” and may say that a bill is due or you need to pay a filing fee. Reputable law firms handle these types of cases on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless the client receives a settlement. If you receive a call asking you to pay money in connection with your case, hang up and call the law firm directly.

December 16, 2022: Number of Administrative Claims Estimated at Over 15,000

The Department of the Navy is handling the initial administrative claims required as the first step under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has estimated over 15,000 claims filed to date. The Jag Unit Tort Claims Unit is still building an online portal to streamline the Camp Lejeune claim process, however until then all claims are filed manually via email. Currently, no documentation is required for this claim form, however it is likely that documentation proving the claims will be required. It is expected that the number of claims filed will grow exponentially in the coming months.

The JAG Tort Claims Unit in part of the legal division of the Department of the Navy and has 6 months to respond to these initial filings. It is unclear if they will attempt to settle any cases involving toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune early or will simply reject the claims or allow the deadline to respond to expire. Should this happen, the claimant will then be permitted to move to the next phase and file a complaint (lawsuit) in federal court.

December 12, 2022: Filing a Camp Lejeune Claim for a Deceased Loved One

If you have a family member or a loved one who passed away with a condition that may have been caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you may be able to file a claim on their behalf. The first step is to identify the person who has “standing” to file a claim. If the deceased was married at the time of their passing, their spouse would likely be the eligible party to file as the “proposed administrator.” The children of the deceased may also be eligible to file if they was not married, or if the spouse also passed away. In most cases an estate may need to be opened or reopened in the state in which the decedent passed away. It is important to speak with an estate lawyer so that the appropriate party can be legally designated as an administrator.

December 2, 2022: FREE CAMP LEJEUNE LAWSUIT WEBINAR WITH ATTORNEY ROBERT KING

Attorney Robert King will be hosting a FREE live webinar on December 15th at 4:00pm EST to discuss the latest updates on the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, as well as answer some of the most frequent questions regarding the lawsuit. There will also be a Q&A session. If you or a loved one suffered a long-term illness or disease due to toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune, or if you are looking for more information, get registered for our webinar now! REGISTER HERE

November 2022

November 25, 2022: HOW DO I GET MY MILITARY SERVICE RECORDS?

If there is one thing that the military does well it is keeping records. However, with the massive influx of military personnel records being requested due to the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, government officials holding these records are extremely backed up.

If you have been discharged from the military, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) houses most military personnel records. The NARA is the official repository for those who were discharged from the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Army. If you are a recently separated veteran your records may be found online at VA eBenefits. Most veterans and their next-of-kin can obtain records such as DD214 and other documents for free by:

Using eVetRecs system
Mailing or Faxing a Standard Form SF-180

According to the NARA the types of records typically available include:

– enlistment/appointment
– duty stations and assignments
– training, qualifications, performance
– awards and medals
– disciplinary actions
– insurance
– emergency data
– administrative remarks
– separation/discharge/retirement (including DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent)
– and other personnel actions

Visit the National Archives and Records Administration website HERE

October 2022

October 25, 2022: UPDATE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL REGARDING RECORDS (CLJA)

Today, the Office of the Judge Advocate General sent a notice to attorneys with an update regarding personnel and federal employment records needed for submitting initial administrative claims, as well as the possible future requirements to substantiate a claim.

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL: The Department of the Navy, the Department of Justice, and the National Personnel Records Center, a division of the National Archives and Records Administration, are working together to find a global solution regarding the gathering of personnel and federal employment records for those CLJA claimants having military ties. To date, the NPRC has received thousands of personnel and/or federal employment records requests from CLJA claimants seeking records to substantiate their CLJA claim. As a practical matter, it is not feasible for the NARA to complete the volume of record requests received in the time needed for initial filing of CLJA claims. In order to expedite the claims process, the DON will not require claimants to provide military personnel and/or federal employment records at the time of the initial filing of the administrative claim. Records needed for substantiating the claim may be requested at a later time on a case-by-case basis based on the Navy’s evaluation of the claim. Such substantiation request, when necessary, will not be made by DON until after the upcoming electronic portal has been launched by the OJAG Admiralty & Claims Division. At that time, where substantiation is needed, claimants and/or their designated representatives will be notified to provide those substantiating documents to DON, and the claimant can then work with NARA to obtain records as needed to substantiate their claim.

October 7, 2022: Camp Lejeune Toxic Water News – Robert King appears on the American Veterans National Podcast

Robert King recently travelled to Washington D.C. to appear as a special guest on the AMVETS Podcast with National Executive Director Joseph Chenelly to discuss Camp Lejeune water contamination and its plague on veterans and their families. CLICK HERE to listen

October 3, 2022: Camp Lejeune Toxic Water News – Motion Denied

Two federal judges have denied Plaintiff’s motion to consolidate cases for illnesses caused by exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Nearly two month have passed since the Camp Lejuene law was passed and Plaintiffs are seeking answers about how the claims will proceed in court. Plaintiffs want to know who will be the judge, what the rules will be and what the schedule will be going forward.

September 2022

September 19, 2022: Camp Lejeune Toxic Water News – Notice of Claim Update

We are now a little over one month into the two year window to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Department of the Navy Indicates that approximately 5,000 administrative claims were filed in the first month. In order to file an administrative claim a victim must show at least 30 days at Camp Lejeun, toxic exposure and an illness related to the toxic water exposure. Proof of time at the base can be shown with military forms like the DD 214 or other types of documents like photographs. Toxic exposure is nearly certain in some residence locations or jobs, and medical records are necessary to prove a qualifying illness.

August 2022

August 18th, 2022: Robert King of King Law speaks at AMVETS National Conference

Robert King of King Law was invited to speak about the Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits at the AMVETS National Conference in New Orleans, LA. He discusses why the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is critical legislation what it means to all veterans and their families.

August 10th, 2022: Camp Lejeune Justice Act Signed into Law by President granting victims of toxic water a Camp Lejeune the right to bring a claim

The President has signed the PACT Act, the bill which contains the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Biden called the signing of this bill the “most significant law our nation has ever passed to help veterans who were exposed to toxic substances.” For more than three decades, veterans, their families, and others who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to toxic chemicals in the water supply. Many people who were present at Camp Lejeune and were exposed to the water by drinking, cooking, and bathing have developed serious conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease birth defects, miscarriage’s, neurological issues, cardiac problems, and many other serious health concerns. These individuals can now begin the process of filing a civil claim and a lawsuit in federal court to receive a financial settlement.

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References: 

  1. Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects – National Research Council (US) Committee on Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215286/
  2. H.R.2192 – Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2192?s=1&r=1
  3. Camp Lejeune, North Carolina – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html
  4. Evidence Linking Drinking Water Contaminants and Specific Cancers and Other Diseases – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/Assessment-of-Evidence.html
  5. Tarawa Terrace Reports – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/tarawaterrace.html
  6. Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/ToxFAQs/ToxFAQsDetails.aspx?faqid=264&toxid=48
  7. Tetrachloroethylene Health Effects – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/toxzine/tetrachloroethylene_toxzine.html#health_effects
  8. Kidney (Renal Cell) Cancer – National Cancer Institute: https://www.cancer.gov/types/kidney
  9. Vinyl Chloride – National Cancer Institute:https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/vinyl-chloride
  10. Benzene – Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/index.asp
  11. Elemental Mercury Detection in Pipes at Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant – The United States Marine Corps https://www.lejeune.marines.mil/News/Press-Releases/Article/513539/elemental-mercury-detection-in-pipes-at-hadnot-point-water-treatment-plant/
  12. Diseases Associated With Exposure to Contaminants in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune – Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/13/2017-00499/diseases-associated-with-exposure-to-contaminants-in-the-water-supply-at-camp-lejeune
  13. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Health Issues – U.S. Deparment of Veteran Affairs: https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/
  14. Jistory of Camp Lejeune – The United States Marine Corps: https://www.lejeune.marines.mil/Offices-Staff/Environmental-Mgmt/Cultural-Resources/History-Live/History-of-Camp-Lejeune/
  15. Summary of the water contamination situation at Camp Lejeune – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/watermodeling_summary.html
  16. The Honoring America’s Veterans And Caring For Camp Lejeune Families Act Of 2012 – House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: https://veterans.house.gov/legislation/hr1627.htm#:~:text=the%20Veterans%20Administration-,The%20Honoring%20America%27s%20Veterans%20and%20Caring%20for%20Camp%20Lejeune%20Families,%2C%20education%2C%20and%20memorial%20services.
  17. First official lawsuit in Camp Lejeune Justice Act has been filed – The Daily News: https://www.jdnews.com/news/first-official-lawsuit-in-camp-lejeune-justice-act-has-been-filed/article_05344686-a593-5eb6-930b-e1aa3e9a6091.html