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Veterans

Filing legal claims for victims
of water contamination at Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune Illness and Injury Attorneys

Filing claims for injured veterans, civilian employees, and their families for being exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, NC

For decades, military members and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina drank and bathed in water contaminated by a variety of cancer-causing toxins. People died. They suffered. Women had miscarriages. People suffered neuro-behavioral effects for ingesting this contaminated water. Even newborn babies suffered injuries at Camp Lejeune, with many unable to survive. Other victims endured, and still endure, long bouts of painful medical treatment for their conditions.

Even worse, due to a procedural bar in North Carolina law, very few victims have been able to successfully seek compensation for the harm they suffered from a contaminated water supply. However, this denial of justice may soon change, thanks to a new law.

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune

From 1953 to 1987, hundreds of thousands (and possibly a million) servicemembers, their families, and civilians were unknowingly exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune's military base. Unbeknownst at the time, but the water was later found to be contaminated with industrial solvents and other toxins. Exposure to these toxins led to serious health conditions from which former residents continue to suffer to this day, including:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Miscarriages
  • Still undiscovered disease processes

This is just a partial list of the conditions and diseases linked to the Camp Lejeune water poisoning. Unfortunately - and unjustly - victims may no longer file medical claims for their injuries under the Veteran's Administration. Further, because of a procedural limitation in North Carolina law, victims are also barred from seeking legal remedies for the suffering and harm they've experienced due to toxic water exposure.

What is the problem with the law as it stands?

Back in 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act. This legislation was named for the daughter of retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger. He believes she developed leukemia while in utero at Camp Lejeune. Janey died in 1985 at the age of nine. Although the Act provides some health care benefits to Camp Lejeune veterans, it does not provide any relief for dependents suffering from injuries caused by carcinogens and pollutants in the water supply.

MSgt Ensminger served for nearly a quarter-century in the Marines. He recently told The Hill, "The entire first trimester of Janey's pregnancy was there on the base. We've got more documented evidence of what happened at Camp Lejeune than they have for Agent Orange."

And, even though in 2017 the federal government agreed to pay out approximately $2.2 billion in disability benefits for a specified list of diseases and conditions - which does not include all the maladies Camp Lejeune veterans suffer - it is simply unfeasible for the VA to cover these massive costs, due to the unprecedented number of victims. Even with current laws in place, existing North Carolina legislation prevents any further legal action, due to what's called a statute of repose.

A statute of repose is different from a statute of limitations and, according to The Hill, "North Carolina is among the few states to have a statute of repose on polluters that prohibits plaintiffs from launching cases if more than 10 years have passed since the contaminating event."

What this means is that every single person with an injury stemming from Camp Lejeune had been barred from filing a legal claim.

All of this is set to change now that the PACT Act has been signed into law.

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Do Camp Lejeune victims have any legal recourse?

However, there's good news on the horizon. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is part of the PACT Act, which could provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of people exposed to toxic and poisonous water. Representative Greg Murphy had this to say when the bill first passed the House:

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When we send our men and women overseas, we make a promise to care for them when they come home. We failed our veterans when they were exposed to toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune, and it is up to us to make it right. My bipartisan bill, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, eliminates burdensome red tape to ensure that those exposed to toxic chemicals, including servicemembers, Marine dependents, civil servants, and contractors, can receive their day in court. As the proud representative of more than 89,000 veterans, I am honored to lead the effort to make sure our Camp Lejeune community gets the care and benefits they've earned.

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The Camp Lejeune Justice Act would allow anyone exposed to contaminated water – including those exposed in utero – to file a claim in U.S. District Court for their injuries. The Act will finally eliminate the legal hurdles facing victims, and make justice possible. This Act would cover any person stationed or on base at Camp Lejeune for more than thirty days who suffered from one of the many diseases linked to the contaminated water.

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Help and guidance for Camp Lejeune veterans and their families

The attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips want to help our military personnel harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Fill out our form to find out how to file your potential claim. When you fill out the client form, it ensures you receive updates on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and registers you to have your claim filed.

We serve veterans and their families throughout the country who have been affected by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

You fought for our country - let us fight for you.