Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, military personnel and their families living or working at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 that have suffered disabling and deadly illnesses such as cancer, birth defects and neurological disorders are able to pursue justice and compensation through a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Contact The Lanier Law Firm now for a free case evaluation.
Military personnel, their families and civilians living and working at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987.
The contaminants in the water at Camp Lejeune during this time period have been associated with cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders and more.
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How can The Lanier Law Firm help me with my Camp Lejeune water contamination case?
Passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a victory for water contamination victims who have suffered for decades from debilitating illnesses and the wrongful deaths of their loved ones without compensation. Despite clear evidence of the military’s culpability, winning your lawsuit won’t be easy.
This type of case requires a detailed review of your medical records with proof of the connection between your illness and the water contamination. The military will resist paying damages to the fullest extent possible by using expensive attorneys and legal maneuvering to escape liability.
Standing up to the military will require the use of expert witnesses, strong negotiation skills and exceptional litigation abilities.
The personal injury attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm have a 32-year history of successfully standing up to large entities on behalf of the people they harmed. We will thwart every known legal tactic the military may use in its effort to avoid paying you the compensation you are owed.
Why is The Lanier Law Firm the best choice?
The Lanier Law Firm is committed to redefining legal care by offering a personalized, compassionate approach that gets results. Our commitment to each client is well-known throughout the legal community, resulting in multiple prestigious accolades from our peers, including the following:
- Best Law Firms, Tier 1 Ranking by U.S. News & World Report
- Most Impressive Plaintiff Verdict by Courtroom View Network
- Trial Lawyer of the Year – Mark Lanier
- Best Lawyers in America – 12 Lanier attorneys
These recognitions came about as a result of our long track record of success on behalf of our deserving clients, such as the following:
- $2.1 billion verdict upheld against Johnson & Johnson for asbestos in talc powder causing ovarian cancer
- $1.05 billion verdict for defective hip implants against Depuy Orthopaedics
- $115 million in an asbestos case on behalf of 21 steelworkers
- $56.3 million verdict against Caterpillar on behalf of a paralyzed construction worker
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides a short window of opportunity to hold the military accountable for its negligence and recover your long-overdue compensation. Contact The Lanier Law Firm today for a free consultation.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimates that as many as one million military members and their families were exposed to contaminated drinking water while serving at Camp Lejeune. Military personnel and their families have faced deadly cancers, miscarriages, birth defects and even the death of their children.
These brave men and women signed on with a willingness to sacrifice themselves for their country. The expectation was that any harm they experienced would occur overseas while fighting a known enemy. They did not agree to jeopardize their families’ health or their own while serving in what they believed to be the safety of their home base.
The attorneys at The Lanier Law Firm are grateful for our veterans and their service. We are dedicated to ensuring that they receive long-overdue justice for the harm that came to them and their families while training, serving and residing at Camp Lejeune.
What is Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is a 153,439-acre military Marine base near Jacksonville, North Carolina, that also supports the Coast Guard and the Navy. It is strategically located near the two deep water ports at Morehead City and Wilmington and contains approximately 450 miles of roads, nearly 7,000 buildings and 14 miles of Atlantic beachfront.
The base is large enough to support approximately 137,526 military members, their families and civilian employees. The current population includes 38,778 active duty members, 38,769 family members, and more than 20,000 civilians and retirees.
Who is impacted by the water contamination?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987. Military personnel, family members and civilian employees living or working on the base during this time may have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water over an extended period of time.
What contaminants have been discovered in Camp Lejeune water?
Water testing performed in 1982 revealed that the water contained alarmingly high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which varied by location on the base, according to the ATSDR. The three contaminated water treatment plants that provided water to the majority of residents at Camp Lejeune were Tarawa Terrace, Hadnot Point and Holcomb Boulevard.
The Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant was established in 1952 and served Tarawa Terrace family housing and the Knox trailer park. The primary VOC found in the Tarawa treatment plant was perchloroethylene (PCE), in the amount of 215 parts per billion (ppb). This is 43 times higher than the established EPA safe limit of 5 parts per billion.
The ATSDR estimates that the levels of PCE in Tarawa Terrace drinking water exceeded 5 parts per billion for approximately 346 months from November 1957 through February 1987. The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985, and the entire plant was shut down in March 1987.
The Hadnot Point water treatment plant was established in 1942 and served the following areas:
- Mainside barracks
- Hospital Point family housing
- Family housing in Midway Park, Paradise Point and Berkeley Manor (until June 1972)
The primary VOC detected in Hadnot Point water was trichloroethylene (TCE). Testing revealed concentrations of TCE as high as 1,400 parts per billion. The EPA-established safe level is 5 ppb, which means the concentration of TCE was 280 times higher than the limit. Testing also discovered the following VOCs:
- Trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Vinyl chloride
The ATSDR estimates that at least one of these VOCs exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level from August 1953 through January 1985. The most severely contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985, three years after the military discovered the contamination in 1982.
The Holcomb Boulevard water treatment plant began operations in 1972 and served the following areas:
- Family housing in Midway Park, Paradise Point and Berkeley
- Tarawa Terrace family housing after March 1987
These wells were generally uncontaminated, but contaminated water was occasionally supplied to the Holcomb Boulevard water system as follows:
- From January 27 through February 7, 1985, while the Holcomb
Boulevard plant was shut down
- During dry spring and summer months intermittently when
demand was high from 1972 through 1985
How did the water at Camp Lejeune become contaminated?
The ATSDR has identified ABC One-Hour Dry Cleaners, a nearby business located off-base that is now closed, as the source of the PCE contamination.
The TCE contamination has been attributed to leaking underground storage tanks and waste disposal sites.
Health Effects of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The ATSDR has found associations between several severe and life-threatening illnesses and the VOCs that contaminated
Camp Lejeune water.
- Soft tissue cancer
- Breast cancer, including male breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hodgkin disease
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
Birth Defects and Pregnancy Complications
- Cardiac defects
- Choanal atresia
- Eye defects
- Low birth weight
- Fetal death
- Significant malformations
- Neural tube defects
- Oral cleft defects
Neurological and Neurobehavioral Disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Delayed reaction times
- Short-term memory loss
- Visual perception disorders
- Attention disorders
- Color vision impairments
- Delayed recall
- Decreased blink reflex
- Aplastic anemia
- Severe hypersensitivity skin disorder
Internal Organ Impairment
- End-stage renal disease
- Liver cirrhosis
VA Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Victims
The VA offers certain benefits to military personnel and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days cumulatively during the established contamination period in accordance with the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.
VA Health Care
Camp Lejeune VA health care provides free medical care and reimbursement for any previous treatment for qualified veterans who have been diagnosed with at least one of the following 15 qualifying health conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
Family members are not eligible for VA health care, but family members are entitled to reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical expenses related to the above 15 conditions.
VA disability is available to veterans with service-connected disabilities. The VA offers a presumption of service connection for qualified Camp Lejeune veterans who have been diagnosed with one or more of the following eight conditions:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia/myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
According to the VA, veterans with other conditions may also apply, and their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Limitations of the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012
The 2012 legislation provided veterans with benefits, but it stopped short of providing recourse for veterans whose applications for benefits are denied or who need higher levels of compensation than the VA offers.
A 2022 CBS News investigation revealed that the VA routinely denies Camp Lejeune claims, with a current approval rate of just 17 percent. The investigation also uncovered that the VA began using subject matter experts (SMEs) to review Camp Lejeune claims.
Many of these claims are denied on the grounds that the SMEs are more compelling than the veteran’s own physicians. The investigation observed that the SMEs don’t examine these patients and often lack the expertise to make qualified assessments. This leaves these disabled veterans without compensation despite being harmed in the line of duty.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuits
In a long-anticipated victory for Camp Lejeune water contamination victims, the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, was recently signed into law.
The military has been able to escape accountability by hiding behind North Carolina’s 10-year statute of repose for decades. Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, our faithful military veterans and their families can finally get the justice and compensation they need and deserve.
How much compensation can I recover in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows water contamination victims to recover substantial compensation. The amount you can recover will vary based on the extent of your injuries and their lifetime impact. You are entitled to receive compensation for both economic and non-economic losses, including but not limited to the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and bonuses
- Lost business opportunities
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of society
In the case of wrongful death, family members of the deceased can recoup the following under North Carolina’s wrongful death statute:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Income loss suffered by the family as a result of the death
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of care and assistance
- The pain and suffering of the deceased
Punitive damages are prohibited under the legislation, but North Carolina statutes place no limits on the non-economic damages you can recover.
How much time do I have to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act nullifies the North Carolina statute of repose in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases and replaces it with a statute of limitations of two years from the date the act became law. This may be shorter in certain cases, so it is important to contact an environmental law attorney as soon as possible.
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