marines

Camp Lejeune Justice Act Update

On June 16th, the United States Senate voted to pass the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This act is a federal mandate which, once signed into law by President Biden, will give former residents of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, military, civilians, and their families the right to seek reparations from the U. S. Government for health conditions related to exposure to contaminated water while at the base. The bill passed both the house and the senate with bipartisan support. It is anticipated that President Biden will sign the bill as early as next week.

We at Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC are proud not only to be representing those who qualify to make these claims but also to be joined by one of Brett’s law school classmates who is not only an attorney—but is a Marine. Lt. Col. Andrew Horne will be co-counseling with us. He will make certain that we are sensitive to the Marine-specifics of this case. Lt. Col. Horne was a grunt and a Mustang and was himself stationed at Lejeune—so he will benefit the team and our clients by his unique and special knowledge related to this litigation.

Background

From 1953 to 1987, service members and their families, and nearby civilians were exposed to contaminated drinking water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina. The water contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were apparently almost 300 times the standard safety level. Due to the toxic exposure, many veterans, people working at the camp, and their family members have been diagnosed with certain cancers and other diseases. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows these individuals to file claims and/or sue and recover damages for harm and exposure to the contaminated water. The bill prohibits the US Government from asserting specified immunity from this litigation.

Criteria for Camp Lejeune Cases:

Those who were on Camp Lejeune (or certain adjacent properties) for at least 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, at Camp Lejeune and who suffered certain health issues or received certain diagnoses will qualify.

This includes any infant who was in-utero on the base during this same time frame.

What Health Conditions are Included:

At this time, it appears that there are at least 8 medical conditions with which there is enough scientific and medical evidence to support a presumption that the condition was caused by exposure to toxins in the drinking water. These are called ‘Presumptive Conditions’. Qualifying veterans and family members will be required to submit records showing exposure for at least 30 consecutive days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and medical evidence of one or more of the following presumptive conditions:

The Current List of Presumptive Conditions Includes:

  • Leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Other conditions that may justify Camp Lejeune claims include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Renal toxicity
  • Female infertility
  • Scleroderma
  • Lung cancer
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Miscarriage
  • Neurobehavioral effects (like headaches, lack of coordination, sensory disturbances, cognitive decline, and mental health conditions)

Each individual who comes forward will need to prove a link from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and the disability/ illness. They will also have to demonstrate how their medical condition has negatively affected their life.

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