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The United States government has a responsibility to protect the lives of service members and their families. People who live on military bases expect a safe environment with basic housing, food, and other essential amenities. A military base should offer a decent quality of life for service members, dependents, and anyone else stationed there, but some bases have reportedly harmed occupants. For decades, individuals at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina used chemically contaminated water that allegedly caused several severe illnesses and adverse health effects. Lawsuits allege that the military knew about the toxic water but failed to intervene to fix the issue. Reach out today to speak with one of our attorneys to learn about how a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit can benefit you.
Our law firm is currently handling lawsuits on behalf of individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Prolonged consumption and use of toxic water at the military base may have resulted in serious diseases and health conditions. Call (888) 525-3529 or fill out the free case evaluation form on this page today to speak with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer at our firm.
The Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina suffered water contamination issues from 1953 to 1987. Marines, families of those serving, and workers at Camp Lejeune were exposed to highly toxic chemicals in the water supply for three decades. The military families used the water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing clothes. The Marine Corps identified high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Perchloroethylene (PCE), Trichloroethylene (TCE), and vinyl chloride in the primary water treatment facilities that supplied water to Camp Lejeune. For decades, housing units on the base received their drinking water from these affected plants.
Three water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune were found to have high levels of dangerous chemicals:
Several factors reportedly caused the water pollution at Camp Lejeune. ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry-cleaning plant near the Tarawa Terrace, used PCE to dry clean clothes. The dry-cleaning operation improperly disposed of the chemicals that leaked into the soil and groundwater. Leaking underground fuel tanks and waste disposal of solvents used to clean weaponry and machinery further contributed to the contamination at Camp Lejeune.
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), VOCs in the water wells on the base exceeded the thresholds established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA set 5 parts per billion (ppb) as the maximum safe level of PCE and TCE in drinking water. However, the water supply contained PCE levels up to 215 ppb and TCE levels as high as 1,400 ppb. VOCs are present in dry cleaning solvents and degreasers. A dry-cleaning company near Camp Lejeune used solvents containing VOCs, believed to have contaminated the groundwater. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), nearly 900,000 service members were exposed to the affected water.
People stationed at Camp Lejeune unknowingly used contaminated water for years. This repeated and extended use of water contaminated with TCE and PCE is known to cause significant harm to the human body. Scientific studies link exposure to these contaminants to the development of serious and sometimes fatal injuries, including, but not limited to:
However, injuries are not limited to only cancer. TCE and PCE are associated with other serious injuries such as:
Over 800 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). In December 2016, a federal judge dismissed these cases under North Carolina’s 10-year statute of repose. This statute prohibits filing a case more than ten years after the defendant’s last act.
However, thanks to the Camp Lejeune Just Act of 2022, victims of Camp Lejeune now have legal recourse to take action. Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law in August 2022, the Navy reported receiving 5,000 administrative Camp Lejeune water contamination claims in just a month. Legal experts estimate that if this filing trend continues, we can see as many as 500,000 Camp Lejeune lawsuits filed. If that is the case, then Camp Lejeune may surpass the 3M earplug litigation as the largest mass tort litigation in history.
Some residents claim that military officials knew of the base’s contaminated water but failed to respond. In 1980, the EPA’s new regulation required the military to perform water testing. After testing, the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency reported to the U.S. Marine Corps that the water contained alarming levels of chemical solvents, but the Marine Corps took no action. Grainger Laboratories further tested the water supply at the base in 1982. Grainger scientists advised the U.S. Marine Corps of the dangerous quantities of TCE and PCE found in the water. Despite these results, the U.S. Marine Corps submitted a report to the EPA stating there were no contamination issues at Camp Lejeune. In 1984, the U.S. Marine Corps agreed to shut down contaminated wells after a new laboratory report found benzine in the water in addition to TCE and PCE.
The Camp Lejeune Act of 2022 permits service members and their families to obtain financial compensation for injuries resulting from exposure to contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base. The act is part of the larger veteran’s healthcare bill, the Honoring Our PACT Act. The bill expands the protections previously offered by the VA to families exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune by providing an avenue for victims to seek compensation from the federal government. Previously, the VA had established free healthcare for Camp Lejeune families but barred them from pursuing legal redress.
On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the Honoring Our PACT Act into law. This decision tremendously helps Camp Lejeune claimants as it negates North Carolina’s legal statute that prevented individuals from filing for legal compensation after ten years.
Before filing a lawsuit, people must first tell the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) about their case by submitting an administrative claim. Then the Navy has six months to think about it. After that, if the Navy says no or six months pass, people can file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in court.
In February 2023, the six-month deadline for the JAG to respond to Camp Lejeune administrative claims expired. This expiration saw dozens of lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. As of August 2023, over 1,130 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits had been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, with roughly 90,000 administrative claims filed.
To expedite compensation, the U.S. Navy and DOJ introduced a tiered Camp Lejeune Elective Option, offering payouts ranging from $100,000 to $550,000 for specific diseases related to water exposure. Eligible claimants must have spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune during the contaminated period and were diagnosed 2 to 35 years after exposure.
Contact us today if you have questions about your eligibility for the Camp Lejeune elective option.
In November 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that three individuals accepted the first Camp Lejeune settlements as part of the Elective Option, totaling $850,000.
If you or someone you know developed adverse health effects due to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, you may recover compensation for any or all of the following:
Pursuing a toxic water claim requires a knowledgeable team of attorneys with extensive experience. At The Lake Law Firm, our attorneys are determined to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Therefore, if you believe you suffered harm we urge you to speak with one of our attorneys regarding your potential Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. A Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529 or submit an inquiry on this page.