Eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Status of Camp Lejeune Lawsuits To Be Updated Regularly on Public-Facing Website
As the early organizational structure is established for Camp Lejeune lawsuits being pursued over injuries caused by water contamination at the U.S. Marine training base in North Carolina, plaintiffs’ lawyers recently appointed to serve in leadership roles during the litigation have announced plans to keep the Court, lawyers and the public aware of the latest status updates as the cases moves forward.
Tens of thousands of claims are being presented under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) of 2022, which went into effect last year, opening a two year window for lawsuits to be filed against they U.S. government by individuals injured by contaminated water on the base.
As more U.S. military veterans and other individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune continue to retain lawyers, it is widely expected that the litigation will become the largest mass tort in U.S. history by the time the window closes in August 2024, involving dozens of different injuries that were allegedly caused by chemicals in the water at the base, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects and other injuries.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
The law requires all Camp Lejeune lawsuits to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where four separate federal judges are presiding over claims, including Judges Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III.
In the face of a rapidly growing case load, the judges established a Master Docket for Camp Lejeune lawsuits in May 2023, to help facilitate pretrial proceedings in the sprawling litigation. The Court also appointed a group of nine Camp Lejeune lawyers to serve in leadership roles, helping organize discovery efforts and coordinate between various different injury lawyers, the U.S. government and the judges.
Camp Lejeune Public-Facing Website Planned
In a status report (PDF) issued on Friday, plaintiffs’ lead counsel announced that they will launch a public-facing website by August 25, which will be used to keep the public apprised of progress in the litigation.
“It is the intention of Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group to file regular Reports and Status Updates, to keep the Court, counsel, Plaintiffs, and the public informed,” the status report states. “Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group intends to post these reports and other publicly filed information on the website that the Court has directed Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group to establish and maintain for this purpose.”
No website address for the site has yet been released.
In one of the first actions as lead counsel, a group of more than two dozen additional attorneys were identified last week, which will serve as members of a Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC). These attorneys will also be assigned to various subcommittees, to focus on specific areas of the litigation and take actions that benefit all plaintiffs pursuing claims.
According to the status report issued last week, a “Science and Experts Subcommittee” has already met in person, and made extensive progress discussing issues that lie at the core of the litigation, including retaining the necessary experts to establish links between Camp Lejeune water and injuries claimed in lawsuits. A “Discovery and ESI Subcommittee” also met and began creating an inventory of relevant documents and data that will be used in the litigation. In addition, the lead lawyers report that other subcommittees have met virtually and made substantial progress defining their respective tasks and objectives.
The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group has also exchanged drafts of a Proposed Initial Case Management Order with lawyers for the U.S. government, and conducted a full day meeting in Washington, D.C. on August 15, to negotiate terms. The group anticipates finalizing the order by Monday, August 28.
Some Plaintiffs Oppose Camp Lejeune Leadership Appointments
As the early organizational efforts get underway in the Camp Lejeune lawsuits, at least one law firm has recently filed an objection to the entire leadership structure.
In a motion for reconsideration (PDF) filed on August 16, a South Carolina law firm suggested that it was improper for the Court to assign certain counsel to leadership counsel, since the claims have not been consolidated as a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
“In this Court’s Order appointing leadership counsel and their duties, the court cites no controlling case law or statute that grants it the authority to do so at this stage in the litigation,” the motion states. “In fact, as this court noted, this case is not a multidistrict litigation or eligible for MDL treatment, so traditional centralization of the cases would not be applicable here. Forcing consolidation on undersigned counsel’s clients is an improper error and against the spirit of the law, as this Court has noted, and the Fourth Circuit agrees.”
The motion asked for the order appointing leadership counsel to be rescinded. The lead attorneys appointed by the court have indicated they intend to file a response to this motion by August 28.
August 2023 Camp Lejeune Water Poisoning Lawsuit Update
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 50,000 cases of breast cancer, 28,000 cases of bladder cancer, and 24,000 cases of renal cancer, as well as thousands of cases involve 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.
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 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:
- 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
- Multiple myeloma
- Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Prostate Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
Other Side Effects Eligible for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Benefits:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal Toxicity/Kidney Disease
- Kidney Damage
- Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- 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)
JimAugust 29, 2023 at 5:19 pm
Is there any linkage between the process in the Court and the process by the JAG? It appears that DOJ and DON resources are being diverted from the JAG's obligation to respond to claims filed there. There seems to be no information being provided on how the JAG will attend to the almost 100,000 claims filed.
GeorgeAugust 25, 2023 at 11:26 pm
I have two concerns about how the claims/lawsuits will work. (1) The fact that most law firms are charging 40% of any settlement that is made. I believe this to be a cash cow for the law firms as seen by all the ads on the internet and TV. I believe the 20% settled out of court and 25% or 33% for those that go to court. (2) The offsets is another concern as to how they will handle someone that[Show More]I have two concerns about how the claims/lawsuits will work. (1) The fact that most law firms are charging 40% of any settlement that is made. I believe this to be a cash cow for the law firms as seen by all the ads on the internet and TV. I believe the 20% settled out of court and 25% or 33% for those that go to court. (2) The offsets is another concern as to how they will handle someone that has individual rates that add up to 200+ % but have one rating at 100% for a listed cancer? (would this be a 50% offset for the VA disability collected to date?).
neilAugust 22, 2023 at 7:00 pm
I believe I qualify as a poisoned Lejeune victim from the late 1950s. I suffer from the effects of numerous disabilities including 10 bouts with cancer. I submitted a plethora of claims to the VA. Some were rated. Some were treated as "Not Service Connected". Every disability I filed was substantiated by Private Health Care Physicians' Data submitted. In most cases, VA Healthcare Providers look af[Show More]I believe I qualify as a poisoned Lejeune victim from the late 1950s. I suffer from the effects of numerous disabilities including 10 bouts with cancer. I submitted a plethora of claims to the VA. Some were rated. Some were treated as "Not Service Connected". Every disability I filed was substantiated by Private Health Care Physicians' Data submitted. In most cases, VA Healthcare Providers look after these disabilities. I filed as instructed with ZAG in JAN2023 and expected something in reponse to my filing. I am 85+ years young and anticipated an early offer and settlement from the Government. Silly, optimistic me. Slowly, quietly, more slowly grinds the pace of any bureauocracy. We have decades of data describing the pace of recompense for disabled veterans. Those of us that drank and washed the 4 poisons in Lejeune Water hope for closure before our expiration date. Semper Fi Marines!
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