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The United States government has a responsibility to protect the lives of service members and their families. Military bases not only house equipment, but also contain military personnel, their families, and workers. People who live on military bases expect a safe environment with basic housing, subsistence, 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 have resulted in serious diseases and health conditions.
Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina suffered water contamination issues from 1953 to 1987. Marines, families of those serving, and workers in 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 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.
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, which is believed to have contaminated the groundwater. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), nearly 900,000 servicemembers 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 tort suit more than ten years after the defendant’s last act.
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 quantity of TCE and PCE found in the water. Despite these results, the U.S. Marine Corps submitted a report to the EPA that stated 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.
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 reports that it has received over 5,000 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. 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 3M earplugs litigation as the largest mass tort litigation in history.
The Camp Lejeune Act of 2022 permits servicemembers 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.
After initially finding bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and the Senate, some Republicans in the Senate suddenly changed their stance on the Honoring our PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, in late July 2022. GOP Sen. Pat Toomey voted against the PACT Act over concerns about spending included in the bill, but his attempt to change a budget component failed. After a lengthy back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, the Senate passed the PACT Act in early August 2022. Then on August 10, President signed the Honoring our PACT Act into law. This decision tremendously helps Camp Lejeune claimants as it negates North Carolina’s legal statute that barred individuals from filing for legal compensation after ten years.
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. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 274-0139 or submit an inquiry on this page.