Robins Kaplan Pursuing Camp Lejeune Claims
Robins Kaplan LLP is proudly representing military service men and women, and their families, who may have been injured at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. With the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, injured service people now have a right to bring claims for injury relating to their exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Water Contamination Ongoing for Decades
Drinking-water contaminants were first detected in the drinking water wells at Camp Lejeune in 1980. Unfortunately, the wells had been in use for many years prior. The chemicals detected included trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, vinyl chloride, and other compounds, which were likely related to on-base industrial activities and an off‑base dry‑cleaning facility. In 1987, the base closed the contaminated wells. It is estimated that up to one million people may have had contact with the contaminated water, causing long-term health consequences.
Congress Responds to the Contamination
In 2009, the National Research Council released its report “Contaminated Water Supplies at Camp Lejeune: Assessing Potential Health Effects” in response to a request from Congress. The guidance states that the Veterans Administration has authority to reimburse family members for medical conditions that are secondary to a covered condition.
In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. The law provides medical care, but not compensation, to veterans and family members who have any of 15 specific health outcomes.
In August 2022, President Biden signed the “Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, providing a new legal avenue of recovery for veterans and family exposed to contamination at Camp Lejeune. This legislation provides additional funding to support those injured and sets specific parameters and time limits to make a claim. Under this act, claimants may be able to recover their healthcare costs and additional compensation, unlike the 2012 law.
Since the law passed, thousands of claims have reportedly been filed with the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corp office, a prerequisite before filing a lawsuit. These cases must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and it is expected they will eventually be consolidated before one judge there.
There are a few key requirements for those seeking to pursue a Camp Lejeune claim. Contact us with specific questions on whether someone may qualify. First, in order to be eligible under the act, individuals must have lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. This includes veterans, reservists, and guardsmen and women; the families of those service members; and civilian workers.
Second, the government has listed some presumptive qualifying injuries and conditions, which include:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
This list is not exclusive or exhaustive. Other injuries may qualify.
Benefits of the Act
At a high level, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is intended to help victims. First, it forbids any other statutes of limitations from applying to these claims, other than the ones articulated in the statute. Second, it creates a new cause of action for individuals to pursue compensation against the government, thereby waiving official immunity. Finally, it lowers the burden of proof that is typically required in these types of cases.
Please Contact Our Camp Lejeune Attorneys With Questions
If your clients have questions about a potential Camp Lejeune claim, please feel free to contact us. The process begins with an administrative claim, and there are strict deadlines in which to file, so please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you are interested in having us represent you, you should call us so we can determine whether the matter is one for which we are willing or able to accept professional responsibility. We will not make this determination by e-mail communication. The telephone numbers and addresses for our offices are listed on this page. We reserve the right to decline any representation. We may be required to decline representation if it would create a conflict of interest with our other clients.
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