Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Over Prostate, Lung, Liver, Breast Cancer and Kidney Disease To Be Prepared For Track 2 Trials

The parties have been given 10 days to file a Track 2 discovery plan for Camp Lejeune lawsuits to be prepared for a second round of bellwether trials.

A second batch of Camp Lejeune lawsuits will be selected for early bellwether trials, involving claims that water contamination at the U.S. Marine training base in North Carolina caused the development of prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer or kidney disease, which will be set for early trial dates after a first group of bellwether cases involving bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

About 150,000 individuals have filed claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022, which President Joe Biden signed into law a year and a half ago, opening a two-year window for lawsuits to be brought by anyone injured by contaminated water at the base between the mid-1950s and late-1980s.

The landmark legislation was enacted after the Navy previously denied claims for decades, due to qualified immunity statutes and the North Carolina statute of limitations, which had already expired by the time the water contamination problems at Camp Lejeune were discovered.

The litigation now includes claims for dozens of different injuries that were allegedly caused by toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, fertility problems and other injuries, and it is widely expected that the litigation will become one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history by the time the filing window closes in August 2024.

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

While the U.S. government has offered an elective Camp Lejeune settlement option, providing guaranteed tiers of compensation for veterans and their families if they suffered certain medical conditions, such as kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, bladder cancer, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease and systemic sclerosis, many claimants will not qualify for this settlement offer or intend to pursue additional compensation through the U.S. court system.

The legislation requires that all Camp Lejeune lawsuits be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where four separate judges are working together to coordinate and manage the proceedings, including Judges Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Track 2 Discovery Plan

To help gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of claims involving different categories of injuries commonly raised in Camp Lejeune lawsuits, the judges have established two separate “tracks”, which will prepare small groups of representative claims for early trial dates.

Late last year, the Court established a first track of Camp Lejeune bellwether lawsuits, and lawyers have selected 100 cases that are currently going through early discovery, including claims that involve:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

It has been anticipated that the court would establish a “Track 2” bellwether pool involving additional injuries, but it has been unclear which specific cancers and injuries would be next to go through case-specific discovery.

In a case management order (PDF) issued on February 26, the four judges overseeing Camp Lejeune lawsuits announced the Track 2 Discovery Plan Order, after the parties submitted competing proposals on how the Track 2 cases should be handled.

According to the order, the Discovery Pool for Track 2 cases will consist of plaintiffs alleging injuries involving:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Kidney Disease
  • Lung Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Breast Cancer

“This selection does not assess the merits of these or other CLJA actions,” the order states. “Rather, the selection focuses on illnesses for which early trials may help to promote early resolution for common illnesses.”

The order calls for the parties to either jointly, or separately, submit a proposed discovery plan for the Track 2 pool within 10 days of the order.

March 2024 Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Update

With the first Track 1 cases anticipated to go to trial later this year, in January 2024 plaintiffs filed a motion for pretrial summary judgment on the issue of specific causation, indicating that the CLJA only requires that each plaintiff establish 30 days exposure and that it is as likely as not that their condition is generally caused by chemicals known to be in the water.

However, attorneys for the United States government filed a response on February 19, arguing that each individual plaintiff should also be required to establish specific causation for their injuries.

The filing by the government lawyers seems to contradict previous statements made by law makers, which indicated that the new law would only require claimants to show they were exposed on the base during the time period of contamination, and the government would assume those injuries were caused by that contamination, given the time passed and the difficulty in proving exposure to specific contaminants.

In addition, the judges overseeing the litigation have ruled that they will determine Camp Lejeune lawsuit payouts instead of a jury, which they say will help move the litigation forward much more rapidly than jury trials.

While the outcome of the early bellwether trials will not have a binding impact on other claims, the amount of any Camp Lejeune lawsuit payouts awarded may help the parties in those negotiations, by demonstrating how judges are likely to respond in future cases to various types of injuries.

1 Comments

  • LarryMarch 30, 2024 at 11:05 am

    The EO settlement option allows only 1 claim. You don't have less claims simply because you would like some part of a settlement before you die. I was first contacted in 2009 by an Attorney who has hung in this since. I'm now 70. Speed this up but don't throw out damages to save money taking advantage of Marines trying to get something before they die .

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