Third Track of Camp Lejeune Illnesses and Diseases To Be Selected For Case Specific Workup

Judges overseeing the Camp Lejeune lawsuits will hear proposals from the U.S. government and plaintiff's leadership counsel over which illnesses and diseases should be selected for a third round of bellwether trials.

The United States government is calling for a third series of Camp Lejeune lawsuits to 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 esophageal cancer, miscarriage, dental side effects, hypersensitivity skin disorder and the need for medical monitoring.

Over 190,000 individuals have submitted claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022, which President Joe Biden signed into law in August of that year, 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 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.

Since the filing window opened, individuals have come forward to seek compensation through Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits and injury claims for a wide range of diseases and illnesses associated with toxic chemicals found at the marine base. These include various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, fertility issues, and other injuries resulting from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

By the time the Camp Lejeune lawsuit filing deadline expires on August 10, 2024, it is expected that the litigation will become one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history, and the parties are actively working to establish several “tracks” of cases involving different Camp Lejeune illnesses and diseases, to help gauge what the average payouts should be.

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 government unilaterally offered an elective Camp Lejeune settlement option last year, 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 have indicated that the awards are insufficient.

In addition, lawsuits involving dozens of other Camp Lejeune disease and illnesses are still moving forward through the U.S. court system, where all claims are currently pending before four judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, including Judges Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III.

Track 3 Camp Lejeune Bellwether Trials

To assess the merits and shortcomings of claims linked to various injuries allegedly caused by Camp Lejeune water contamination, the presiding judges have already set up two distinct “tracks” to organize small groups of representative claims for early trial proceedings.

In October 2023, 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

In February 2024, the four judges confirmed that Track 2 Camp Lejeune illness lawsuits will be prepared for early trials for individuals diagnosed with:

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

In a recent status report (PDF) filed on April 19, 2024, the U.S. government proposed a third track of Camp Lejeune diseases that should be prepared for bellwether trials, including claims that involve:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Dental effects
  • Hypersensitivity skin disorder
  • Medical monitoring unrelated to a specific disease

Considering the volume of claims involving these injuries, U.S. attorneys argue that incorporating these claims into Track 3 could substantially progress the litigation. Furthermore, the U.S. government has argued that medical monitoring not tied to a specific disease does not fall under the purview of recoverable damages under the statute.

However, the Plaintiff Leadership Group (PLG) argued in the status report that the diseases selected by the Government will not significantly contribute to resolving the litigation, and will present its proposal for which injury claims should be included in Track 3 before the next status conference scheduled for April 26, 2024.

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

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