Camp Lejeune Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Overview

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The Camp Lejeune lawsuit pertains to allegations that water contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base in the District of North Carolina led to various health problems, including cancers and congenital disabilities, among veterans, their families, and civilian employees.

People are accusing the U.S. government and other parties of failing to adequately warn individuals about the contaminated water and its potential health risks.

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Latest Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update

As of June 2024, Camp Lejeune lawyers and the DOJ have agreed on a plan to select five specific toxic water plaintiffs from the Track 1 Discovery Pool for bellwether trials.

This plan will focus on five plaintiffs who claim that contaminated water at Camp LeJeune caused them to develop one of the five Track 1 illnesses: leukemia, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Although this limits plaintiffs to claiming only these specific illnesses, it is part of a broader agreement on the selection process.

The selection process involves plaintiffs’ lawyers proposing three plaintiffs per illness, while the United States proposes two more. The chosen plaintiffs will then undergo detailed discovery and trial preparations.

This strategy aims to focus resources on fewer cases, making the process more efficient and providing clear expectations for all plaintiffs. It also helps in finding a quicker resolution, potentially leading to a global settlement for all parties involved.

Following the Court’s invitation during the April 24, 2024 Status Conference, plaintiffs’ attorneys have submitted a list of suggested topics for potential discussion. The proposed discussions aim to use trials to facilitate a comprehensive resolution and refine processes to prepare cases for trial efficiently.

Key topics include:

  • Foundational issues of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, such as the standard of proof, water contamination specifics, required duration of presence on the base, and establishing causation for diseases linked to Track 1 of the proceedings.
  • Trial structure considerations, including single or consolidated multi-plaintiff trials, trials organized by disease type, reverse bifurcation, or advisory jury trials.
  • Specific hearings to handle Daubert issues separately from initial trials.
  • Selection of trial plaintiffs and prioritizing cases of gravely ill plaintiffs.
  • Logistical aspects of trial scheduling across multiple judges, the use of technology in courtrooms, and the length of trials.

Why Are Victims Filing Camp Lejeune Lawsuits?

Victims are filing Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune lawsuits to seek compensation for health issues they believe were caused by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The water supply at the base was contaminated with hazardous and other toxic substances, toxic chemicals, and volatile organic compounds, for several decades.

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune contamination is linked to a range of serious health conditions, such as cancers, kidney disease, and birth defects. Veterans, their families, and civilian employees who lived or worked at the base are alleging that their health problems resulted from this exposure, and they are suing for medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages.

Additionally, the lawsuits claim negligence on the part of the U.S. government and other responsible parties for failing to warn residents and employees about the dangers of the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The aim is to hold those responsible accountable and to secure financial compensation for the physical and emotional suffering inflicted on the victims.

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Health Implications of Camp Lejeune

The main health implication involved in the Camp Lejeune litigation is the development of various types of cancers, including kidney, liver, and bladder cancer, among others. Victims allege that these cancers were caused by long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals and toxic substances present in the contaminated drinking water supply at the Camp Lejeune military base.

Known Injuries and Side Effects

Besides cancer, the following are the other known issues associated with consuming the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:

  • Kidney disease: Impaired kidney function or total kidney failure requiring dialysis
  • Leukemia: Various forms of blood cancer that affect the bone marrow and blood cells
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A cancer that originates in the lymphatic system
  • Multiple Myeloma: A blood cancer affecting plasma cells
  • Parkinson’s Disease: A progressive nervous system disorder affecting movement
  • Systemic Sclerosis: A rare autoimmune disorder causing hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues
  • Birth defects: Various congenital anomalies affecting newborns of mothers who were exposed to the contaminated water

This list is not exhaustive but highlights the severe and wide-ranging health implications that claimants attribute to their exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Eligibility for Victims and Legal Procedures

You may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit if you are a veteran, a family member of a veteran, or a civilian employee who was stationed or worked at the former Camp Lejeune veterans military base and have developed health issues you believe are linked to exposure to the contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune veterans base.

Am I Eligible to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Eligibility largely hinges on factors like the duration of your exposure to toxic chemicals in the contaminated water and the type of health condition you have developed. Specific illnesses such as certain types of cancers, kidney disease, and other conditions have been highlighted in the lawsuits, making cases involving these diagnoses more likely to be considered eligible. It’s also important to have medical records that support your claims and medical records linking your health condition to the contaminated water exposure.

Additionally, family members who have lost a loved one can file wrongful death claims due to health complications believed to be caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. A qualified attorney can assess the specifics of your family members’ situation to determine your eligibility and the strength of your family member’s case.

Steps to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

You can file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit by following the steps below:

  1. Consult an attorney: The first step in filing a lawsuit is to consult with an attorney experienced in mass tort or environmental law cases. They can assess your eligibility and guide you through the legal process.
  2. Gather evidence: Collect all medical records, employment history, or residency documents related to your time at Camp Lejeune. This evidence will be crucial in proving your case.
  3. File an administrative claim: Before suing the federal government, you must file an administrative claim with the appropriate governmental agency, typically within two years from when you first became aware of the injury. This is generally done using Standard Form 95.
  4. Await response: The agency has six months to respond. They can approve, deny, or fail to respond to your claim. If denied or not answered, you can proceed to file a lawsuit.
  5. File a lawsuit: If the administrative claim is not satisfactory, your attorney will file a formal lawsuit in the District of North Carolina federal court. This initiates the legal process that may end in a trial or settlement.

Potential Compensation and Settlements

The U.S. government has introduced a settlement program with payouts ranging up to $450,000, depending on the specific illness and the length of time the individual was at the base. For example, a veteran diagnosed with kidney cancer who stayed at the base for over 5 years could receive $450,000, while someone who was there less than a year might receive $150,000. Wrongful death claims could receive an additional $100,000. However, many experts and Camp Lejeune victims feel that these amounts are not adequate.

The potential compensation could be higher if you choose an individual lawsuit rather than opting into the government’s settlement offer.

All Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates

June 2024

On June 4, 2024, Camp Lejeune lawyers and the DOJ have agreed on a plan to select five specific toxic water plaintiffs from the Track 1 Discovery Pool for bellwether trials. This plan will focus on five plaintiffs who claim that contaminated water at Camp LeJeune caused them to develop one of the five Track 1 illnesses: leukemia, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Although this limits plaintiffs to claiming only these specific illnesses, it is part of a broader agreement on the selection process.

The selection process involves plaintiffs’ lawyers proposing three plaintiffs per illness, while the United States proposes two more. The chosen plaintiffs will then undergo detailed discovery and trial preparations.

This strategy aims to focus resources on fewer cases, making the process more efficient and providing clear expectations for all plaintiffs. It also helps in finding a quicker resolution, potentially leading to a global settlement for all parties involved.

May 2024

Following the Court’s invitation during the April 24, 2024 Status Conference, plaintiffs’ attorneys have submitted a list of suggested topics for potential discussion. The proposed discussions aim to use trials to facilitate a comprehensive resolution and refine processes to prepare cases for trial efficiently.

Key topics include:

  • Foundational issues of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, such as the standard of proof, water contamination specifics, required duration of presence on the base, and establishing causation for diseases linked to Track 1 of the proceedings.
  • Trial structure considerations, including single or consolidated multi-plaintiff trials, trials organized by disease type, reverse bifurcation, or advisory jury trials.
  • Specific hearings to handle Daubert issues separately from initial trials.
  • Selection of trial plaintiffs and prioritizing cases of gravely ill plaintiffs.
  • Logistical aspects of trial scheduling across multiple judges, the use of technology in courtrooms, and the length of trials.

As of May 10, 2024, the total number of Camp Lejeune lawsuits stands at 1,764, a modest increase. However, the number of administrative claims filed with the Navy has surged to 227,309, far exceeding the predicted 150,000 claims. The expectation is that approximately 150,000 of these claims will receive compensation.

The Camp Lejeune judges issued a decision on the morning of May 13, 2024 denying a motion for immediate appellate review of a prior ruling that struck down the plaintiffs’ request for a jury trial. The court based its decision on historical precedents that reserve interlocutory appeals for exceptional circumstances, preferring to address such matters only after a final judgment.

This decision implies that most Camp Lejeune lawsuits might be concluded before an appellate court reviews the jury trial issue. Any settlement offers victims receive will likely be based on the assumption that plaintiffs do not have the right to a jury trial, making this ruling effectively final for those who settle before the appeal.

As of May 30, 2024, delving deeper into discovery in individual cases, more one-off motions are emerging. In one instance, the court has been asked to compel a plaintiff to testify about their departure from a Sheriff’s Office despite a confidentiality agreement tied to a settlement. The government contends that this agreement does not prevent the witness from answering relevant questions in the current civil litigation. Both parties have discussed and agreed to this motion, which was addressed during the last status conference two weeks ago.

The plaintiff’s prior employment is relevant because he seeks lost wages in his Camp Lejeune lawsuit, alleging that his 2009 kidney cancer diagnosis is related to TCE and PCE exposure at Lejeune.

During a deposition a few months ago, he declined to answer questions about his former employment due to the confidentiality agreement. Both parties agree that a court order will allow the witness to testify, benefiting the plaintiff by providing legal grounds to override the confidentiality agreement.

April 2024

As of April 2024, settlements have been reached in 40 Camp Lejeune lawsuits, totaling $9.6 million

The Torts Branch has verified 60 cases that qualify under the Elective Option criteria. These cases include:

  • 16 bladder cancer cases
  • 16 kidney cancer cases
  • 12 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cases,
  • 6 kidney disease cases,
  • 4 Parkinson’s Disease cases,
  • 4 leukemia cases, and
  • 2 multiple myeloma cases.

Out of these, 22 Camp Lejeune settlement offers have been accepted, covering 5 bladder cancer, 4 end-stage renal disease (kidney disease), 5 kidney cancer, 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 1 multiple myeloma, 2 Parkinson’s Disease, and 1 leukemia cases. Nine offers were declined, and 17 have expired. Additionally, 12 offers are still under consideration.

The Department of Justice, based on Camp Lejeune data from the Navy, has approved settlement offers for 62 claimants. Of these, 29 have been accepted, 2 rejected, and 25 have expired, with 6 still pending.

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

The DOJ proposes that the following conditions be prioritized for Track 3:

  • esophageal cancer;
  • general medical monitoring not tied to a specific illness;
  • miscarriage;
  • dental issues; and
  • hypersensitivity skin disorder.

March 2024

A total of 1,662 lawsuits and 176,662 administrative claims have been filed with the Navy regarding Camp Lejeune water contamination.

Out of these cases, only 51 met the criteria for the early settlement elective program, with a focus on bladder and kidney cancer (26 cases).

Among the early settlement offers, 21 were accepted (including bladder cancer, kidney disease, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, and leukemia) and 9 were rejected by the plaintiffs.

February 2024

Judges at Camp Lejeune decided against jury trials, interpreting the CLJA does not include provisions to accommodate this in the ongoing lawsuit. Additionally, Camp Lejeune attorneys have requested the production of the ATSDR water remodeling project file in its original state.

They found that members of the Marine Corps, Navy personnel, and civilian workers at Camp Lejeune had a higher risk of developing several types of cancer compared to those at Camp Pendleton.

January 2024

The Camp Lejeune litigation is preparing for its first trial, with key decisions pending on trial format and plaintiff representation, amid concerns of unrepresentative samples in the Track 1 Discovery Pool. Additionally, plaintiffs are appealing a ruling denying access to a crucial cancer study, while warnings have been issued about fraudulent activities targeting claimants in this case involving over 1,400 lawsuits and an average settlement of approximately $242,000.

December 2023

A study by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry links elevated cancer rates at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to contaminated water, sparking controversy over its delayed release. Concurrently, the Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group criticizes the government for not adhering to case protocols in selecting eligible plaintiffs and questions the conduct of a lawyer representing some affected individuals, jeopardizing the integrity of the legal process.

November 2023

The Department of Justice has processed 16 settlement cases under an Executive Order, with various outcomes including rejections and pending decisions. The Navy has forwarded 62 claims to the DOJ, of which 13 have resulted in settlement offers, with four accepted and eight pending. Accepted settlements, including for Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, total one million dollars.

October 2023

The EPA is proposing a ban on TCE, a chemical linked to cancer and other health problems, with a plan to eliminate its use in consumer and commercial products within a year while considering some exemptions. This action comes after findings showed an unreasonable health risk, highlighted by historical contamination at Camp Lejeune that increased Parkinson’s disease risk among marines.

September 2023

The U.S. government has recently introduced a settlement program for the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune water contamination cases, offering payouts of up to $450,000, depending on the specifics of each claim. However, many Camp Lejeune lawyers feel that the settlement amounts are too low for most Camp Lejeune victims to consider. The aim is to expedite the resolution of the over 93,000 claims already filed, but this Camp Lejeune settlement could make sense only for cases that would be hard to prove in the District of North Carolina court, such as those with limited exposure and other risk factors.

September 4, 2023: The DOJ is taking a slow approach to Camp Lejeune lawsuits, suggesting they’re “immature” and need time to develop. The government’s intent is to settle the bulk of these claims before going to trial, potentially to avoid large payouts.

September 1, 2023: Federal judges have appointed a leadership team to handle the Camp Lejeune lawsuits. A dispute has arisen over whether the case should be designated as multidistrict litigation (MDL), but the existing leadership argues that this is not a requirement for moving forward.

August 2023

August 30, 2023: Both plaintiffs and the government have submitted plans for categorizing the Camp Lejeune cases for trial. The key disagreement is over which diseases should be prioritized for early settlement payouts, with plaintiffs advocating for a broader range of conditions.

August 18, 2023: The total number of civil cases filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has now exceeded 1,100. The rate of new filings has slowed down considerably compared to earlier in the year.

August 17, 2023: The government is using “assumption of risk” as a defense in the lawsuits, a move that has frustrated some families of Marines. However, this defense may have been included for procedural reasons and should not necessarily be taken seriously.

August 14, 2023: One year after the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, there’s increasing concern about the slow pace of claims processing, leading to a rise in wrongful death cases. A CNN story highlighted these concerns.

August 13, 2023: The Department of the Navy has stated its commitment to resolving over 80,000 claims related to Camp Lejeune, with a special unit set up to focus solely on these cases. They are working to develop a framework for expedited claims processing.

August 1, 2023: The first joint status report for the Camp Lejeune lawsuits was submitted by both parties. They have requested an extension until September 1, 2023, for individual case deadlines to allow time for a global case management order to be developed.

Camp Lejeune FAQs

How long does it take to settle a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

It can take 1 to 2 years to settle a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. If you are planning to be compensated, it’s best to file your case now.

What is the time limit to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

The time limit to file a legal claim regarding water contamination at Camp Lejeune is typically two years from the moment an individual becomes aware that they have sustained injuries due to exposure.

Has anyone been paid yet for their Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

As of September 2023, no payouts have been settled yet with regard to the Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is proposed legislation that aims to carve out an exception to the Feres Doctrine specifically for victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The Feres Doctrine has long prevented service members from suing the federal government for injuries related to their service. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act seeks to bypass this legal barrier, allowing affected veterans and their families the opportunity to file personal injury claims against the government.

This proposed law aims to offer a legal remedy specifically tailored to the unique and long-standing environmental issue at Camp Lejeune. By setting this precedent, lawmakers hope to provide both acknowledgment of the harm done and a pathway for Camp Lejeune victims to seek compensation.

How do I find an attorney experienced in Camp Lejeune lawsuits?

Finding an attorney experienced in Camp Lejeune lawsuits is straightforward with our help. All you need to do is fill out our contact form. Once you’ve submitted it, one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly to connect you with an experienced attorney for your case. Don’t hesitate to get the professional help you need today by reaching out to us.

Health Issues From Camp Lejeune?

If you’ve faced health issues due to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us now to see if you qualify.

On This Page

Latest Update

Victims Filing Camp Lejeune

Health Implications

Eligibility

All Lawsuit Updates

FAQs

Case Status:
Early stages (More Than 800 Civil Lawsuits Pending)

Defendants:
U.S. Government

Injuries:
Cancer, infertility, and renal toxicity