Lawsuit Alleges Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Caused Fatty Liver Disease

Contaminated water at Camp Lejeune led to a condition which could lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver failure, the lawsuit warns.

A Marine veteran has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, alleging that contaminated water at Camp Lejeune caused fatty liver disease, or hepatic steatosis, which was diagnosed after he was stationed at the base during 1970s.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by James Merritt, of Philadelphia, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on May 5, presenting claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which was enacted last year.

The new law opens a two year window for veterans, military family members and other individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government, which had previously denied all claims under qualified immunity defenses and the North Carolina Statute of Repose, which was already expired for many claims by the time information about the Camp Lejeune water contamination was publicly disclosed.

Merritt now joins thousands of Marines and their family members who have are pursuing Camp Lejeune settlement benefits for various types of injuries caused by the contaminated water, including liver damage, kidney damage, cancers, neurological disorders and other diseases.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Suffer From Health Issues Due To The Water At Camp Lejeune?

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 caused cancers, birth defects, miscarriages and other side effects for U.S. Marines and their family members.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify For Compensation

According to the lawsuit, Merritt was stationed at Camp Lejeune from about January 1973 until December 1974. During that time, the lawsuit indicates he was repeatedly exposed to water at Camp Lejeune now known to have been heavily contaminated for decades. He has since been diagnosed with hepatic steatosis, also known as fatty liver disease, which can cause a number of serious health complications.

As the name implies, fatty liver disease causes fat to build up in the liver, which can result in fatigue, weight loss and abdominal pain, but sometimes occurs with no obvious symptoms. It can often result in no health problems, but if left untreated it can progress into cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to liver failure or liver cancer.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the contaminants found in the water at Camp Lejeune caused, or were at least as likely as not the cause of, his injuries,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff now seeks compensation under the CLJA for the substantial medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other injuries caused by the federal government’s decades-long failure to ensure the safety of the water at Camp Lejeune.”

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Risks

Estimates suggest more than a million Marines and their family members were exposed to contaminated Camp Lejeune water between the early 1950s and late 1980s, with some reports suggesting that toxic chemicals from Camp Lejeune may be responsible for more than 28,000 cases of bladder cancer, 50,000 cases of breast cancer, and 24,000 cases of renal cancer, as well as thousands of cases involve multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease and other health complications. It is also believed Camp Lejeune water caused birth defects and wrongful death for thousands of unborn children exposed in utero.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in 2014, which looked at deaths among Camp Lejeune civilian workers between 1979 and 2008. When they compared those deaths to deaths at another military base which was not known to have contaminated water, they found that Camp Lejeune workers had higher rates of death due cancers of the breasts, bladder, kidneys, lungs, oral cavity, prostate, and rectum.

Workers were also found to face an increased risk of dying from multiple myeloma, kidney diseases, leukemias and Parkinson’s disease.

Many of these injuries are specifically listed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as injuries Camp Lejeune workers and residents can be compensated for under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

May 2023 Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update

A rapidly growing number of Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been filed over the past few months, since each claimant had to wait 180 days after notifying the U.S. government of their intention to pursue a claim, and the first notices were submitted in August 2022. However, the size and scope of the litigation is expected to continue to rapidly increase over the next two years, before the August 2024 deadline for filing lawsuits.

Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, all claims must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which has been granted exclusive jurisdiction.

While the U.S. government passed this landmark legislation, the law does not include any automatic right to settlement benefits for veterans and their family members. Rather, each claimant must file a lawsuit and establish that they were exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 31, 1987. It is also necessary that they present expert testimony or support to establish that there is a causal relationship between the Camp Lejeune water and injury, or that such a relationship is at least as likely as not.

At this time, Camp Lejeune injury lawyers are reviewing claims for a wide variety of cancers and other complications that may have been caused by the chemicals in the water, including:

Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuits:

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Central Nervous System Cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hodgkins Lymphoma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Other Side Effects Eligible for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Settlements:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal Toxicity/Kidney Disease
  • Kidney Damage
  • Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Scleroderma
  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Female Infertility
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Immune Disorders
  • Nerve Damage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS or Pre-Leukemia)
  • Neurobehavioral effects (tremors, lack of coordination, movement or motor problems or other symptoms consistent with undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease)


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