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      Mass Tort: Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune

      Mass Tort: Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune

      Toxic Chemicals in the Water

      Government officials had been aware of toxic water contamination in the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for decades. Despite their knowledge, those in power ignored the issue and then denied victims their right to seek justice. Between August 1953 and December 1987, service members, their families and base employees at Camp Lejeune consumed and bathed in water that contained high levels of toxic chemicals.

      In 1985 officials at Camp Lejeune closed two wells on the base after routine water treatment plant sampling revealed that the drinking water contained the colorless chemicals trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride. Trichloroethylene is a solvent used for cleaning metal parts. Tetrachloroethylene is used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing. Benzene is used to make chemicals essential to the creation of plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. 

      Many of the veterans and individuals who served and lived on Camp Lejeune may have been exposed to these toxins, resulting in birth issues, a high risk of various cancers and a multitude of other health issues. Some of the severe health issues they developed as a consequence of the exposure include: 

      • Aplastic Anemia
      • Birth Defects
      • Bladder Cancer
      • Esophageal Cancer
      • Female Infertility
      • Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
      • Kidney Cancer
      • Leukemia
      • Liver Cancer
      • Lung Cancer
      • Miscarriage
      • Multiple Myeloma
      • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
      • Neurobehavioral Effects
      • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
      • Pancreatic Cancer
      • Parkinson’s Disease
      • Renal Failure
      • Scleroderma
      • Soft Tissue Sarcoma
      • Other Cancers
      • Death

      Camp Lejeune Justice Act

      Veterans and their families began filing suits against the U.S. government in 2005, alleging harm from exposure to contaminated drinking water. In 2016, all claims were dismissed. The court determined that such claims were barred by both federal and North Carolina law. 

      The delay in the enactment of legislation that addresses the horrors of exposure to toxic chemicals at a military base has its legal roots planted deep in both state and federal statutes. The allegations centered around exposure to contaminated bathing and drinking water. More than a decade later, a federal court ruled the claims invalid based on statutes written in North Carolina law, as well as at the federal level.

      According to the Feres doctrine, military members cannot sue the United States government for any injuries sustained during military service. Under the North Carolina law of repose, plaintiffs cannot file a civil lawsuit for compensation more than 10 years after a negative incident occurs that injures or causes someone to develop an illness.

      After a lack of urgency for more than three decades, the United States government began addressing the negative health consequences of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune by passing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The historic legislation was introduced in 2021 and increased the amount of disability benefits available to veterans and their families that were exposed to harmful toxic chemicals. Congress enacted the law to help military veterans and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune to receive compensation for their extended exposure to unhealthy chemicals between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. The act also creates a new avenue of recovery for non-veterans who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune.

      The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 was finally signed into law by President Biden on August 10th, 2022, reversing the laws that have prevented military members from taking legal action against the United States government for the contaminated water discovered at Camp Lejeune.

      Who Qualifies for a Claim

      Morgan & Morgan is accepting claims from any individuals who resided or worked at Camp Lejeune base for 30 days or longer between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, including: 

      • Service members 
      • Family members of service members, including in-utero
      • Base camp employees 

      Expected Value of Compensation

      The Congressional Budget Office projects that the cost of paying benefits between 2022 to 2031 will be $6.1 billion.

      The expected value of a single award is difficult to predict. By some accounts, those who file a claim may expect compensation anywhere from $25,000 to $1 million or more. This, however, could be determined the severity of the victim’s illness, the type of cancer(s) developed by the victim, the length of exposure to Camp Lajeune’s contaminated water as well as other factors such as the total of lost wages due to being unable to work and medical costs, both past and future. 

      Why Engage Morgan & Morgan to Represent Your Client

      Mass Tort cases like the toxic leak at Camp Lejeune are among the most challenging to litigate. Most plaintiff law firms won’t have the resources, time, or energy to take them on, leading to thousands of Mass Tort cases left on the table every year. Each case that isn’t handled is a victim left without rightful justice, but Morgan & Morgan is uniquely capable of reaching success even in the most complicated Mass Tort situations. 

      We make it easy for you to send us the Mass Tort cases like Camp Lejeune that are outside of your scope. The victims gain an ally in their corner, the at-fault party is held accountable, and, of course, you get a fair share of the fees when a case is resolved successfully.