Eligible for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
Master Complaint for Camp Lejeune Injury Lawsuits Filed On Behalf of All Claimants
With hundreds of thousands of Camp Lejeune injury lawsuits likely to be brought by military veterans, family members and other individuals impacted by contaminated water at the North Carolina military base, lawyers have filed a Master Complaint that outlines all of the common allegations and claims being pursued by plaintiffs.
The complaint was brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) of 2022, which was signed by President Biden in August 2022, opening a two year window for lawsuits to be brought by individuals injured by toxic chemicals in the water on the base between the mid-1950s and late-1980s.
Over the next year, the litigation is expected to become the largest mass tort in U.S. history, with claims brought involving dozens of different injuries, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, fertility problems and other conditions. While each plaintiff must individually establish that it is at least as likely as not that their injury was caused by exposure to water on the base, each of the lawsuits will also involve a number of similar allegations and claims.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act requires that each claim be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where four separate federal judges are presiding over the litigation, including Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III.
To help manage the sprawling claims, a group of Camp Lejeune injury lawyers have been appointed to leadership roles, taking certain actions during discovery and pretrial proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs, and the court has established a streamlined process for bringing new lawsuits using a Short Form Complaint, where each plaintiff adopts certain allegations from a larger Master Complaint.
Camp Lejeune Master Complaint Filed
Last month, the Court issued a case management order (PDF) directing the plaintiffs’ leadership to file a Master Complaint, which contains all of the allegations and claims that will be presented throughout the litigation.
“The Master Complaint will contain allegations that are suitable for adoption by reference in individual CLJA actions,” according to the order. “All individual plaintiffs who wish to pursue their CLJA action in accordance with this Order shall use the Short Form Compalint to pursue their CLJA actions. This process will allow Parties to assess which portions of the Master Complaint apply to each individual CLJA action.”
The 45-page Master Complaint (PDF) was filed on October 6, outlining the long history of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, which has been described by scientists as the worst public drinking water contamination crisis in U.S. history.
The complaint provides background on the problems, as well as a Camp Lejeune water contamination map, outlining various distribution systems that sent toxic chemicals throughout the base, including Hadnot Point, Holcomb Boulevard and Tarawa Terrace. The complaint also outlines the various chemical and contaminants in the water, which could be blamed for causing plaintiffs’ Camp Lejeune injuries.
“At the current time, the United States has conceded that exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune meets an equipoise or greater standard for certain diseases, including but not limited to kidney cancer, liver cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, multiple myeloma, acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, other forms of leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, end-stage renal disease, scleroderma, systemic sclerosis, cardiac birth defect, aplastic anemia and myelodysplastic syndrome,” according to the Master Complaint.
“Moreover, there is ample scientific evidence as of today demonstrating that exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune meets an equipoise or greater standard of causation for other cancers and non-cancer diseases,” the complaint continues. “Upon information and belief, additional studies are also underway that are reviewin the causal link between the contaminants at Camp Lejeune and other conditions and/or diseases.”
October 2023 Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update
The U.S. Department of Navy and Department of Justice have already received notice that more than 100,000 claims will be presented under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, and the filing window continues until August 2024.
To head off the growing litigation the U.S. government announced an elective Camp Lejeune settlement option last month, offering up to $550,000 to veterans and their families if they suffered specific medical conditions, which the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease registry (ATSDR) previously identified as having a high level of evidence establishing a causal link. However, a number of plaintiffs are expected to reject the offer, and there is a great deal of evidence linking various other injuries and illnesses to Camp Lejeune water, which will leave many claims needing to be resolved through the U.S. court system.
To help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation, the four judges recently directed the parties to select 100 lawsuits for potential Camp Lejeune bellwether trials, involving claims where plaintiffs claim to have suffered injuries due to bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
While the outcome of the early Camp Lejeune bellwether trials would not have a binding impact on other claims, the amount of any lawsuit payouts awarded may help the parties determine how juries will respond in future cases and facilitate settlement negotiations for different categories of injuries.
KarlaNovember 20, 2023 at 5:01 pm
Injury sorting will not work...the pain and suffering from a lifetime without children can not be downplayed as less severe than any disease..we will live our lifetime stripped of our god given maternal blessings...what a tragedy...ladies i feel your pain...god bless
MarkOctober 16, 2023 at 6:50 pm
Dealing with issues for 46 plus years and the Government can't get it together.
"*" indicates required fields
More Top Stories
Although Suboxone settlements have been paid to resolve antitrust violations, users who suffered damages due to tooth decay from Suboxone film must pursue individual product liability lawsuits
With thousands of Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the federal court system, a fourth bellwether trial will be held in the spring, involving allegations that defects with Bard 3DMax caused painful and permanent injuries.
A Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit accuses the manufacturer of failing to warn doctors to conduct hearing tests, which could have helped a woman avoid permanent hearing damage.