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“Camp Lejeune Justice Act” Lets Victims File Contaminated Water Lawsuits

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  May 18, 2022   |  

New Law May Result in Thousands of Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

New legislation recently passed by the U.S. House and Senate allows victims of contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune file lawsuits seeking damages for cancer and other health problems. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act cleared the House on March 3, 2022 and passed the Senate on June 16, 2022 as part of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act — a law designed to improve health care benefits for U.S. military veterans exposed to toxic chemicals.

The legislation allows potentially hundreds of thousands of veterans, their family members, and civilians who worked at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits associated with cancer and other health problems potentially linked to formerly widespread water contamination at the base.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act had significant bipartisan support, and passed the Senate on June 16, 2022.

“This law is a welcome development and we are committed to getting justice for victims of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.”

Gene Riddle, Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorney

Camp Lejeune Justice Act Status – July 2022

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to a minor tax provision included in the Senate version of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act passed on June 16, 2022, the legislation must now be sent back to the U.S. House of Representatives for a re-vote. Despite this unexpected obstacle, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is still widely expected to pass in late July 2022 after Congress returns from recess.

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What Does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act Do?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act overrides North Carolina’s statute of limitations to allow potential victims of toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base to file lawsuits alleging that the toxins caused various forms of cancer and other health problems.

Victims of the Camp Lejeune contaminated water were previously barred from filing these claims. In 2019, the U.S. Navy denied all claims associated with the contamination at Camp Lejeune, saying that the law does not support the claims, and that by denying them, plaintiffs would be free to seek their own legal action.

The Navy had previously claimed there was no legal mechanism for seeking damages from the U.S. military. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act renders that argument false.

Who May Be Eligible for a Water Contamination Lawsuit?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will allow those diagnosed with cancer and other health problems potentially due to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune file lawsuits against the government.

With the Camp Lejeune Justice Act having passed, anyone exposed (even in-utero) to water contamination at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 can file a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Overriding the “Statute of Repose” Rule in North Carolina

Before passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, victims had been barred from filing claims due to North Carolina’s “statute of repose” rule, which prevents claims from being filed after a certain period of time after the defendant’s actions has passed. North Carolina is one of the only states in the country with a statute of repose that prohibits claims against polluters if over 10 years have passed since the contaminating event.

Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa), the major sponsor of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, says that North Carolina’s statute of repose rule is “an anomaly that is blocking every single one of these claims for the exposure to Camp Lejeune toxic water for those 34 years.”

Hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs may be eligible for a Camp Lejeune claim if the law is passed by the Senate.

Time Limit for Filing an Injury Claim for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The legislation requires Camp Lejeune lawsuits to be filed within two years of the law’s passage.

What About Camp Lejeune Disability Payments from the VA?

"We believe Justice Counts for veterans and their loved ones and are ready to fight for victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination." -Gene Riddle

While victims have been barred from filing claims in federal court related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been providing health care and disability payments to those who suffered injuries potentially caused by the toxic water on base. These payments are the result of the Janey Ensminger Act, a law passed in 2011 that is named for a woman who allegedly died from disease caused by water contamination while living at Camp Lejeune. Under the new Camp Lejeune Justice Act, compensation awarded to a plaintiff will be offset by the VA disability payments already being provided.

Will These Lawsuits Go to Trial?

It remains unknown whether the tens of thousands of anticipated Camp Lejeune lawsuits will go to trial. Some advocates for victims hope that in the face of so many lawsuits, the U.S. government will negotiate a “global” settlement, instead of bearing the tremendous costs associated with prolonged trials. Jerry Ensminger, who lost his daughter Janey to sickness allegedly caused by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, said in a recent interview that “If we do get our day in court, I think there’s going to be some scurrying going on in the Department of the Navy and in the Department of Defense.”

Do You Have a Camp Lejeune Claim?

If you or a loved one were exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and later suffered from cancer or another qualifying health problem, you may qualify for compensation in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

Cancers and other health problems that may qualify you for a future Camp Lejeune lawsuit or claim include:

Please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the fast and easy form below for a FREE, no-obligation consultation regarding a potential Camp Lejeune lawsuit. At Riddle & Brantley, our experienced trial attorneys have recovered more than $665 million in total compensation for our clients alone, and we are ready to fight for those who fought for us.

Many of our attorneys and staff have close family ties to the military, and we are proud to have offices located in Jacksonville near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Goldsboro near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and Fayetteville near Fort Bragg.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s review your claim.

 


*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.