Camp Lejeune Lawsuit News Updates

The latest lawsuit news and updates regarding Camp Lejeune.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update: US Senate Passes Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Bill

June 29, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

In a rare show of bipartisan support, on June 16, the United States Senate voted to approve the Honoring Our PACT Act by a margin of 84-14, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Biden already has voiced his support for the legislation, which aims to address some of the harms toxic exposure has caused to military servicemembers, civilian workers, and their families.    

The passing of the bill marks a landmark achievement for advocates, who have for decades argued that the US government owes an obligation to those it has injured through various forms of toxic exposure, from notorious burn pits to nuclear cleanups to contaminated water.    

For those impacted by decades of toxic drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, the legislation will offer many their first real opportunity to have their day in court. Among the bill’s numerous provisions, the PACT Act explicitly carves out a two-year window during which victims of toxic water at Camp Lejeune can file federal lawsuits in North Carolina district court. Such lawsuits previously had been barred by a state law provision that gave only ten years from the date of any toxic exposure (rather than from the date of the injury suffered, as is the case in most jurisdictions) for victims to file a claim. Because the impacts of toxic exposure—including diseases such as cancer—can take decades to develop, the state law effectively has acted as a barrier against any Camp Lejeune toxic water claims.    

Long-heralded by the US military as one of its preeminent training facilities, Camp Lejeune was for decades hiding a deadly secret: the drinking water coming from at least two of the base’s eight water-treatment facilities had been contaminated with highly dangerous volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. With as many as several million individuals exposed over a roughly 35-year span, countless birth defects, cancers, and other injuries have resulted.    

Despite having originally introduced the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, the provisions of which are contained in the PACT Act, both of North Carolina’s senators voted against the legislation in its final form. In a written statement, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) cited skepticism about the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ability to effectively implement the act as the reason behind his opposition.    

“Congress has an obligation to ensure the VA can effectively and efficiently implement any comprehensive toxic exposure legislation and, unfortunately, I continue to have reservations about the Department’s ability to do so,” Senator Tillis’ statement read.    

In order to be eligible to sue under the PACT Act, an individual must have been exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for a total of at least 30 days from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987. The 30 days need not be consecutive, and prenatal exposure in the womb qualifies.    

The two-year window for filing a claim will begin on the date the legislation takes effect.    

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest updates on Camp Lejeune legislation and litigation!      

Sources:    

Battaglia, Danielle. (17 June 2022). NC’s senators vote no on bill that helps Camp Lejeune vets exposed to toxic water. The News & Observer.    

The Office of US Senator Thom Thillis. (16 June 2022). Tillis Statement on the PACT Act

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update: Sen. Schumer Says Passage of Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Bill Is Imminent

June 15, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

On Tuesday, June 14, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged his colleagues to pass the PACT Act as soon as possible, saying they could do so by as early as June 15. In addition to other provisions aimed at furthering aid to veterans exposed to toxic conditions such as burn pits, the PACT Act also would allow victims of toxic water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune to, for the first time, file federal lawsuits in US district court.      

“We need to pass the PACT Act ASAP because our veterans have waited long enough for their healthcare benefits to treat complications from toxic exposure,” Senator Schumer said, according to PBS.      

The PACT Act would give two years for those exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune to file their lawsuits. To qualify, individuals must have been exposed for a total of 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Individuals previously had been barred from suing over their injuries by a North Carolina state law, which the PACT Act would supersede. The 30 days need not be consecutive, and the two-year window will begin at the moment the act takes effect. Individuals who were exposed to the toxic water while still in their mother’s womb also qualify.      

Camp Lejeune on the North Carolina coast has long been promoted by the United States military as one of the preeminent armed forces training grounds in the world. However, in 1982, the US Marines detected levels of highly dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water coming from two of the base’s eight water treatment plants. Some of these VOCs were present in concentrations that exceeded current drinking water standards by multiples of several hundred. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that as many as one million service members, civilian workers, and their family members had been exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.      

Overall, the PACT Act would provide an estimated $278 billion in additional funding over the next decade for victims of toxic water, toxic burn pits, and other toxic exposures resulting from military service, or the military service of a loved one. The extra money would be used to cover those suffering from 23 different cancers and respiratory illnesses closely tied to toxic exposure.      

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on June 14 affirmed that his often-criticized department would be capable of handling the influx of cash and the additional responsibilities that would come with passage of the PACT Act, while still fulfilling its other duties.      

“I think we’re ready for it,” McDonough said, according to 13 News Now. “We’ve been preparing for this. You’re giving us additional authorities and additional funding. And, taking care of one generation of veterans…needn’t come at the expense of veterans who have sacrificed so heroically for us in World II, Korea, Vietnam, or other wars. So, I think we can do this, and we can do this well.”      

While the PACT Act creates a cause of action for Camp Lejeune plaintiffs, allowing them to sue in federal court, its language explicitly leaves it to future plaintiffs to prove in court that their illnesses and injuries have been caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The following ailments have been closely linked to the toxic VOCs detected there:      

• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Bladder cancer
• Liver cancer
• Kidney cancer
• End stage renal disease
• Cardiac defects
• Leukemia
• Multiple myeloma
• Parkinson’s disease
• Scleroderma          

The PACT Act already has passed the US House of Representatives, and President Joe Biden—whose son Beau Biden died from brain cancer potentially linked to his exposure to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq—has already said he will sign the bill into law as soon as it passes the Senate.      

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest legal developments regarding toxic water at Camp Lejeune!        

Sources:      

PBS. (14 June 2022). WATCH: Senate considers legislation on health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances      

Falzone, Diana. (14 May 2022). Then the ‘Real Enemy’ Is at Home in the Drinking Water. Daily Beast      

Gooding, Mike. (14 June 2022). VA Sec. McDonough vows department can implement ‘PACT’ Act. 13 News Now      

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). (Accessed 3 June 2022). Health effects linked with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride exposure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update: US Senate Votes to Advance Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Legislation

June 8, 2022
Author: Daniel Gala

At a time when little if anything seems to be accomplished on a bipartisan basis, on June 7, the US Senate voted 86-12 to advance legislation that would give victims of Toxic water at Camp Lejeune the ability to sue the parties responsible for their injuries, including the United States military.    

The measure required a 3/5 majority to invoke cloture and proceed to a final vote. Based on the tally, the bill is likely to sail through its final vote en route to the President’s desk, where President Biden already has said he will sign the legislation. The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill in March.    

In addition to providing a period of two years during which victims of toxic water at Camp Lejeune can file lawsuits in US district court, the PACT Act also addresses numerous other instances of toxic poisoning of US military personnel, civilian workers, and families living on our near military installations.    

The White House applauded the vote in a statement released shortly thereafter.    

“Today’s bipartisan Senate vote to advance the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 is a critical step towards delivering health care and benefits to veterans and survivors impacted by toxic exposures,” the statement read. “Veterans and advocates across the country have spoken out about the importance of this legislation, which represents one of the most significant and substantive expansions of benefits and services in the Department of Veterans Affairs history.”    

While some may hail the allegedly historic nature of the bill, the fact remains that legislation of this nature is long overdue and cannot reverse the horrific and easily preventable wrongs of the past. Although Camp Lejeune in North Carolina long has been and remains one of the nation’s and the world’s preeminent military training installations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that up to one million military personnel, civilian workers, and family members may have been exposed to highly toxic drinking water over the course of more than three decades.    

In 1982, the United States Marines Corp. detected toxic contaminants in the water from two of Camp Lejeune’s eight water treatment facilities. The concentration of these contaminants exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency’s present limits by multiples of several hundred. As a result, soldiers, civilians, spouses, children, and even unborn fetuses have suffered an untold number of life-altering and even fatal ailments, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.    

The victims of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water and their survivors have been unable to seek justice in a court of law due to a North Carolina state law that has resulted in having every lawsuit filed to date tossed out before reaching a trial. However, the new legislation will, for the first time, create a federal cause of action that will supersede the North Carolina law and allow individuals to sue in the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.    

However, the bill does place limitations on who can sue. In order to qualify, one must have resided or worked at Camp Lejeune for a total of 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Plaintiffs will have only two years from the date on which the law takes effect in order to file their claims.    

With the passage and signing of the bill now looking imminent, the race will soon be on to file lawsuits. With up to one million individuals having been exposed and a limited time available in which to bring claims, the number of cases could quickly grow into the many thousands.    

Stay tuned to TheLawFirm.com for the latest developments in Camp Lejeune Toxic Water litigation!      

Sources:    

United States Senate. (7 June 2022). Roll Call Vote 117th Congress – 2nd Session. H.R. 3967    

The White House. (7 June 2022). Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Bipartisan Senate Vote to Advance Toxic Exposure Legislation. Statements and Releases    

Falzone, Diana. (14 May 2022). Then the ‘Real Enemy’ Is at Home in the Drinking Water. Daily Beast    

United States House of Representatives. (Accessed 3 June 2022). Sec. 706. Federal Cause of Action Relating to Water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. H.R. 3967 – Honoring our PACT Act of 2021

Legal Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be used as medical information or diagnosis. The sources of the information presented in the article have been researched and are linked within the article. Please seek out medical advice from a licensed medical professional if you are experiencing a problem with any of the drugs or devices mentioned in this article. 

Do you qualify for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Related Articles

About TLF

TheLawFirm.com logo

About TheLawFirm.com (TLF)

TheLawFirm.com is a group of award winning attorneys, paralegals and associates from the legal profession who’s main goal is to educate and represent their clients with the utmost expertise, respect and trust.

We also work closely with a large group of experts from the medical profession so we can draw upon their expertise, in order to present as much accurate information relating to various mass tort and personal injury lawsuits as we can.

Call Us Now For A Free consultation