Everett Gaskins Hancock Tuttle Hash LLP

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Camp Lejeune Justice Act Passes

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2022 | Firm News

Camp Lejeune is a 246 square mile Marine Corps base camp located in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  From its construction in 1941 to present, millions of veterans, families, and civilian contractors have lived and worked on the base.

In the mid-1980s, environmental testing revealed that the water treatment plants at Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace had high levels of trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetracloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride.  Contamination is thought to have been present in these water distribution systems from the 1950s through the late 1980s.  Studies have found exposure to these chemicals creates elevated risks for several cancers, neurological illnesses, and cardiac defects.

On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which creates a cause of action for individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

You or a deceased family member may have a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act if:

  • You resided, worked, or were otherwise exposed (including in utero) to the water at Camp Lejeune
  • For not less than 30 days
  • From August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987

You do not need to be a veteran nor to have lived on base at Camp Lejeune to have a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Potential claimants also include families of veterans, non-military staff, and governmental contractors who were on base at Camp Lejeune.  For potential claimants who have since passed away, claims may be brought on behalf of the individual’s estate.

A claimant will need to show that he or she suffered an illness or disease as a result of the exposure.  The burden of proof under this federal law is much lower than in a criminal case or even a normal civil matter.  Illnesses previously linked to exposure at Camp Lejeune include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Major cardiac birth defects
  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Claims must be filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act by the later of 2 years from the date of enactment of the Act, August 10, 2022, or 180 after an administrative claim has been denied.  If you were present on base at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987 and have suffered an illness or disease which you may think be related, you should contact an attorney to discuss whether you may have a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act