In 1942, the United States established Camp Lejeune as a Marine Corps base in North Carolina. In addition to hosting military training, Camp Lejeune has been home to individuals on active duty, military retirees, civilian employees, and several families. Between the 1950s and 1980s, Camp Lejeune was also home to seriously contaminated water. With the passage of recent federal legislation, individuals who have developed certain health conditions after past exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune have an avenue to seek legal redress from the government.
If you suspect that you have an illness caused by Camp Lejeune’s water and you don’t know how to assert your legal rights, contact us at D’Amore Law Group. For almost 30 years, our firm has been representing victims of negligence. We lead with compassion, integrity, and knowledge, and we want to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Water Contaminants Found at Camp Lejeune Military Base
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Camp Lejeune’s water. Among the VOCs found were:
- Perchloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene (PCE),
- Trichloroethylene (TCE),
- Trans-1, 2-DCE (t-1, 2-dichloroethylene), and
- Vinyl chloride.
These contaminants came from industrial spills, underground storage tanks, and waste disposal (including waste disposal from a dry cleaning business in the area). And unfortunately, the VOCs found in Camp Lejeune’s water supply are associated with a large number of devastating medical conditions.
Health Conditions and Diseases Caused by the Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
Between 1953 and 1987, Camp Lejeune’s water had the potential to be incredibly harmful to many residents, visitors, and employees in the area. Contact with water at Camp Lejeune has been associated with the development of the following medical conditions:
- Aplastic anemia;
- Birth defects;
- Cardiac defects;
- Choanal atresia (bone or tissue blockage of nasal passages);
- End-stage renal disease;
- Eye defects;
- Fetal death;
- Impaired immune system function;
- Liver cirrhosis;
- Low birth weight;
- Major malformations;
- Multiple myeloma;
- Myelodysplastic syndromes;
- Neural tube defects;
- Neurobehavioral performance deficits;
- Neurological defects;
- Oral cleft defects;
- Smallness for gestational age;
- Parkinson disease;
- Severe, generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder;
- Bladder cancer;
- Brain cancer;
- Breast cancer;
- Cervical cancer;
- Esophageal cancer;
- Kidney cancer;
- Liver cancer;
- Lung cancer;
- Ovarian cancer;
- Prostate cancer;
- Rectal cancer;
- Soft tissue cancer;
- Hodgkin’s disease;
- Leukemia; and
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
To address the injuries that Camp Lejeune’s water supply has caused to many in the past, the federal government enacted legislation that allows victims to seek the compensation they deserve.
The Camp Lejeune Act of 2022
The Camp Lejeune Act of 2022 (Camp Lejeune Act) allows individuals exposed to Camp Lejeune waters between 1953 and 1987 to recover financial damages for resultant injuries. This law is a monumental development. Before the enactment of the Camp LeJeune Act, statutes of limitations and governmental immunity laws would have barred many harmed individuals from pursuing legal relief.
Who Can File a Lawsuit Under the Camp Lejeune Act?
If you were at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and you later suffered from a medical condition associated with the contaminated water, you have a right to sue. Individuals who have a right to sue include those who had in utero exposure to Camp Lejeune’s waters and legal representatives of the victims. However, people exposed to contaminated waters due to combatant activities of the Armed Forces do not have a right to sue under the Camp Lejeune Act.
If you believe that you are in the class of individuals with legal rights under the Camp Lejeune Act, speak to our experienced personal injury attorneys at D’Amore Law Group. Any records of your past residences, travel history, and medical needs can help us guide you toward your best legal options.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Camp Lejeune Act Lawsuit?
If your legal complaint is successful, you can receive compensation for your financial losses and payment for your pain and suffering. If you receive Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, or Medicare benefits, the court will reduce your Camp Lejeune Act award by the amount of those government benefits.
How Do I File a Camp Lejeune Act Lawsuit?
Before you can file a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Act, you must comply with section 2675 of Title 28 of the United States Code. Under section 2675, you have to present your claim to the federal government. If the federal government denies your claim or fails to respond within six months, you can proceed with a lawsuit.
You must file your lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Given the resources, potential travel, and time it takes to litigate cases of this complexity and magnitude, it is often easier to join a class action (or mass tort) lawsuit to hold the government accountable. With a class action lawsuit, you can find strength in numbers by joining other victims harmed after exposure to Camp Lejeune’s waters. If you have questions about joining a class-action lawsuit, D’Amore Law Group can help.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?
The Camp Lejeune Act was enacted on August 10, 2022, and you must file your lawsuit by the later of the two following deadlines:
- Within two years after the enactment of the Camp Lejeune Act; or
- Within 180 days after the government denies your claim under section 2675.
Initiating a legal complaint against the federal government can be daunting, so it is best to hire a skilled attorney to timely file your complaints and handle your legal needs.
D’Amore Law Group Can Help
At D’Amore Law Group, we have helped thousands of personal injury victims. Our award-winning attorneys are equipped to handle complex cases, and we have won over $100 million dollars on behalf of our clients. If you seek expert legal guidance and a compassionate advocate, we are here for you. We serve Oregon, Washington and California. Please contact us for help. There are no upfront legal fees.