The Camp Lejeune contaminated water claims have yet to be resolved, but the ongoing battle for compensation is still progressing. In this article, we’ll provide you with the latest updates on the Camp Lejeune claims.
For those that aren’t aware, for almost 35 years, a water treatment facility at Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina contaminated the drinking water on base. This exposed active duty military personnel, civilian employees, and military members’ families to toxic chemicals and substances, causing debilitating medical conditions and even death among those exposed.
If you spent at least 30 days at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base between the years of 1953 and 1987 and suffered injuries as a result of toxic exposure, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. The Camp Lejeune lawyers at Lipton Law are here to help victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Call us at 248-557-1688 and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss your case.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Update September 2023
Below are some of the most important Camp Lejeune lawsuit updates from September 2023.
September 28, 2023
The federal district court overseeing the Camp Lejeune cases has issued a second case management order to address issues between the parties involved in the litigation. This second case management order also outlines the conditions that will qualify for Track 1, which include lymphoma, leukemia, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
Lastly, this order also states that Track 1 trials should begin in 2024, and both sides should be prepared to commence trials by that time. This means that victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination may be able to have their day in court starting next year.
September 20, 2023
The U.S. government has put a limit on the legal fees that Camp Lejeune lawyers can charge their clients, due to the potential for abuse by predatory legal professionals. Attorney General Merrick Garland was personally involved in this decision.
Lawyers will only be able to receive 20% in legal fees for settlements, and only 25% in legal fees for lawsuits.
The government has billions of dollars at stake, so it stands to reason that many of the Camp Lejeune settlements and trial awards will likely be very high. Putting a cap on the percentage of attorney fees ensures that a majority of the money will go to the Camp Lejeune victims rather than the lawyers trying their case.
September 16, 2023
The judges presiding over the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits have denied a motion challenging the appointment of some of the members of the plaintiffs’ leadership team. The law firm that filed the motion claimed that there was a lack of transparency from the members of the leadership team, among other issues.
With the motion denied, the leadership committee can focus on discovery and moving toward litigation, which will help victims receive compensation sooner rather than later.
September 6, 2023
The United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy have proposed a voluntary settlement option, called the “Elective Option.” The Camp Lejeune settlement offers in the Elective Option vary based on the disease the victim suffered from, as well as how long they were exposed to the Camp Lejeune contaminated water.
The following health conditions qualify for Tier 1 compensation:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
Based on the length of their exposure, victims with Tier 1 conditions can receive compensation up to the following amounts:
- 30 days to 1 year = $150,000
- 1 to 5 years = $300,00
- More than 5 years = $450,000
The following conditions qualify for Tier 2:
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney disease/end-stage renal disease
- Systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma
Victims with Tier 2 conditions can receive the following compensation amounts:
- 30 days to 1 year = $100,000
- 1 to 5 years = $250,00
- More than 5 years = $400,000
Any wrongful death claims would receive an extra $100,000 in addition to the above settlement amount that the deceased victim would have qualified for.
Many Camp Lejeune victims with the qualifying conditions will be contacted about their potential settlement offer under the Elective Option, but should discuss their options with a legal representative. While these settlement amounts can be fair for some victims, they can be completely insufficient for others, and those victims may receive more compensation through a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
It’s important to remember that accepting any settlement offer may bar you from pursuing further compensation in the future, which is why those with a Camp Lejeune claim should contact a skilled tort attorney who can advise them on the best course of action.
September 5, 2023
The Department of Justice is seeking an extension to respond to Camp Lejeune litigation. Previously, the Justice Department was given until October 2nd, 2023, to respond to certain cases, but this extension granted by the Court does not include cases in which the DOJ has already responded. Extending the deadline for ongoing investigations to October 2nd, 2023, would match the jointly proposed case management plan previously submitted to the Court.
September 1, 2023
Both the government and Camp Lejeune victims have submitted a joint status report regarding a proposed case management plan While both sides agreed on many of the elements in the management plan, the two sides proposed different ways of grouping pending Camp Lejeune lawsuits.
Many experts agree that the suits should be addressed through a batch process, but the government and the plaintiffs disagree on what diseases should qualify a victim for “Track 1,” which will be the first batch of cases the government will handle.
Plaintiffs believe that Camp Lejeune victims who suffered from leukemia, lymphoma, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease should be put on Track 1. The government, however, only wants to include victims who suffered from leukemia, kidney cancer, and Parkinson’s in Track 1.
The reason plaintiffs are pushing for more diseases to be included in Track 1 is because the cases in Track 1 are most likely going to be settled faster than others. This is because the plaintiffs’ listed health conditions are very closely tied to exposure to the chemicals found at Camp Lejeune. This would allow those who suffered from such serious conditions to receive fair compensation and have their Camp Lejeune claim handled in a more timely manner.
How Many Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Have Been Filed?
Currently, there have been more than 1,100 lawsuits filed and more than 93,000 administrative claims filed over Camp Lejeune’s toxic water exposure. If the government does not respond to these Camp Lejeune administrative claims in a timely manner, these administrative claims may also become lawsuits.
How Many People Were Affected by the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s estimated that over one million Marines, civilian employees, and military family members were affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
What Illnesses Have Victims Developed from the Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune?
Many of those who were directly exposed to Camp Lejeune’s water have suffered from some sort of health issue as a result of the contamination. Some have suffered from severe and life-threatening conditions such as cancer, or have developed lifelong health complications such as birth defects.
Below are some of the most severe and, unfortunately, some of the most common conditions that Camp Lejeune victims have suffered from as a result of the exposure.
Exposure to the chemicals found in Camp Lejeune’s water treatment facilities has been linked to several types of cancer, including:
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Breast cancer
- Adult leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
If you lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1952 and 1987, and you have developed any of these forms of cancer, you may have been harmed by the contaminated water on base.
Another common condition found in those who were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune is Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movement. The disease is progressive, meaning that a person’s Parkinson’s symptoms will most likely only get worse over time.
Patients with Parkinson’s tend only to live about 10 to 20 years from their diagnosis. Additionally, the disease has a higher mortality rate amongst those assigned female at birth.
Many Camp Lejeune cases involve birth defects, which are health conditions children are born with due to exposure to harmful substances while in utero, or due to genetics. Some of the birth defects associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
- Cardiac defects
- Immune system disorders
- Low birth weight
- Oral cleft defects
- Neural tube birth defects (like spina bifida)
Additionally, many women who were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune suffered from miscarriages as a result of the toxic exposure, or were made infertile.
If your child suffered from a birth defect as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination, the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Lipton Law can evaluate your claim and help you file for compensation.
How to File a Camp Lejeune Claim Under the Federal Tort Claims Act
If you or a loved one has suffered from injuries as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination, you must fill out a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim form. Once it’s filled out, email it to email@example.com or mail it to the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit (TCU).
This form will require evidence to prove that you are eligible to file a claim, and will need to prove that you lived on base at Camp Lejeune and that you suffered from illnesses as a result of the contaminated drinking water.
This evidence can include mail that was addressed to your residence at Camp Lejeune, or medical records that prove you suffered from one of the health conditions tied to the water contamination. An attorney can help walk you through the process and help you gather evidence to prove you have a valid claim.
If your initial administrative claim is denied and you are refused a settlement, or if you do not receive a response from the government within 180 days of filing, you can file a formal complaint with the North Carolina Federal Court. This will be a formal lawsuit against the government for their negligence.
We at Lipton Law can help you file your initial Camp Lejeune water contamination claims as well as your formal complaint, ensuring that you have the best chance at receiving fair compensation for your losses. For a better idea of what the Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement amounts, read our related blog.
What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, members of the public are able to file civil lawsuits against the U.S. government for negligence as a result of government employees working within the scope of their jobs.
Unfortunately, this act only allowed victims to file a claim within two years of the act or omission. Additionally, the only people receiving compensation as a result of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were Camp Lejeune veterans, and they were only receiving health care coverage and VA benefits.
The PACT Act, which was signed into law in August of 2022, expanded benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and toxic substances. A portion of the PACT Act also included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which allowed victims to pursue legal action against the federal government for their exposure to toxic chemicals while at Camp Lejeune until August 2024.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows victims to recover compensation for more than just medical bills; victims can receive financial compensation for lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Not only that, but the act allows the civilians who lived on base to file a claim for compensation, including children who were harmed while in utero at Camp Lejeune.
Additionally, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act prevents the government from using “sovereign immunity” to defend against claims of negligence. It also protects veterans from losing their VA benefits if they participate in any Camp Lejeune litigation.
Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims
Family members of a person who died as a result of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune can file a wrongful death claim for compensation. The process for a wrongful death claim will be similar to other Camp Lejeune claims, but these kinds of claims usually result in higher compensation due to the severity of the loss.
We at Lipton Law can determine eligibility, help you gather evidence, and assist you in filing your claim against the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call us at 248-557-1688 to schedule a free initial case evaluation with a legal professional on our team.
How Soon Will We See Payouts from Camp Lejeune Claims?
The Camp Lejeune litigation is still ongoing, and no Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been settled as of September 2023. The best estimates say that victims may see payouts within 1-2 years of filing their claim.
The courts are still working on a way to process cases, but with the number of current pending cases and the potential additional cases that will be filed within the next year, the court will most likely need to handle cases in consolidated batches rather than one by one.
Contact a Camp Lejeune Lawyer in Michigan at Lipton Law
No one should fear that their drinking water could give them cancer or make them infertile, but unfortunately, that was the reality of over one million individuals who stayed at Camp Lejeune. At Lipton Law, we are proud to help our Camp Lejeune clients seek compensation for their losses.
If you or a loved one has suffered from an illness or died as a result of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we’re here to help. Call our law firm at 248-557-1688 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with one of the Camp Lejeune attorneys on our team.