Camp Lejeune Lawsuit News Feed

We have been updating victims on Camp Lejeune since this litigation started. This is our archives for people who want to review older Camp Lejeune updates.

January 16, 2024 – Summary Judgment Sought

Camp Lejeune lawyers boldly filed a motion for summary judgment. on general causation in the Camp Lejeune litigation. This would mean that the plaintiff must only show they were on the base for 30 days and they have a condition that is as least as likely as not causally related to toxic water.

Attorneys who are not familiar with this litigation are rolling their eyes. But this toxic water litigation is not like other tort cases. Yes, under normal legal rules, someone suing because of toxic exposure has to prove they were exposed to the substance, that the substance can cause the injury, and that the substance, not something else, caused their specific injury.

The Camp Lejeune law, however, only requires showing that the water is likely to have caused the type of injury they have. This means people don’t have to prove that the water was the specific cause of their individual injury. That is a massive departure from traditional tort law. But it is the law of the litigation.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys argue Congress’ decision to simplify the burden of proof aligns with the text, structure, legislative context, and the statute’s intended purpose. It reflects Congress’s intent to create a distinct framework for causation under the CLJA, diverging from common law. This change is particularly relevant given the challenges in reconstructing exposure circumstances from events occurring decades ago.

Will plaintiffs win this motion? We will see. But lawyers for Camp Lejeune victims have put the government on its heels since Day 1, and we think that will lead to larger settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune victims when all is said and done.

January 13, 2024 – Track One Case Picked

A list of 100 toxic water contamination lawsuits was submitted to the court.  One of these cases will be the first Camp Lejeune suit to go to trial.

Again, the Track One cases are bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Parkinson’s disease.

The way the government made its choice was a little goofy due to an unresolved dispute. Lawyers for Camp Lejeune victims asked the court to cancel some choices made by the government about who should be included in a particular group of cases called Track 1 Discovery Pool.

The government thinks it needs to resolve this disagreement and include all 100 cases in the Track One Discovery Pool before it can proceed with the Track One Order. Plaintiffs’ lawyers argue that the government didn’t follow the court’s rules when picking these cases. So, there’s a bit of a disagreement here on how to move forward that must be resolved.  But we have 100 names, 50 picked by each side, that are primed to be prepared for trial.

January 10, 2024 – Settlement Conference in Group of 40 Cases

On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, a hearing will occur in Raleigh. The Court will discuss the potential for reaching an intermediate settlement in 40 Camp Lejeune lawsuits.  Attorneys are advised to consult with their clients beforehand to assess and clarify their stance on settling the case.

Settlement talk is always good.  But we have over 100,000 cases.  We cannot settle these suits 40 at a time.

January 9, 2024 – DOJ Warns of Lejeune Fraud

It is awful that people would be so heartless as to victimize the victims. But that is where we are. The Justice Department and the Department of the Navy have issued a fraud alert regarding the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022. This alert warns individuals about fraudulent attempts to obtain personal information or money from claimants. There have been reports of deceitful individuals and entities trying to extract personal details from CLJA claimants.

It is not too hard to steer clear of this nonsense if you are paying attention. Things you want to keep in mind:

  • The Justice Department and Navy will never ask for money from you.
  • If you have an attorney, refer all queries to them. If an attorney represents you, the Justice Department and Navy will communicate through your attorney.
  • Legitimate emails from the Navy come from CLClaims@us.navy.mil. You can forward suspicious emails to this address for verification.
  • If you receive a dubious phone call, request the caller’s name and position and then confirm with the CLCU at (757) 241-6020.

January 5, 2024 – Jury Trial Ruling on Deck

A significant point of contention is whether the Camp Lejeune claims should be tried before a jury. The government argues that the law, known as the PACT Act, which removed government immunity for these claims, does not explicitly grant claimants the right to seek jury trials. However, Plaintiffs’ attorneys assert that the law permits jury trials. This motion is still pending, and we should get a ruling soon.

January 4, 2024 – Only 15% of Claims Eligible for Early Settlement

Bloomberg has an interesting article today looks at preliminary Camp Lejeune data analyzed by SimplyConvert, a data management firm.

The takeaway is that over 85% of individuals seeking compensation for exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune might not qualify for the government’s early resolution payouts. This suggests that many of the claims filed could end up in court. This means many victims would die before receiving any payout.

The Navy’s early resolution program, also known as the “Elective Option,” was announced to expedite compensation for veterans by offering payouts between $100,000 and $550,000 to qualifying individuals based on their time at the base and illness. Despite this, more than 1,550 lawsuits have been filed, and the Justice Department’s attorneys have indicated that only a small number of claims currently meet the criteria for expedited payout. That defeats the whole purpose of the Elective Option.  The problem with the Elective Option is simply that not enough people qualify, and the settlement offers are too low.

Bloomberg quotes someone who says that the limited options for quick resolutions would primarily benefit plaintiffs’ lawyers, as most plaintiffs would have to undergo lengthy legal processes. What is unexplained is how on earth this would help plaintiffs’ lawyers.

January 3, 2024 – 1,400 Lejeune Civil Cases Filed

From February 11 to December 18, 2023, a total of 1,471 CLJA complaints have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Of these, 14 cases have been dismissed, including 11 voluntary dismissals and three pro se cases. The cases are divided among four judges: Judge Dever (363 cases), Judge Myers (379 cases), Judge Boyle (355 cases), and Judge Flanagan (374 cases).

There have also been six Camp Lejeune settlements.  The average payout in these settlements is nearly $250,000.  The breakdown of these payments includes $250,000 for a case of Parkinson’s Disease, $300,000 for a case of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, two payments of $300,000 each and one payment of $150,000 for three cases of Leukemia, and $150,000 for a case of Bladder Cancer. The remaining two cases await payment processing through the Department of the Treasury’s Judgment Fund.

January 1, 2024 – Both Sides Submit Suggestions for Track 3 Cases

Last week, the Government and the Plaintiffs submitted their proposals for what cases/diseases should be included in the Track 3 trial cases. The government also submitted a motion seeking to amend the most recent Case Management Order to delay various deadlines further.

December 26, 2023 – Personal Information from Plaintiffs

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B Jones ordered Camp Lejeune plaintiffs to provide birth dates and Social Security numbers in their short-form water contamination lawsuits.

It is easy to see both sides of this issue. Plaintiffs are understandably reluctant to turn over this information. There are so many scams over social security numbers generally, and specifically, there have been identity theft scams in this litigation. I cannot tell you how many calls we got from people being conned into thinking they could get a quick settlement if they provided their information.

Moreover, the request for birth dates and Social Security numbers does not typically fall under “initial disclosures” as defined in the Federal Rules of Procedure.

But… Judge Jones has a mandate from the North Carolina judges to push these cases forward. So the court wants to do what is necessary to best push the ball forward to expedite the path to the government offering more victims a settlement payout for their suffering.  That is the goal here. This information allows the government to investigate claims more quickly.  It is hard to argue with this logic.

December 22, 2023 – Judge Rejected Plaintiffs’ Discovery Request

We have the first ruling in the Camp Lejeune litigation that our lawyers believe is just plain wrong. A North Carolina federal magistrate has ruled that plaintiffs in the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation cannot obtain a draft report from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention subagency –  the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease – on a critical report that could have real implications for victims in these lawsuits. As we reported earlier, lawyers for Camp Lejeune victims argue that the report could establish a connection between their exposure to contaminated water at Lejeune. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones rejected the plaintiffs’ request to access the draft study.

Why? The report is still in draft form and has yet to be thoroughly reviewed by external peers, an allegedly necessary step before it becomes official. The federal government argued that releasing the report prematurely could negatively impact discussions with reviewers and potentially mislead the public if the final version differs significantly.  So the court believes the importance of maintaining the integrity of the agency’s peer review process trumps victims’ ability to prove their suffering came from Lejeune.

Let’s be honest. This is not a pressing issue to the “public.”  It is a pressing issue for the over 100,000 victims who have brought claims. Congress – who can’t agree on anything – has agreed that this is so important that they would make a special law to allow Camp Lejeune lawsuits.  The spirit of that does not allow the defendant to hide information on the harm that it caused.

December 19, 2023 – 257 Lejeune Civil Cases Filed Since October 1st

Since the end of September, 257 civil cases have been filed under the CLJA by Lejeune victims. That is a slight increase in the rate of new Lejeune suits filed in the previous three months.

December 15, 2023 – Response Filed

The plaintiffs’ lawyer at issue in the last paragraph of the December 13th update filed a response. You can read it if you want.  This is not a big deal in the general scheme of things, but it is a distraction in compensating victims.

December 13, 2023 – Lejeune Plaintiffs File Motion to Enforce

Lead Camp Lejeune counsel has submitted a motion to enforce Case Management Order No. 2 after frustration with the government’s failure to adhere to agreed-upon procedures in selecting potential bellwether water contamination plaintiffs.

The big beef is that the DOJ has twice selected ineligible plaintiffs for discovery under the criteria established by CMO-2. Again, the first trials may have a massive impact on Camp Lejeune settlement amounts for everyone else. So the details in the fight to bring the best claims to trial are incredibly important.

This motion also brings to the surface some underlying interpersonal conflicts among the Camp Lejeune lawyers.  Attorneys in an MDL class action lawsuit – which Camp Lejeune is not but has all of the features of – who are supposed to be on the same team commonly bicker.  What is rare is when that infighting is put in front of a judge. Lawyers prefer to hate each other under a cloak of darkness.

In this case, leadership is concerned about the behavior of one Camp Lejeune lawyer and his lack of cooperation and professionalism with the other victims’ lawyers in the toxic water litigation. The fear is that this open hostility could undermine the collective efforts to seek justice for the Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. So leadership is asking the court not to include this lawyer’s clients in the Track 1 Discovery Pool.

December 11, 2023 – DOJ Seeks to Impose Administrative Burdens on Lejune Victims

The government’s lawyers are again frustratingly looking to violate the spirit of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

On November 13th, we reported on the Navy lawyers’ position that the U.S. government that plaintiffs must secure an appointment from a court beyond the bounds of North Carolina. They want to force victims to establish an ancillary estate within North Carolina because that is what it would be if this were a Federal Tort Claim Act lawsuit.

That is not what these suits are.  So the plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a motion to allow any “legal representative” to bring a claim, which is what the CLJA says.

The government filed a response insisting on maintaining what it seemingly admits is an unnecessary hassle for victims and its lawyers.  Its motion argues that before advancing with any Camp Lejeune lawsuit, the appointed representatives must qualify as ancillary administrators under North Carolina law, as mandated by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b)(3).

The government contends that the CLJA does not alter or override the application of the Federal Rules, nor does it provide a unique legal framework that would exempt the case from these established rules. Actually, this whole litigation is a departure from the normal framework, which is precisely what Congress intended.

December 7, 2023 – Plaintiffs Demand Jury Trials

In our November 22nd update, we told you about the Navy asking the court to find that there would be no jury trial in the Camp Lejeune litigation.  Plaintiffs responded on Monday, arguing that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act explicitly acknowledges the right to a jury trial, as per Section 804(d) of the Act.

We can all agree that the CLJA was created in response to decades of deception by government officials and aims to provide relief to servicemembers and others exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The Act sets broad claim eligibility criteria and outlines certain substantive and procedural requirements.

Plaintiffs’ Camp Lejeune lawyers argue in this motion that the Act’s text clearly grants plaintiffs the right to a jury trial, which is supported by Congress’s intent as evident from the statute’s language and context. They argue that the government’s interpretation would render this part of the Act meaningless and counter to fundamental principles of statutory interpretation.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs’ lawyers note that every party, including this court and the Department of Justice, initially recognized the right to jury trials as provided in the CLJA. The document highlights that even the Department of Justice acknowledged the jury-trial right during the legislative process but has since changed its stance. The plaintiffs urge the court to reject the government’s effort to deny Camp Lejeune victims their statutory right – and really their moral right – to a jury trial.

December 5, 2023 – Track 1 Discovery Plaintiff Selection

In a joint motion to the court, the Plaintiffs’ lawyers, along with the government, filed a notice for the selection of Track 1 Discovery Plaintiffs as outlined in section XI(A)(iii) of Case Management Order No. 2. The filing lists plaintiffs chosen by both the Plaintiffs’ Leadership and the Defendant for cases involving various health conditions attributed to the defendant’s actions. Again, these Track 1 health conditions include:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Each condition category includes a list of selected plaintiffs along with their respective case numbers.

December 4, 2023 – Information Form Approved

The North Carolina judges administering the Camp Lejeune lawsuits approved an information form some plaintiffs must fill out that they are calling a DPPF.  If you’re one of the people chosen for early evidence gathering (Track 1 Discovery Plaintiff), you must fill out this DPPF form within 45 days after being chosen or after this rule was made.

Everything you put on the form, the form itself, and any documents or health records you share because of the form must be kept private and treated as confidential under a protective order.

December 1, 2023 – Filed Cases

The distribution of Camp Lejeune lawsuits among the four federal judges in the Eastern District of North Carolina shows a relatively equal allocation. As of the latest count, 1433 Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) complaints have been filed in this district. Of these, fourteen cases have been dismissed, eleven being voluntary dismissals and three involving litigants representing themselves (pro se cases).

Looking at the division of Camp Lejeune lawsuits among the judges:

  • Judge Dever is handling 357 cases
  • Judge Myers has 370 cases
  • Judge Boyle is overseeing 343 cases
  • Judge Flanagan has been assigned 363 cases

November 30, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlements Update

As of November 27, 2023, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has identified sixteen (16) cases eligible for settlement under the Executive Order (EO) based on documentary evidence. These cases are categorized by the nature of the injuries as follows:

  • Five Kidney Cancer
  • Four Bladder Cancer
  • Three Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,
  • Two Kidney Disease
  • One Leukemia
  • One Multiple Myeloma

Out of these 16 settlement offers, plaintiffs have rejected two (2), six (6) have expired, and eight (8) are still pending.

The  Navy has forwarded 62 administrative claims to the DOJ for approval in accordance with the EO. Currently, 44 of these are under DOJ review. Of the remaining 18, the DOJ has found 13 claimants meet the EO criteria based on information from the Navy and has made settlement offers to them. Four of these 13 contaminated water settlement offers have been accepted, one rejected, and eight are pending.

Regarding the four accepted offers, payments totaling one million dollars have been disbursed. This includes a $250,000 settlement payout for a Parkinson’s Disease case, a $300,000 settlement for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and two Leukemia cases settled for $300,000 and $150,000.

Camp Lejeune Settlements

November 28, 2023 – Track Two Plan Proposal

The plaintiffs’ legal team has submitted a proposed Case Management Order No. 9 to the court. This order outlines the procedures and illnesses to be included in Track 2 – not to be confused with Tier 2 – trials of the lawsuit.

If your case is unlikely to go to trial, why do you care how the Camp Lejeune trial are set up?  High verdicts in bellwether trials will significantly impact the settlement amounts of Camp Lejeune lawsuits.

If bellwether trials result in substantial verdicts for the plaintiffs, that puts more pressure on the DOJ, and it will be more inclined to offer higher settlement payouts to avoid the risk and expense of trial.

Key aspects of the proposed order include:

  1. Illness Selection for Track 2 Trials: The plaintiffs propose that Track 2 trials should focus on cases alleging that the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune caused specific illnesses: kidney disease, multiple myeloma, liver cancer, sclerosis/scleroderma, and plastic anemia. This selection is based on illnesses with established scientific links to water contamination, as identified by significant government studies, and aims to expedite the resolution process for common illnesses.
  2. Defendant’s Elective Option Settlements: The defendant has previously offered settlements for all the proposed illnesses except aplastic anemia. The plaintiffs argue that focusing on these illnesses will enable more efficient progress through discovery and trials, leading to quicker resolutions.
  3. Disagreement on Proposed Conditions: The defendant proposes conditions for Track 2 trials that they believe have weaker causal connections to the Camp Lejeune water toxins. Because they want a defense verdict that will scare victims into settlement. These conditions are not part of the defendant’s Elective Option settlements, and no offers have been made for cases involving these conditions.  Those are the wrong cases to go to trial.
  4. Procedures for Track 2 Trials: The plaintiffs propose procedures similar to those in Case Management Order No. 2 for Track 1 diseases, emphasizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

In other news, the plaintiffs have learned of a new study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) that potentially expands the list of illnesses linked to the Camp Lejeune water. The plaintiffs have requested access to this study, but the Navy has denied it.

Why?  It claims it is… privileged. Which is insane. Shouldn’t the government want all of the truth to come out?  Was that not the purpose of CLJA?

November 27, 2023 – Government Wants Yet Another Extension

The government wants two more months to finalize the Track 1 discovery. Plaintiffs’ lawyer opposed the motion.

The government says that the cause of the slowdown in the discovery phase stems from the defendant’s intricate bureaucratic system.  The government uses this complexity – that we all know exists – as a sword to seek more delays, wasting time victims do not have. Plaintiffs claim that the government uses this to hinder the plaintiff’s leadership in securing essential documents and witnesses, protracting the legal process.

The appropriate response to this bureaucratic entanglement is not a further postponement of the case but holding the government’s feet to the fire to urge the various departments to expedite their actions. We all know the government can move faster when it wants to.

November 26, 2023 – Case Count

The latest Lejeune case count is just over 129,000 filed claims with the DOJ.

November 24, 2023 – Tuesday’s Status Conference

At the status conference on Tuesday, the parties discussed the status of stipulations, discovery, settlement, and future conferences. New orders from the court outline the protocols for discovery disputes and electronic discovery.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2023 – DOJ Seeks to Block Jury Trials

Someone at the JAG office had a crazy idea.  Instead of laughing it off, the government filed a motion.

So the JAG filed a motion to block the possibility of jury trials for complaints regarding water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

In its motion, the government argued that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, under which these lawsuits are filed, does not explicitly grant the right to a jury trial when suing the federal government.

The government cited the act’s language, which does not “affirmatively and unambiguously” establish jury rights, as required by Supreme Court precedent. The government compared the act to the Federal Tort Claims Act, which permits lawsuits against the government but generally excludes jury trials.

I think the North Carolina judges will think this is ridiculous.

November 21, 2023 – DOJ Gets Extension on Motion Response

Yesterday, the court granted the U.S. government an extension to respond to a motion challenging its interpretation of legal representation under the CLJA in relation to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The government’s stance is that to be a “legal representative” for FTCA-related claims, an individual must be appointed by a court outside North Carolina and also establish an ancillary estate within the state.

This requirement stems from the FTCA’s provision that state law, specifically North Carolina law in this context, governs the designation of representatives in wrongful death cases. This process has proven to be a significant burden, and few plaintiffs have complied.

Consequently, plaintiffs have filed a motion arguing that the CLJA, not the FTCA, should apply. Section 804(b) of the CLJA stipulates that a “legal representative” is authorized to initiate a lawsuit, challenging the government’s more restrictive interpretation.

November 20, 2023 – Status Conference Tomorrow

There is a status conference at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow.

November 19, 2023 – Court Approves 3% Assessment

The court will approve the 3% Camp Lejeune attorney’s fees assessment. This comes out of your lawyer’s pocket, not yours.

November 14, 2023 – New Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

We are now charging 20-25% in new Camp Lejeune lawsuits. I don’t think many people are still sitting on the fence at this point, but if you have a claim, call us.

We are taking all types of injuries but are drilling down on these:

Condition Tier
Kidney Cancer Tier 1
Liver Cancer Tier 1
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Tier 1
Leukemias Tier 1
Bladder Cancer Tier 1
Multiple Myeloma Tier 1/2
Parkinson’s Disease Tier 1/2
Kidney Disease / End-Stage Renal Disease Tier 1/2
Systemic Sclerosis / Systemic Scleroderma Tier 1/2

The government is making settlement offers that are not reasonable in these cases.  We think most plaintiffs in these cases are better served fighting for a higher settlement payout.

November 13, 2023 – Rules for Wrongful Death Claims

The U.S. government maintains that for someone to act as a “legal representative” under the CLJA for claims related to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), they must not only be appointed by a court outside North Carolina but also open an ancillary estate in North Carolina. This position is based on the FTCA, which dictates that state law (in this case, North Carolina law) applies to determining the appropriate representative in wrongful death cases.

This is a huge hassle, and few plaintiffs have done it. So, the plaintiffs have filed a motion that basically says this is not the FTCA; this is the CLJA. Section 804(b) of the CLJA authorizes a “legal representative” to file a lawsuit. Plaintiffs’ Camp Lejeune attorneys argue that based on standard definitions and legal precedent, this term refers to a person appointed to manage a decedent’s estate. This interpretation is consistent with the statute’s language, which does not explicitly align the definition of “legal representative” with North Carolina law, nor does it set prerequisites for filing a CLJA action.

Furthermore, plaintiffs argue  that even if there were any ambiguities in the CLJA regarding the meaning of “legal representative,” applying FTCA provisions would be inappropriate. The FTCA does not extend to federal causes of action like those under the CLJA or to injuries suffered by servicemembers during service. The CLJA, distinct from the FTCA, has its own unique federal standards, including a waiver of sovereign immunity in Section 804(b), indicating that the FTCA should not be generally applicable to CLJA actions. The government’s interpretation that the CLJA merely eliminates specific defenses against FTCA actions is inaccurate, as the CLJA significantly deviates from FTCA in various aspects, including liability standards and procedural elements.

Moreover, the CLJA, however, establishes a federal cause of action.  Accordingly, North Carolina law is not relevant in determining who qualifies as a legal representative.

Therefore, while it would be a great jobs program for North Carolina estate lawyers and an excellent way for the DOJ to slow the litigation, plaintiffs’ lawyer convincingly argues that the necessity to open an ancillary estate in North Carolina for a CLJA action is not supported by law.

November 11, 2023 – Three Camp Lejeune Settlements

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that three individuals have agreed to settlement amounts totaling $ 850,000. Two of the three claimants have received their settlement payments.

November 7, 2023 – $100 Million Demand

A new Camp Lejeune lawsuit was filed today that demanded $100 million.

This underscores that the government’s calculation of $3.3 trillion in to settlement demands does not, as interesting as it is, meaningfully contribute to the conversation.

November 6, 2023 – Status Conference Cancelled

The Camp Lejeune Status Conference originally scheduled for November 7, 2023, has been cancelled. The next Camp Lejeune Status Conference is now scheduled for November 21, 2023.

Twice a week is a lot.  You will probably see a lot of these conferences get canceled.

October 31, 2023 – Joint Status Report Submitted

On Friday, Camp Lejeune lawyers gave the court a status report on their settlement talks so far. The court had previously asked both parties to come up with a plan to resolve the issue and report back on their discussions.

They’ve been designing a detailed questionnaire to gather the necessary information from those affected. This is to determine the extent of the harm and calculate appropriate compensation. Their current focus is on the most immediate and severe cases. They’re also figuring out what kinds of documents or evidence are needed to back up the information provided in the questionnaires, and they’re deciding which side should provide these documents.

Both sides are also working on a system to put a value on each claim. To manage all this data, they’re looking for a tech vendor to set up a secure database. However, there have been some disagreements, particularly about sharing certain types of data. While the plaintiffs’ lawyers believe this data could speed things up, the government is more cautious due to privacy reasons.

So the government and the Camp Lejeune plaintiffs’ lawyers are trying to find a mutual ground to clear a path to settle a large number of these toxic water lawsuits.  They’ve made some headway but there is still a lot of work to be done.

October 29, 2023 – $3.33 Trillion Demand for 117,000 Lejeune Claims

The Department of Justice reports that the total amount demanded for the approximately 117,000 administrative claims currently filed with the Department of Navy is nearly $3.3 trillion.

The DOJ knows this is not a real number but speculates by way of example that it could be 1%. How much is that? $33 billion.

Does this really mean anything?  No.  But it is interesting to see the government speculate on how many billions the Camp Lejeune settlement will ultimately be.

October 27, 2023 – 3% Holdback Requested

The Court has ordered, in Case Management Order #7, that a 3% holdback be taken from the attorneys’ fees in the Camp Lejeune lawsuit to compensate the leadership for their work on these cases.

This will not have any impact on the fee you pay your lawyer.  This comes out of your lawyer’s attorneys’ fees.

October 26, 2023 – Update on Camp Lejeune Lawsuits’ Document Handling

In the ongoing Camp Lejeune lawsuits against the government, a new case management order was put out this week to ensure the protection of privileged information. Key points include:

1.       No waiver of attorney-client or other legal privileges, even if information is mistakenly disclosed.

2.       Parties can withhold documents that have these privileges.

3.       If privileged documents are accidentally shared, the receiving party must notify the producing side and return or destroy them.

4.       Disagreements over privileged documents can be submitted to the Court for resolution.

Are these details important to victims?  No.  But they show the continued progression of the Camp Lejeune litigation.

October 25, 2023 – EPA Calls For Ban on Use of TCE

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an industrial chemical that was one of the primary pollutants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987. This week, the EPA proposed new regulations that would completely ban the use of TCE for all purposes due to overwhelming evidence that exposure to the chemical can cause cancer and other health issues. TCE has been directly linked to Parkinson’s disease, as well as liver, kidney, and cervical cancer.

October 23, 2023 – First Status Conference Hearing Set in Civil Cases

There’s a kickoff meeting set for Monday, October 30th, at 11:00 AM in Room 209, 201 South Evans St, Greenville, NC for the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit (that is not really a class action lawsuit). Similar meetings will take place on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 10:00 a.m.

In this initial meeting, Camp Lejeune lawyers will discuss with the judge overseeing the Camp Lejeune litigation:

  1. The number and status of CLJA actions filed here.
  2. The status of claims with the Department of Navy.
  3. Recent agreements made between the involved parties.
  4. Information shared or gathered since our last catch-up.
  5. Progress on finding a solution, either for individual cases or the whole bunch.
  6. Any other topics or issues the groups want to cover.

October 18, 2023 –  First Camp Lejeune Settlement

There is an unconfirmed report of the first Camp Lejeune settlement. The terms are not disclosed due to confidentiality. We will confirm this and report back.

October 10, 2023 – New Civil Filings Increase

A month has passed since the Navy and DOJ announced the Camp Lejeune early settlement program. The program offers eligible claimants the option of accepting an immediate settlement payout. So what impact did this new settlement option have on the volume of new civil case filings under the CLJA?

Rather than have a chilling effect on new filings, the settlement program actually appears to have prompted a spike in new cases. In the month before the settlement program (August), only 50 new Camp Lejeune civil cases were filed. In the month after the program was announced, that number jumped up to 193, an increase of 300%.

October 9, 2023 – Master Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Filed

A master complaint was filed in the Camp Lejeune litigation on Saturday.

A caster complaint is a comprehensive document filed in court that consolidates and lays out all common allegations to every lawsuit and claims of the plaintiffs in an MDL or a class action lawsuit.  This is not a class action lawsuit but, more and more, it is functioning as one.

So with a master complaint, instead of having each plaintiff file an individual complaint laying out all the relevant facts, a master complaint captures the shared grievances and factual allegations in one unified document. It makes it easier for plaintiffs to file a lawsuit and it leads to the burning of fewer trees in the process.

We summarize the master Camp Lejeune complaint and link to it if you want to read it.

October 2, 2023 – Three Tracks

The judges’ order organizes the discovery and trials into distinct “tracks” to facilitate a comprehensive resolution of all claims. This involves the establishment of three separate tracks, namely Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3, to address various categories of claims.

We know what is in track one now: non-Hodgkin lymphoma liver cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. But what will be in Tracts 2 and 3 and when will that be decided?  We do not know yet.  Our attorneys are convinced that many of these so-called “Tier 2” and “Tier 3” cases will be viable at trial.

September 28, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Trials Will Start Next Year

While thousands of Camp Lejeune claimants are weighing whether to participate in the recently announced early settlement program, the court overseeing those Lejeune cases in litigation has stated that trials will begin next year.

To make the trial process more efficient, the Camp Lejeune trials will be divided into different “tracks” with each track covering a group of specific diseases. Track 1 will include Non-Hodgkin lymphoma liver cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

These happen to be the same diseases that are included in “Tier 1” of the early settlement program, with the exception of Parkinson’s which is in Tier 2 of the settlement program (even though it should be Tier 1).

September 23, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlement Offer

I do not believe the settlement payouts offered by the government we discussed in the September 6, 2023 Update below are good settlement offers, at least not for most victims.  But I’m surprised at how receptive clients have been to these offers.  More people than I thought just want to get this over with.

I’m also surprised by this 35-year latency period rule to be eligible for this first round of settlement.  The government does not realize – we did not realize until this came out – how many people will be excluded by this rule which runs counter to its goal of reducing the claim count with this settlement offer.

There is no solid science to support this rule. It is not in the CLJA either.  I think the government will eventually drop this requirement.

September 20, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

The government has moved to cap legal fees in the Camp Lejeune toxic water cases, aiming to restrict lawyers from gaining potentially vast sums from settlements.  Attorney General Merrick Garland is personally involved in his decision.

Shortly after unveiling an early resolution program to speed up compensation for those affected by the contamination, the Navy and Justice departments amended the program, setting lawyers’ fees at 20% for administrative settlements and 25% for litigation payouts.

There will be fierce opposition with billions of dollars at stake.  Some Camp Lejeune lawyers will argue this is not in the statute and the Attorney General does not have the power.

What is our law firm’s position on this?  We do not have one.  Our lawyers will never take a position against our client’s interests (or victims of this tragedy that are not our clients, for that matter).  If you have a Tier 1 case, it is good news for most of you.  Tier 1 victims will walk away with more money under this plan. The concern is the other toxic water cases that are harder to prove but we think are linked will get dropped.

September 16, 2023 –  Leadership Challenge Fails

The efforts over the last few weeks to start over again in developing Camp Lejeune leadership failed miserably. The court denied the effort to restructure the plan the court put in place selecting Camp Lejeune lawyers to lead the way on core discovery and other efforts to ramp up this litigation.

September 14, 2023 – Settlement and Leadership Structure

The government notified the North Carolina judges of its settlement offer for Camp Lejeune, which mostly involved filing a form motion attaching the offer it put out.

Meanwhile, the attorney leadership structure battle continues as a reply motion was filed for the motion asking the judge to reconsider the entire structure of the team in place to help all plaintiffs’ lawyers push the ball forward.

The motion gets into some really goofy stuff, like complaining that we are already seeing the lack of transparency because there is a husband and wife from separate firms in leadership, and someone else on the steering committee is the son of the liaison counsel.  (Yes, it is an incestuous world of mass torts.)

The motion will fail.  Everyone needs to be focused on pushing cases to trial and getting the claims settled that can be settled instead of these red herrings.

September 13, 2023 – Legal Action Over Lejeune Attorney Solicitations

A federal judge in West Virginia declined this week a motion by a law firm to appeal his order concerning the dismissal of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuit against it. As we mention below, the lawsuit stemmed from unsolicited calls from Camp Lejeune lawyers seeking new clients. The judge determined that the act applied to a woman using her cell phone primarily for residential use.

The judge asserted that it was premature to appeal his decision, which maintained that the telemarketing calls to the woman were valid under the TCPA, especially since she had listed her number on the national do-not-call registry. The basis of the law firm’s appeal was the woman’s assertion that her cellphone was equivalent to a “residential telephone subscriber” under the TCPA. If validated, businesses would be restricted from soliciting calls to her number. However, despite varying interpretations in other courts, the judge referred to Federal Communications Commission regulations, emphasizing that ‘wireless telephone numbers’ are indeed considered ‘residential telephone subscribers.’

There is no question there was anger about the marketing for clients for these claims.

September 7, 2023 – More Settlement Offer Thoughts

As we said yesterday, our lawyers think few will jump on this settlement offer.  Why? The settlement payouts are just too low.

But are there some claims where this settlement makes sense?   Yes. Cases with limited exposure at Lejeune and other risk factors for the disease that would make the case hard to prove at trial might consider the offer.

For example, if you were at Camp Lejeune for only 30 days, your bladder cancer was diagnosed 30 years later, and you smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, proving that the contaminated water at Lejeune was a substantial contributing cause of your cancer might be challenging.  Your case might do better under this kind of rough justice settlement formula.

How many toxic water claims will have a fact pattern like this?  Probably not enough to allow the government to meet its goal of significantly reducing the number of claims.

The DOJ should sweeten the pot to make the choice more complicated for more victims because these settlement numbers do not do that.

September 6, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlements

The government has introduced a settlement program, offering compensation of up to $450,000 to individuals, including Camp Lejeune veterans, who claim they were harmed by contaminated water at the North Carolina Marine base.

Is this a good Camp Lejeune settlement offer?  No.  But it may be an attractive option in a minority of these claims depending on the facts of the case.

So what is this about?  The government needs to reduce the total number of claims to something more manageable.  So they dangle a quick settlement to knock back the numbers.  To some extent, it will work.

This initiative aims to resolve potentially hundreds of thousands of claims more swiftly, as over 93,000 claims have already been filed, and some affected veterans have expressed frustration with the slow claims process. This will speed up the process and get your money faster… if you are willing to take what may be much less than your case is likely worth.

Under the plan, eligible claimants will receive settlements based on their specific illnesses and the duration of their stay at the base, covering various conditions like cancer, kidney disease, and Parkinson’s.

For example, a veteran with over five years at the base who developed kidney cancer could receive $450,000. As a practical matter, few were there for more than five years.  So someone who spent less than a year there and later suffered from kidney cancer would also receive $150,000. If the person was at Lejeune between one year and five years, it would be $300,000.

For a Tier 2 case, the top goes down to $400,000, the ceiling goes to $100,000, and that midlevel (1-5 years) would be $250,000.

Wrongful death claims would receive an additional $100,000.

These are the tiers eligible for this toxic water settlement:

Disease Qualifying Injury
Kidney Cancer Tier 1
Liver Cancer Tier 1
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Tier 1
Leukemias Tier 1
Bladder Cancer Tier 1
Multiple Myeloma Tier 2
Parkinson’s Disease Tier 2
Kidney Disease / End-Stage Renal Disease Tier 2
Systemic Sclerosis / Systemic Scleroderma2 Tier 2

Does it make sense to dump all Tier 1 and Tier 2 cases into two big pots like this?  No.  The DOJ does not think this is anything but rough and quick justice.

So this plan does not aim to make distinctions in the severity of various illnesses.  The biggest reason is time.  Evaluating the severity of an illness involves a thorough and time-consuming process, and the government is willing to skip this part for those who want a Camp Lejeune settlement more quickly.

So the government reasons that assigning varying values to different illness types based on severity is too time-consuming during the initial administrative claim phase. They are not wrong, this will likely be much faster for people who want to settle now… but they cannot expect most victims to take a smaller compensation payout than they deserve.  That is our initial take on this whole thing.  We are happy with the effort at progress, but the settlement calculations are just too low for most victims.

Our Camp Lejeune lawyers are digging into this. We wanted to get this out to you quickly.  We will let you know when we know more.

September 5, 2023 – DOJ Seeks Extension for Response

The Department of Justice (DOJ) wants more time to respond to Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Again. They are asking for an extension until October 2, 2023. Plaintiffs’ lawyers do not oppose the request.

The DOJ and plaintiffs’ Camp Lejeune attorneys have had meetings to plan how to handle the cases and submitted their plan to the four judges on August 28, 2023. The Court previously gave the DOJ until October 2, 2023, to respond to some instances, but this doesn’t cover cases where the DOJ has already responded. They’re asking for the deadline for ongoing investigations to be extended to October 2, 2023, to match the case management plan that has been jointly proposed.

September 4, 2023 – Immature Claims

According to the recently filed joint report, one reason the plaintiffs have been unable to agree with the government on how to proceed is that the DOJ is characterizing the Lejeune cases as “immature torts” (i.e., cases in their infancy and not fully developed).

Our lawyers think the DOJ is acting in good faith in these claims.  It wants to do the right thing, and we think it will. But this is a poor choice of words and is clearly a stalling tactic on the part of the DOJ. There is nothing “immature” about the Camp Lejeune water contamination claims. Former marines and their families are dying as we wait for fair settlement compensation offers for Camp Lejeune victims.

September 1, 2023 – What Diseases Will Be Included In The First Trial Group?

Earlier this week we got the first significant movement in the consolidated Camp Lejeune litigation. The parties submitted a joint status report on Wednesday explaining to the court that they agreed on most of the procedures and protocols for the litigation (which essentially mirror MDL procedures).

However, the Plaintiffs and the government have been unable to agree on two key issues: (1) the method of selecting plaintiffs for trials, and (2) the timeframe for discovery and trials. Both sides agree that the cases should be divided into groups or “tracks” based on the type of disease alleged by the plaintiff. What they don’t agree on is what disease should be included in “Track 1.”

The plaintiffs want to include: (1) bladder cancer, (2) kidney cancer, (3) leukemia, (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Track 1. The government only wants to include (1)  kidney cancer, (2) leukemia, and (3) Parkinson’s disease in this first group. Why is this significant? The main significance of this is that cases included in Track 1 will almost certainly settle faster. It is also significant because the diseases included in Track 1 are clearly those that are most strongly linked to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

August 29, 2023 – Which Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Get Tried First?

Camp Lejeune leadership responded to the motion to overthrow the leadership order in these lawsuits.  Their argument, and it is a strong one, is that for over 60 years, federal courts have used the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) to appoint lead counsel for complex cases with multiple plaintiffs.

The Manual for Complex Litigation supports this practice in all complex cases, MDL designated or not. Given the scope of this case, which involves potentially thousands of plaintiffs and requires long-term interactions with the U.S. government, the Court’s decision to have a leadership structure is the only practical solution.

August 28, 2023 – Which Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Get Tried First?

When this litigation started, there was a big rush to be the first to file a lawsuit, and there were a lot of skirmishes over whether cases that were filed in the last Camp Lejeune litigation could skip ahead of the line (they couldn’t).  The reason for the rush was the hopes of being the first lawsuits to go to trial.

But the North Carolina judges are signaling that the first trials will be the cases the court and the parties believe are the most representative of the group of plaintiffs.

August 21, 2023 – New Camp Lejeune Website

Our law firm’s goal here is to bring some transparency to a process that is sometimes anything but transparent.

We will be getting some welcomed competition.  A public website, launching this week, will update on the ongoing Camp Lejeune litigation. The Plaintiffs’ Leadership Group will use this website to regularly inform the Court, lawyers, plaintiffs, and the public.

August 19, 2023 – New Civil Filings Slow Down

There are now 1,130 Camp Lejeune civil cases pending in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

However, the pace of new civil filings under the CLJA has slowed significantly over the last two months.  Only 34 new Lejeune cases have been filed in August, and the month is halfway over. That puts us on the same pace we saw in July when 51 new cases were filed.

This could indicate that Camp Lejeune lawyers and their clients are now more hopeful that an effective process for settling claims before filing suit is around the corner. (Or it could be that many lawyers are swamped filing the 93,000 plus administrative claims that have been filed.)

August 17, 2023 – Objection to Path to Consolidation

A South Carolina law firm has filed a motion seeking reconsideration of the court’s July 19, 2023, Leadership Order that granted wide-ranging authority to various leadership committees related to the Camp Lejeune docket.

The objection argues that the order allows for decision-making rights on the entirety of the Camp Lejeune litigation and, to some extent, takes away individual Camp Lejeune lawyers’ input into their clients’ cases, potentially infringing upon their rights.

So these lawyers argue that forcing the parties to consolidate under the ordered leadership structure without an actual MDL is in violation of well-established law.  The motion suggest consolidation under Federal Rule 23 as a more proper and viable path.

The court has already pointed out the elasticity of Rule 16.  The chances of this motion being granted approaches zero.

August 15, 2023 – Case Count

A spokesperson for the Department of the Navy released comments about the Camp Lejeune claims process that were published over the weekend in a CNN story. In an email to CNN, the Navy spokesperson said that over 93,000 CLJA claims have been received to date. The Navy says that is has now started processing 17,000 of those claims and is seeking to expedite the process. Meanwhile, the Navy says that it is working with the DOJ to develop an “early resolution framework” for resolving CLJA claims. While these comments are encouraging, they fall short of giving us any concrete time frame for when to expect things to happen.

August 12, 2023 – Deadlines Extended Until September 1st

The Camp Lejeune judges have extended all deadlines for responsive pleadings, discovery, and all other associated timelines in every Camp Lejeune Justice Act case to September 1, 2023. This extension aims to provide the parties time to present a comprehensive case management order to the court.

August 10, 2023 –  Legislation Anniversary

Today is the one-year anniversary of the law allowing victims to file a lawsuit to seek a Camp Lejeune settlement.

August 4, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlement Update

If you are looking for substantive Camp Lejeune settlement information… there is none.  But the now 75,000 administratively filed cases seem to have a clearer path to settlement than just a few months ago.  The general feeling from many Camp Lejeune lawyers is that the DOJ is now on a path to making settlement offers. That was not the sentiment back in April.  Will those offers be reasonable in light of these horrific diseases?  That remains to be seen.

The cases that have the best chance of early settlement are the claims with injuries that the government will likely concede are related to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune:

Parkinson’s Disease
Kidney Cancer
Liver Cancer
Bladder Cancer
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Leukemia
Multiple Myeloma
Scleroderma/Systemic Sclerosis
Cardiac Birth Defects

There will almost certainly be Camp Lejeune settlements for other injuries, maybe even in the first round of settlements.  But these will be easier cases to settle and will likely be the ones that resolve first.

August 1, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Litigation Consolidation

Plaintiffs’ counsel and JAG have jointly requested an extension of all individual case deadlines until September 1, 2023, while they work on a proposed Global Case Management Order. The parties have been actively working together to resolve the matter and have discussed important aspects such as global case management, the creation of a database, and streamlining document requests.

The extension will allow them to focus on proposing a process for master pleadings that would cover all cases. They plan to submit the proposed Global Case Management Order by August 28, 2023.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers want to help the government conserve resources to advance the ball towards being able to evaluate these cases for settlement.

July 28, 2023 – Slow Lawsuit Month

Only 39 new Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits have been filed in court this month, which is a continuation of the downward trend in the volume of CLJA cases filed each month since the first claimants became eligible back in February. There were 693 Camp Lejeune civil cases filed in March, with nearly 200 filed on a single day.

Only 100 cases were filed in April, followed by 96 in May and 43 in June. Meanwhile, the latest reports from JAG indicate that over 65,000 administrative claims have been filed.

So why haven’t we seen more CLJA lawsuits? It’s probably because many Lejeune victims and their lawyers opt to let their claims sit on the sidelines to see if JAG starts making settlement offers.

While the pace of new lawsuits has slowed, more claims continue to be filed administratively this month.

July 21, 2023 – Lawyers Sued for Lejeune Marketing Tactics

At least three different law firms are now facing civil lawsuits accusing them of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) with unsolicited robocalls aimed at obtaining Camp Lejeune cases. 2 firms based in West Virginia were sued earlier this year, and their motion to dismiss the case was recently denied. Another New York firm was sued just this week in a putative class action for TCPA violations related to its Camp Lejeune marketing.

July 17, 2023 – Over 1,000 CLJA Civil Lawsuits Pending

Since the first Camp Lejeune victims became eligible to file civil lawsuits under the CLJA in February, 1,067 cases have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. That is actually more than the total number of civil cases filed in that district in 2022.

July 14, 2023 – What Have We Learned About the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

This “what have we learned?” has become a regular feature. It has been nearly seven months since the Camp Lejeune Justice Act became law. What have we learned, and where is this litigation going in 2023?

Things have moved slowly this summer to the frustration of Camp Lejeune victims. The government needs a clear plan to administer Camp Lejeune claims. The JAG is getting closer. The six-month administrative period bought the DOJ time. But there needs to be a plan to evaluate Camp Lejeune claims for settlement. Even the otherwise sympathetic judges in North Carolina are getting frustrated with the JAG’s pace of managing this litigation.

Is the stalling tactical?  Defense lawyers in a normal case would be looking to push getting serious about settling claims until after the statute of limitations has passed. So all this could be a plan to push off any trial dates until August 2024 when it can Camp Lejeune settlements.

This would serve two purposes for the government. First, it can offer settlement amounts next summer knowing how many claims there are. Second, they can rest assured that big settlement numbers will now spawn more claims.

As a starting point, we need a process so the JAG can even accept medical and service records. But that is step one. The more significant hurdle for the government is having a team in place to evaluate those records and formulate a settlement offer.

So, regrettably, the initial hope of the government offering early Camp Lejeune settlement payouts for victims and their families has faded.  Maybe the JAG lawyers are not stalling and would love to make settlement offers to reduce the number of claims. But the staffing is not yet there to administer all these claims. We still have hope for Camp Lejeune settlements in 2023. But, honestly… our guess is more 2024 at this point.

Over 45,000 Camp Lejeune water contamination claims had already been filed. We see new lawsuits being filed almost daily.

Our attorneys hear conflicting estimates of how many Camp Lejeune victims have signed retainers from other Camp Lejeune attorneys. Those estimates range from 75,000 to 110,000 Camp Lejeune victims that have already signed retainers with lawyers. Many of these clients have signed retainers with multiple Camp Lejeune lawyers so that will also be a mess that needs to be untangled.

How many more Lejeune claims will we see? It is hard to predict. There is a reason why your television is no longer flooded with Lejeune commercials. We are seeing 10% of the volume of new potential Camp Lejeune lawsuits we saw in June. Yes, there are a lot of victims with solid claims that have not found a lawyer. But, internally, our lawyers assume that we already have the lion’s share of clients we will represent in this litigation.

July 5, 2023

The latest Camp Lejeune news is that the claim count is now over 70,000 administrative claims.

This is the updated list of our law firm’s Camp Lejeune lawsuits ranked by how many claims we have for each injury or sickness:

Parkinson’s Disease

Lung Cancer

Kidney Cancer

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Bladder Cancer

Leukemia

Prostate Cancer

Liver Cancer

Breast Cancer

Hepatic Steatosis

Multiple Myeloma

Colorectal Cancer

Other Cancer

Neurobehavioral

Miscarriage

Infertility

Brain Cancer

End State Renal Disease

Renal Toxicity

Birth Defects

Aplastic Anemia

ALS

Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Soft Tissue Cancer

Thyroid Cancer

Cervical Cancer

Hodgkin’s Disease

June 26, 2023

As expected, U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle upheld the Navy’s right to maintain its affirmative defenses in filed in answer to 122 water contamination lawsuits. Judge Boyle attributed the apparent vagueness in these defenses to what is admittedly a similar lack of specificity in the plaintiffs’ complaints.  So Judge Boyle essentially ruled what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  So the government gets a pass on its excessive over-pleading of defenses in its answers to the Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Of course, and the judge made this clear, plaintiffs can move to dismiss these defenses later in the litigation process if found insufficient.

The ruling was issued following a hearing concerning motions to strike the government’s defenses. During the hearing, the court heard from 122 plaintiffs, represented by six Camp Lejeune attorneys, who claimed the government’s defenses were lacking in detail and contained “prominent pitfalls” in violation of civil procedure rules. The government countered this by arguing – again, fairly – that its defenses were broad because the plaintiffs’ complaints lacked detail.

The government’s defenses involved claims that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim, that a dry cleaner may have caused the contamination, and that despite the plaintiffs’ knowledge of the poisoned water, they continued its consumption.  The last one is particularly ridiculous and will never be argued at trial.

The was zero chance the court was going to rule otherwise. But Camp Lejeune lawyers are keeping pressure on the government while working cooperatively with them towards a path to a water contamination settlement.

June 22, 2023 – Plaintiffs Challenge “Barebones” Defenses

At a recent court proceeding, over 120 plaintiffs argued that the U.S. government had delivered insufficient “barebones” responses to lawsuits that accuse the government of poisoning people through the water supply at Camp Lejeune Marine base. They ask the judge to discard these defenses.

The government also seems to think Camp Lejeune lawsuits are ordinary negligence lawsuits.  But plaintiffs’ attorneys are not filing negligence lawsuits, they are filing lawsuits under the new law that allows these claims.  The government claims that most Camp Lejeune lawsuits lack specifics (which is true) so the suits’ lack of detailed information necessitates generalized responses.

June 21, 2023 – DOJ Wants Quick Process

The Department of Justice has called on federal judges in North Carolina to hasten their plans to manage the growing number of lawsuits concerning water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Without a comprehensive plan, the government faces the challenging task of individually responding to 663 separate lawsuits, contributing to one of the largest mass litigations in history.

The judges overseeing the cases proposed a consolidation process, but Judge Terrence Boyle has decided to proceed with his cases, causing some tension. As they await a final decision on consolidation, the government has already filed responses in 198 Camp Lejeune lawsuits.

June 19, 2023 – Claim Count

The claim count is now 65,000 administrative claims.

June 4, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Class Action

There is some confusion over whether there is a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit.  There is not.  Each of these claims stands on its own and will – if it comes to it – go to trial alone.  But it is hard to underscore what a challenge this litigation is for the government and the courts.  So the cases have been consolidated for pretrial discovery to avoid confusion and duplication of efforts.

We have been on Camp Lejeune claims from the very beginning. Get more Lejeune news from 2022 and 2023.

June 1, 2023 – Lawyers Face Scrutiny Over Lejeune Solicitation Methods

Two Camp Lejeune law firms implicated in unlawful client solicitation for Camp Lejeune contamination lawsuits have asked for the dismissal of a class action lawsuit. They deny having made or controlled calls to potential clients on a federal do-not-call list and are calling for the dismissal due to jurisdictional reasons, among others. The plaintiff alleges these firms, with others, targeted individuals on the do-not-call registry in a bid to accumulate business for a mass tort against the government.

The Camp Lejeune lawyers’ defense – and it is a good one it if is true – is that they never called the plaintiff. But regardless of how this class action lawsuit plays out, we can all agree that Camp Lejeune marketing was way over the top, and the legal industry has to do a better job of policing itself.  Clearly, Camp Lejeune attorneys went too far but, in most cases, it was marketing companies, not law firms that were doing most of the crazy.

May 30, 2023 – Claims Build

The latest estimate from the Navy is 60,000 claims filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.  There are estimates of as many as 500,000 water contamination claims.  Our estimate has been and continues to be between 100,000 and 125,000 meritorious claims.

May 26, 2023 – Navy Blames Staffing and Budget

In an email to claimants’ lawyers, a Navy attorney, Jennifer Tennile Karnes admitted that the Navy lacks the necessary financial resources and staff to promptly review compensation claims from veterans affected by toxic water at Camp Lejeune. She mentioned that the tort claims unit is working excessive overtime to handle the claims and expressed hope to double the staff by the end of summer. However, the Navy has yet to establish the promised online portal for expediting claims, and Congress has not allocated the additional funds needed to manage the compensation program. She described the Camp Lejeune claims process with a great metaphor: “building a plane mid-air.”

May 22, 2023 – Lawsuits Accelerate

Twenty-five new Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuits were filed in North Carolina on Friday.

May 17, 2023 – Pressure for Camp Lejeune Settlement Intensifies

Bloomberg Law reports that legislators from both sides of the aisle are intensifying their demand for an explanation for why the Navy has made little to no progress in resolving toxic-water contamination cases at Camp Lejeune Marine Base. This comes nine months after President Biden authorized a bill establishing a system for settling veterans’ health claims.

The Navy had not settled – or made settlement offers – for any of the roughly 45,000 claims that have been presented to them. The concern is how far away we are from the point where the Navy is in a position to make settlement offers. An online platform for managing these cases – that presumably will be able to calculate per person settlement amounts – will not be operational until summer.

Senators Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) are calling for swift adjudication of these cases. They voiced their concerns in a letter addressed to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Attorney General Merrick Garland, stating that any delay in processing these claims is a grave injustice.

May 16, 2023 – New Parkinson’s Disease Study

A strong new study released yesterday definitively links Parkinson’s disease to the toxic water at Lejeune. The Parkinson’s disease contaminated water cases will be, as we have said from the beginning, very strong case with high settlement amounts.

May 11, 2023 – Camp Lejuene Lawyers Sued

We can all agree that the Camp Lejeune lawyer advertising was just way over the top. A West Virginia woman filed a proposed class action lawsuit, claiming that certain law firms in Florida, Maryland, and Minnesota violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. She alleges that these firms repeatedly called her in an attempt to include her in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits even though her number was listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

May 9, 2023 – Navy Faces Criticism for Lack of Action on CLJA Claims

It has been nine months since the Navy JAG unit started receiving claims under the new federal law that promised compensation for Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. During that time, the Navy logged over 45,000 CLJA claims. However, not a single one of these claims has even been reviewed for settlement because JAG is still waiting for a portal system to enable claimants to submit supporting documents electronically.

Now the Navy is advising that the long-awaited portal for document submission won’t be ready until at least the summer. The Navy’s lack of action on the Camp Lejeune claims is generating a growing wave of frustration among veterans, lawyers, and even judges. At a recent hearing with Camp Lejeune lawyers last month, Judge James C. Denver of the Eastern District of North Carolina openly complained that “the Navy needs to step up its game.”

May 5, 2023 – Pressure on DOJ as Claims Build

We have been talking about how the government is bound to get hit over the head with the pressure of these lawsuits. US District Judge Terrence Boyle pushed back on DOJ lawyers’ request for more time at a recent hearing, pointing out that eight months is a long time to get ready to respond to these 900 filed toxic water lawsuits. This matters because the DOJ understands that the path out of chaos is formulating a plan to make reasonable Camp Lejeune settlement offers to victims. Anything that hammers home this realization and creates exigency to do just that is a positive development.

May 3, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Class Action Order

Again, there is no Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit.  But there it is beginning to shape as if there is little difference between an MDL class action and this litigation.  There is a new order that instructs the Clerk of Court to maintain a Master Docket case file titled “In re: Camp LeJeune Water Litigation” and provides additional directives for all PACT Act cases. Camp Lejeune lawyers are required to thoroughly read this order to be aware of important deadlines and information. This Order bears the signatures of the four judges in this case: Chief Judge Richard E. Myers II, District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, District Judge Louise W. Flanagan, and District Judge James C. Dever III.

May 1, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit

We now have a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit sort. Sort of.

It is not actually an MDL class action. But the Camp Lejeune litigation will look a lot more like an MDL. There will be at some point soon a master complaint and a master answer or other responsive pleading to the master complaint. The court will also establish processes for consolidating discovery, phased discovery, coordinating expert-related motions, coordinating dispositive motions, bellwether selection, trials, and settlement negotiations. The court will also create a database with narrowly tailored questions to obtain case-crucial information for each plaintiff and the defendant.

There is a lot of work to do. But this is a big step forward towards everyone working together to advance this litigation so the government can offer settlement amounts to victims.

April 19, 2023 – Judge Demands Fast Litigation Pace

Judge James C. Dever, III pointed out that it would take the four US District Court of Eastern North Carolina judges 1,900 years to get through all Camp Lejeune cases if each one were tried independently. This is roughly the same period as the Roman Empire, Judge Dever wrily noted.

Judge Dever underscored that these cases must move forward quickly because victims cannot wait year and year while lawyers make legal maneuvers.

April 18, 2023 – Number of Lawsuits Jumps

Over 800 Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits are now pending in the Eastern District of North Carolina, with an average of over 20 new CLJA cases filed daily. If this pace continues, there will be over 2,000 Camp Lejeune civil cases pending by Memorial Day. Meanwhile, lawyers for the government recently filed a motion seeking an extension of their deadline to file answers in the CLJA cases pending a ruling on the joint request for consolidation.

April 9, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Class Action Sought

As the number of Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina is increasing rapidly, attorneys representing the US government and plaintiffs are requesting that the cases be combined under one judge or that the Court manage pretrial proceedings in the litigation in a coordinated manner. This would not be a real class action lawsuit but would have many of the features of a class action.

March 28, 2023 – Pace of Lawsuits Is Accelerating

Administrative claims filed with the JAG by Camp Lejeune victims after the CLJA was passed last year became eligible to convert to civil lawsuits after six months. It has been nearly eight months since the law was passed last August, and last week brought a giant spike in new CLJA civil lawsuits.

Over the first month after the JAG claim deadline passed, we saw around 200 Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits filed. 179 Camp Lejeune cases were filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina just in the last week, nearly doubling the number of pending CLJA civil cases.

March 27, 2023 – JAG Spokesman on Camp Lejeune Settlement

Nearly 20,000 claims have been filed with JAG by Camp Lejeune victims, but so far, JAG has taken no action on those claims and has not even been accepting supporting documentation for them.

Last week, the JAG responded to a media inquiry by insisting that they are reviewing the CLJA claims and that they “may offer a settlement” if the “evidence substantiates the claim.” Although this is very encouraging to hear, it feels like an empty promise, at least in the short term. The JAG is not able to review cases for settlement – it is still not accepting supporting documentation from CLJA claims. So there is no way for JAG to determine if the “evidence substantiates the claim.” The question is when will the JAG get there?

March 20, 2023 – Lawsuit Count

260 Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits have now been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina since the first claims brought under the CLJA became eligible to bring civil cases over one month ago. The weekly volume of new Camp Lejeune civil cases has more than doubled each week since the start of this month. There is still no indication of whether these cases will be consolidated.

March 19, 2023- Ease of Proof in Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination are frustrated seeing how our legal system grinds forward at its own pace. Victims wonder if they will ever receive compensation.

If you are in this spot, it is important to remember that the Camp Lejeune lawsuits are still believed to be very strong cases, even those cases that are not considered “top tier.” What strengthens these cases further is the evidentiary burden for proving causation for these cases is significantly reduced. Lejeune only needs to “produce evidence” showing that “a causal relationship is at least as likely as not” – a concept known as “equipoise” causation.

If you have never heard of this, you are not the first. This will be the first time this standard is applied in a civil case, and it will make it easier for victims to establish a link between their illness and the contaminated water, even if other risk factors are involved.

Does that mean the government will not fight liability and the amount of compensation for your claim? No. You still may have a battle on your hands, especially if you do not have what the government thinks is a top-tier claim. But your chances are a lot better with this new standard of proof.

March 6, 2023 – Lawsuit Count

Since the start of this month, 22 more Camp Lejeune victims have filed civil lawsuits under the CLJA after exhausting their six-month administrative claim with JAG. There are now 179 Camp Lejeune lawsuits in the Eastern District of North Carolina. To put the volume of this water contamination litigation in context for this court, only 15 non-Camp Lejeune civil cases are pending.

March 4, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

The latest on the legislation involving Camp Lejeune attorneys’ fees.

March 1, 2023 – Sample Camp Lejeune Lung Cancer Lawsuit

Every story of Camp Lejeune water contamination told by these lawsuits is a tale of immense suffering and private tragedies. Each lawsuit stands as a testament to the devastating impact of chemical exposure on human lives.

The plaintiff in this case was born in 1932. During his military service, he resided at Camp Lejeune from approximately 1953 until the summer of 1957. During his time at the base, he was, of course, exposed to water contaminated with chemicals such as TCE, PCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene. He was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Despite these efforts, he ultimately passed away in 1996.

His daughter presented an administrative claim for compensation to the United States Navy under 28 USC § 2675 on August 10, 2022, the day the legislation passed. The claim was constructively denied because the Navy did not act on this lawsuit or any other administrative claims that have been filed.

February 27, 2023 – Lawsuit Count Slow

On February 10, the earliest Camp Lejeune claimants became eligible to file civil lawsuits after the 6-month deadline on their administrative claims with JAG expired. It has been two weeks since that deadline expired, and 158 civil lawsuits have been filed under the CLJA in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

That is only a tiny percentage of the claimants who are now eligible to file suit, which means that the volume of CLJA case filings will probably increase dramatically next month. But there may also be some Lejeune lawyers who have a wait-and-see approach and will keep these claims on the administrative docket a while longer.

February 25, 2023 – NHL Update

We updated our non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Camp Lejeune page today with revised settlement estimates.

February 22, 2023 – VA Claims

The VA Office of the General Counsel is making a public relations push to remind Camp Lejeune victims that they can still get VA disability benefits even if they file a civil lawsuit under the CLJA. There has been some unfortunate reporting in the media suggesting that you cannot bring both claims.

So this recent statement from the VA has sought to assure potential claimants that filing a claim or lawsuit under the new CLJA will not negatively impact their ability to get disability benefits for injuries related to the Camp Lejeune water. Over the last ten years, the VA has received 102,265 disability claims involving exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

February 16, 2023 – More Suits Filed

Yesterday we saw nine more CLJA civil lawsuits get filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Since the administrative claim deadline for the earliest JAG claims expired last week, a total of 112 Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been filed so far. Just a few days ago, JAG announced that the number of administrative claims it has received under the CLJA is now over 20,000.

February 14, 2023 – Claims and Lawsuits

The JAG reports that 20,000 administrative Camp Lejeune claims have been filed. Over 100 lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina.

February 13, 2023 – It Begins

The Camp Lejeune litigation entered a new phase last Friday when the six-month deadline for JAG to take action on the Camp Lejeune administrative claims expired. As predicted, a surge of civil cases has started to get filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. In the three days since the deadline expired, 79 new CLJA cases have been filed, and the volume will probably increase this week.

February 8, 2023 – Tw0 Days from Kickoff

The CLJA became law on August 10, 2022. Thousands of Camp Lejeune victims immediately filed claims for compensation with the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit.

Under the CLJA, the Navy had six months to accept, deny or otherwise resolve the claims before the claimants could bring a civil suit. That deadline for the first CLJA claims is set to expire this week, and we know that JAG has not resolved any of the thousands of CLJA claims it has received. That means the Eastern District of North Carolina will be flooded with new Camp Lejeune cases starting next week.

February 1, 2023 – How Many Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Will We See?

Over 15,000 claims have already been filed with JAG since the CLJA was enacted back gust. This has led many to speculate about how many total CLJA claims will get filed before the deadline expires in 2024. Bloomberg and other news outlets have recently suggested that there could be as many as 500,000 CLJA claims.

I think this is a gross overestimate. I listened to a podcast today with the author, who is very knowledgeable about the Camp Lejeune litigation. But this estimate seems out of left field. Studies of the Camp Lejeune water contamination by the ATSDR have estimated that around one million people were exposed to the toxic water between 1953 and 1987. Approximately 200,000 may have developed cancer or other diseases. My guess is half of these people file claims which would put us at 100,000 lawsuits unless lawyers start bringing “I was at Camp Lejeune and that is it” lawsuits.

January 30, 2023 – Advertising for Lejeune

Bloomberg News reports that a total of over $145 million has been spent on advertising for Camp Lejeune water contamination cases by lawyers and lead generation companies. Most of that total ($112 million) has gone into television ads, which is more than double the amount spent on legal advertising for any other mass tort during the same period.

The article also talks about how private equity money is invading class action lawsuits. (Lejeune is not a class action lawsuit but has most of the characteristics of one.) Often in 2023, you are calling marketers who are advertising and then selling cases, not lawyers.

January 29, 2023 – Kidney Cancer Lawsuits

We updated our Camp Lejeune kidney cancer average settlement projections this weekend.

January 24, 2023 – Pace of Lejeune Litigation

For a while, our law firm was writing daily Camp Lejeune updates. That is hard to do now. Things are moving more slowly than we could have imagined six months ago.

Thousands of Camp Lejeune victims have filed claims with the Navy JAG. So far, however, JAG has not done anything with these claims. JAG is still not even accepting supporting documentation for CLJA claims.

Meanwhile, the DOJ has expended a lot of effort to dismiss a group of Camp Lejeune legacy cases for failing to re-submit admin claims to JAG (even though JAG is not doing anything with the CLJA claims). The point of this effort is lost on us.

This has led to backlash from veterans and lawmakers who are now publicly blasting JAG and DOJ. In a statement issued last week, Congressmen Matt Cartwright criticized JAG and DOJ for prolonging the suffering of Lejeune victims and calling on them to follow through with the intent of the CLJA.

There is no malice from the JAG or the DOJ who want to do the right thing. But this must accelerate to satisfy the congressional intent for victims to receive fair settlement compensation without unnecessary delay.

January 9, 2023 – 14,000 Cases

A spokesperson for the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit recently issued a statement confirming that over 14,000 Camp Lejeune water contamination injury claims have been filed since the CLJA was passed in August. Over the upcoming months, this total claim figure may double, and we could be reporting 30,000 CLJA claims before the spring.

Lawyers were very focused on trying to get as many cases as possible in 2022. In 2023, the focus will shift to maximizing the settlement compensation for these claims. There is a lot of hard work ahead.

January 6, 2023 – Parkinson’s Disease

We updated our Parkinson’s disease settlement projections for Camp Lejeune for a second time this year. Our law firm has more Parkinson’s disease cases than any other injury. We also think these cases may have the highest settlement payouts in the litigation when all is said and done.

January 1, 2023 – Camp Lejeune Settlement “Budget”

Bloomberg reports that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Camp Lejeune settlement payouts will cost about $6.1 billion. We think this is incorrect.

Early in the process, the $6.1 billion figure was tossed around. This is not enough money to settle the Camp Lejeune lawsuits. The $6.1 billion estimate comes from a prior CBO cost estimate, a revised report significantly increased the potential estimated payout.

According to the CBO, these payments will cost another $15 billion after 2031:

“CBO expects that [Camp Lejeune] awards would be paid from the Judgment Fund, a permanent, indefinite appropriation that is available to pay monetary awards against the United States that are judicially or administratively ordered. Payments from that fund are classified as direct spending. CBO also estimates that, in addition to the amounts shown in this table, payments under the section would increase direct spending by about $15 billion after 2031. “

So adding the $6.1 billion would leave around $21 billion for Camp Lejeune jury payouts and settlement compensation. But this is not a set-aside fund for Camp Lejeune. It is just an estimated settlement amount from the government’s perspective.

January 20, 2023 – Will the Budget Battle in Congress Impact Camp Lejeune

The debt ceiling battle could have a short-term Camp Lejeune effect.

April 20, 2023 – Court Grants Extension

Thousands of plaintiffs have filed Camp Lejeune administrative claims, and hundreds of toxic water lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The DOJ has a lot of work to answer these lawsuits and, at some point, review these settlement claims. The DOJ filed a motion to extend the time to file answers to each plaintiff’s complaint filed. In their response, the government expects coordination protocols to avoid duplicate pretrial proceedings and potentially conflicting rulings.

This is true. To address the logical complication that comes with this volume of contaminated water lawsuits,  Camp Lejeune lawyers filed a motion to consolidate the litigation, asking that the cases all be assigned to one judge for pretrial proceedings and that the judges work with the attorneys to establish procedures to help manage the litigation. Those procedures will likely single out cases by the types of claims the government is expected to settle and the types of claims it is expected to fight.

This week, a judge granted the DOJ an extension on filing individual answers until May 31, 2023. This signals it will rule favorably on the motion to consolidate the pretrial proceedings, which will change the litigation landscape and be a small step forward to eventual Camp Lejeune settlement offers from the government.

January 11, 2023 – Legacy Claims

A group of four additional Camp Lejeune legacy cases were dismissed for failing to file a post-CLJA administrative claim with JAG. Judge Louise Flanagan followed the lead of her fellow judge in rejecting the legacy cases assigned to her, finding that their prior administrative claims could be used to satisfy the CLJA requirements. Half a dozen legacy cases are still pending with another judge, and these will probably be dismissed on the same basis very soon.

This has no impact on your case unless you are one of the plaintiffs who now have to get back in line with everyone else.

December 31, 2022 – $100 Million in Lejeune Television Advertising

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that Camp Lejeune lawyers spent more than $100 million on local and national television advertising in 2022.  The Chamber notoriously exaggerates these types of things. But we have no reason to quarrel with this estimate.

The legislative director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars was quoted this week as saying veterans should avoid these law firms.  Do we agree?  Not really.  But we get his point, too.

December 29, 2022 – First “Significant” Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Ruling

Eight of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases have been dismissed (without prejudice) based on their failure to resubmit new administrative claims to JAG before filing suit after the CLJA was passed.

The Order by Judge James C. Denver, III, held that the language of the CLJA required the legacy plaintiffs to refile their JAG claims. Although, this only applies to legacy cases assigned to Judge Denver, the same ruling will most likely be adopted in the cases assigned to other judges.

I called this “significant” because it is for the parties.  They have lost their early place in line for a trial date, which is a big deal for them.  But it is insignificant to every other Camp Lejeune case.

December 28, 2022 – The JAG and Records to Evaluate Claims

JAG has received over 15,000 CLJA claims since the new law was passed on August 10, 2022tion has yet to be taken on any of these claims to date. This has prompted the expectation that the JAG will allow the 6-month deadline on these claims to expire without making a Camp Lejeune settlement offers.

The primary reason for the delay is that JAG is still waiting to launch an electronic claims portal that will enable it to request and review support documentation for claims. The supporting documentation will include things such as military service records and medical records.

The most recent notice on the JAG website makes clear that they plan on requesting supporting documentation.  There is no other way to evaluate a settlement claim. But those requests will not be made until after the portal is up and running.

December 26, 2022 – JAG Still Sitting on CLJA Claims

We could get multiple inconsistent rulings on the issue of whether the Camp Lejeune legacy cases must be dismissed for failing to re-file administrative claims with JAG. The legacy cases have not been consolidated, so the government filed the same motion separately in each case.

Now these motions will be decided by at least two different E.D.N.C. judges. Judge Louise Wood Flanagan will hear the motion in some cases. In other Lejeune cases,  Judge Terrence W. Boyle will decide.

December 23, 2022 – JAG Still Sitting on CLJA Claims

Nearly five months have elapsed since the first CLJA claims were filed with JAG. Over 15,000 claims have now been received, and JAG has only six months to take action before these claimants can move on to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. Despite being one month away from this deadline, JAG is still not accepting or reviewing supporting documents for claims.

December 20, 2022 – 15,000 Camp Lejeune Claims Brought

According to a media inquiry response from the JAG Tort Claim Unit this week, 15,000 Camp Lejeune claims have been filed with JAG under the CLJA. JAG advised that none of these claims have been resolved so far. JAG stated two months ago that it had already received 5,000 CLJA claims.  About a month ago, it was 8,000 reported claims.

Our attorneys believe we will see a large wave of new CLJA claims filed in 2023. Camp Lejeune lawyers were getting so many new cases over the first three months that many law firms were using their resources on new cases.

Now that the tidal wave of water contamination cases has slowed, attorneys are more focused on getting these cases in position for settlement. Filing the administrative claim is the critical first step.

December 18, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Advertising

The new law allowing Camp Lejeune water contamination victims to bring lawsuits against the government continues to fuel a massive lawyer advertising blitz that has driven just about everyone crazy.  Our law firm gets calls, texts, and emails daily complaining about our Lejeune commercials and email blasts.  We don’t do either.

camp lejeune advertisingA recent report on attorney marketing spending shows that expenditures on Camp Lejeune-related television advertising in October was $53 million. It was down a bit in November. But not by much.  The next closest mass tort in terms of advertising dollars last month was mesothelioma (asbestos), which was a very distant second at $4.5 million.

The advertising has slowed down as we head into the new year.  Our lawyers are not anywhere near the volume of new cases that we were a few months ago, and every Camp Lejeune lawyer we have talked to is reporting the same.

There is so much backlash over Camp Lejeune advertising, and lawyers have only themselves to blame.  This image on YouTube I found this morning underscores this point well.

December 15, 2022 – Litigation Activity in North Carolina

The latest news out of North Carolina is that the court clerk entered a new note on the docket for all the Camp Lejeune legacy suits. The note from the clerk stated that the government’s motion to dismiss for failure to re-submit admin claims to JAG has been “submitted to District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.”

Although no further explanation is given, our attorneys think we can assume that this is the court’s way of stating that Judge Boyle will issue a universal ruling on the motion that will apply in all cases.

December 12, 2022 – Lung Cancer Settlement Amounts

We updated our lung cancer settlement projections for Camp Lejeune.  Our attorneys include lung cancer settlement compensation and jury payouts in other tort claims to support our payout predictions.

December 10, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

Here is another new article on the dispute over Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorneys’ fees.

Many lawyers would prefer we keep quiet about the concern about lawyers’ fees so as not to give the issue “unnecessary oxygen.” We get that. But our loyalty is – and has to be – with Camp Lejeune victims and their families, not other lawyers in this litigation.

The name of the proposed bill is charming: Protect Camp Lejeune Victims Ensnared by Trial-lawyer’s Scams Act.

December 9, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Scams

We continue to hear from people who believe we are contacting them to pick up their Camp Lejeune settlement check.  Again today, someone sent us their bank account routing number for their Camp Lejeune settlement.

Please be careful.  There are so many quick settlement scams out there.  No lawyer will contact you in these cases and tell you that you have a settlement when you have never contacted that law firm.

December 6, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Legacy Lawsuits

All briefs have been filed in connection with the motion to dismiss filed by the government in about a dozen Camp Lejeune legacy cases that were filed immediately after the CLJA was passed. No rulings have been made, and no hearing dates have been set.

It is unclear how this is going to play out. This motion was filed in over ten pending cases before different judges within the EDNC. There will need to be some consolidation of the cases to ensure the results are consistent. (We really have not talked enough about the challenges North Carolina federal courts have administering this many claims)

December 5, 2022 – Media Attention on Frustration in Waiting for Camp Lejeune Compensation

CNN has an article on the frustration many of you have about how long it might take for Camp Lejeune victims to see settlement compensation.  We recently wrote a page to give you a better idea of when your water contamination lawsuit could get a settlement compensation offer from the government.

December 4, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

Many Marines and their families visit us daily for news and updates on the Camp Lejeune litigation. Here is a text message we received last night:

From a lawyer’s point of view—I get you probably don’t want this to be made public—but from the victim’s point of view, I believe it should be made public.”

The reader was referring to this article that discusses a proposal to reduce the amount of attorneys’ fees lawyers can charge for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.  The reader is arguing that while we don’t want to talk about attorneys’ fees, we are obligated to keep Camp Lejeune victims and their families apprised of all the news and updates related to this litigation.

Okay… we agree. On all points. We cannot assume the role of providing news and updates for veterans and their families and cherry-picking the information we provide.

Camp Lejeune lawyers want to avoid talking about attorneys’ fees. Lawyers hate talking about attorneys’ fees generally, right?  We fight for our clients tooth and nail and… well, we would rather not focus on the inconvenient truth that we profit from our clients’ suffering.  This is true in this litigation and every other case we handle. Reducing fees – particularly on the insane level suggested by Senator Dan Sullivan (who voted against allowing veterans to seek compensation in the first place, by the way), is not something lawyers want in their own self-interest.

But reducing attorneys’ fees may be catastrophic for veterans, too. Why?  Because the economics may force many lawyers to drop cases that are not perfect.  Litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and trying cases for reduced fees against a government with endless defense costs is a quick path to bankruptcy.  So if there was a cap on attorneys’ fees, you might see lawyers dropping all but the best Tier 1 cases.  The result would be the government paying a lot less in Camp Lejeune settlements and jury payouts… and many victims losing a chance at justice.

December 2, 2022 – Updated Estimate of 14,000 Filed Administrative Claims

The Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit recently released updated information regarding Camp Lejeune claims under the CLJA. Through the end of November, JAG had received just over 14,000 claims alleging injuries caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

That number will likely double over the next few months. However, JAG has still not made any real progress on resolving these claims, as they continue developing an online claim portal to submit supporting documents.

November 29, 2022 – NHL Cancer Settlement Amounts

We updated our non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma settlement amount projections for Camp Lejeune.  Our attorneys include NHL verdicts and settlement payouts in other claims to support our payout predictions.

November 23, 2022 – Proving a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Many Camp Lejeune lawyers are shifting their attention from getting new cases to proving the cases that they do have.  This is where the real work begins.

In every case, you must prove you (or your deceased family member) were at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between 1953 and 1987. This is an elementary and straightforward requirement, and our Camp Lejeune attorneys expect that the government lawyers will use it to weed out weak claims. This means that all claimants should be fully prepared to back up this 30 days residency requirement with some type of evidence.

Three different types of evidence can be used to prove the residency requirement:

(1) service records from the military,

(2) other official documents evidencing residency, employment, or connection to Lejeune, and

(3) statements from witnesses with firsthand knowledge.

Claimants who only have witnesses’ statements to prove their Camp Lejeune connection can expect the government to contest their claim in some cases. But it is hard to imagine an otherwise strong case failing at trial because the jury did not believe the victim was at Lejeune.

November 21, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Scheduling Orders

Court hearings have not been set yet in the legacy Camp Lejeune lawsuits awaiting a ruling on the government’s dismissal motions for failure to submit admin claims to JAG before re-filing.

Meanwhile, the first of many automatic scheduling deadlines is starting to pop up in these cases. Notices recently advised the parties that they have until mid-December to submit joint discovery plans in the legacy cases.

Our lawyers are eager to see the government do something in these toxic water cases besides just collecting claims.  Why? We want more tea leaves on how they intend to approach this sprawling litigation.

November 20, 2022 – Lejeune Administrative Process Yet to Take Flight

We still have optimism for early Camp Lejeune settlements. But it will not be in 2022.  The JAG Tort Claims Unit will not attempt to settle any Camp Lejeune lawsuits during this administrative phase.

How do we know this?  We STILL don’t have a system to send medical records, as we talk about in yesterday’s update. To make settlement offers, JAG would need to review individual cases and verify that the claims are supported by appropriate documentary evidence (e.g., medical records, service records).

JAG needs the staffing to do this.  Again, they are not even accepting or reviewing any documents submitted in support of CLJA claims, much less doing the hard work to evaluate a claim to offer a settlement payout.  This indicates that JAG won’t be doing much with these claims other than acknowledging them. Victims will wait for the statutory period and then file a water contamination lawsuit.

November 19, 2022 – Getting Records for Camp Lejeune Settlement

Since the CLJA was passed in August, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been bombarded with thousands of requests from veterans (and their families) seeking military service records to support their Camp Lejeune claims.

The large influx of requests has overwhelmed NARA and caused a significant backlog. At the top of NARA’s Military Service Records webpage is a cautionary box titled “Important Notice Regarding the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.”

The notice explains that CLJA claimants are not required to submit service records supporting their initial claims, but that JAG may request records later. This is an apparent attempt to prepare claimants for a delay when requesting service records in connection with Camp Lejeune.

November 17, 2022 – New Camp Lejeune Claims Update

There is a new information post on the JAG Tort Claims Unit webpage regarding Camp Lejeune claims under the CLJA.  The JAG is working on a new electronic submission portal for claimants to use when submitting service records and medical records to support their claims.

The website explains that until this system is set up, JAG will not require or expect CLJA claimants to submit these documents to support their CLJA claims.  So this still means that the JAG is not ready to make Camp Lejeune settlement offers yet.

The site also explains what any lawyer handling these cases already knew – the federal agencies handling service records have recently been overwhelmed with Camp Lejeune-related requests resulting in a backlog.

November 16, 2022 – Kidney Cancer Settlement Amounts

We updated our kidney cancer settlement amount projections.  Our attorneys included the kidney cancer verdict and settlement payouts in other claims to support our predictions.

November 15, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Legacy Lawsuits Battle Continues

We have been talking about a battle between the government and plaintiffs who already brought a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Those plaintiffs want to skip filing an administrative complaint and continue their lawsuit.

Does this dispute even matter?  Yes and no.

It is hard to understand why the government what to fight a battle with no practical significance. But these plaintiffs have been fighting for a long time for justice.  Symbolically, they want to be first.  And, practically, they have reason to believe that filing first may put them first in line when a Camp Lejeune suit goes to trial.

(By the way, lawyers have been filing Tier I Camp Lejeune claims first.  So, arguably, it is better for everyone else if the government wins the motion because I would rather a Parkinson’s disease case go first than cases chosen because they were already filed many years ago.  There may be other arguments to the contrary. But there is no question we want the first case to go to trial to be a strong claim because any verdict will have a bellwether effect on the settlement amounts victims receive. )

Anyway, back to this dispute. The government filed a new brief last week in support of its motion to dismiss the Camp Lejeune legacy cases that were immediately re-filed after the enactment of the CLJA without filing new administrative claims with JAG.

The memorandum filed last Wednesday (in some of the legacy cases) reiterates the simple argument the government has made in support of its motion from the beginning. The memorandum asserts that the JAG claims filed by the legacy plaintiffs before the CLJA was passed don’t count, and these plaintiffs must refile new claims.

This latest brief, however, is supported by a long declaration from the head of the JAG Tort Claims Brach, explaining the factual background of the claims previously submitted to JAG by the legacy plaintiffs.

November 14, 2022 – When Will Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Settle?

The recent media and lawyer advertising attention regarding the water contamination at Camp Lejeune has prompted the CDC to initiate a long overdue investigation into possible health risks from other contaminated military sites.

The CDC publicly announced that it was launching a public health study to determine whether former residents of the Fort Ord Army base in California were harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals at the base. Fort Ord was an Army training facility that was closed in 1994 after the EPD named it one of the most polluted sites in the U.S.

November 10, 2022 –  U.S. Supreme Court Denies Camp Lejeune Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from one of the initial Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits dismissed in 2016. The appeal challenged the lower court’s decision to use the Feres Doctrine (a rule that blocks military service members from suing the government in some instances) to dismiss the Lejeune cases. The government argued that the passage of the CLJA rendered the issue mute, and the justices agreed.

November 9, 2022 – GUARD Act Update

The so-called GUARD Act is a bill under consideration by Congress that was prompted in direct response to the Camp Lejeune attorney advertising blitz following the passage of the CLJA. The GUARD Act would impose penalties on lawyers for advertising for VA benefits when the VA does not authorize them. The bill was sent to the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and has gone nowhere since. With the mid-terms in the rearview mirror, there is little chance of the bill getting passed before the end of the year.

Ultimately, I don’t think many Camp Lejeune lawyers were pretending to advertise for VA benefits to attract clients looking to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.  I could be wrong. I don’t see every ad; there have been approximately five million Lejeune television commercials.  But I think a big reason the legislation died was the lack of evidence it was anything other than an isolated problem.

November 8, 2022 – Mid-Term Elections Impact on Lejeune Litigation

The mid-term elections are today.  Will a power shift in Congress impact your prospects of a Camp Lejeune settlement?

No. The election’s outcome should have no impact whatsoever on how CLJA claims are handled.  This litigation is not a Republican or Democrat issue.  Both parties equally support (and don’t support) veterans.  Everyone wants to make everything partisan politics in 2022.  But, despite some political maneuvering on the CLJA before it passed, there is bipartisan support for this legislation.

Also, the Department of Justice has primary authority over settlement offers and valuing injury and wrongful death claims. The DOJ is part of the executive branch, which will not change hands after the election. (And even a new administration really would not change the facts on the ground, anyway.)

November 6, 2022

Last week, a second Petition to Perpetuate Testimony (Nelson v. United States 7:22-cv-186) was filed by a victim of the Camp Lejeune water contamination who is going to die before they can see their CLJA case filed. Mr. Nelson enlisted in the Navy in 1982, and he lived at Camp Lejeune three different times between 1983 and 1986 for training. Nelson lived in the barracks at Camp Geiger, Hadnot Point, and Holcomb Boulevard. In 2018, he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and was recently admitted to hospice care. Nelson seeks to preserve his deposition testimony before he dies to provide critical evidence supporting his anticipated Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

November 5, 2022

We are getting more bullish on Lejeune lung cancer lawsuits. Indeed, these are strong claims if the victim did not smoke. But, increasingly, our attorneys think the lung cancer water contamination lawsuits for smokers may be more viable than we initially thought.  We have revised our settlement predictions for these cases. Lung cancer cases are second only to Parkinson’s disease for tour Camp Lejeune clients.

November 3, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Lung Cancer Settlement Projections

We updated our Lejeune lung cancer settlement projections today.  Our lawyers think the equipoise bar that lowers the burden of proof required for Camp Lejeune lawsuits could have a meaningful impact on the settlement payouts in these claims.

November 2, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Settlement Scams

Increasingly, we are getting emails, texts, and phone calls from people asking when they can pick up their Camp Lejeune settlement.  People are sending banking information to deposit their settlement check.  Scammers are using our law firm to lend credibility to their scams.

Camp Lejeune victims should be very cautious about any legal advertising that promises a quick or automatic cash settlement or payout. The new law passed by Congress in August (the Camp Lejeune Justice Act) does not offer immediate cash settlements to victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. The CLJA simply gives Lejeune victims the ability to file a civil lawsuit.

There will be no automatic or quick settlement payouts for people who have never even hired a Camp Lejeune lawyer.  Victims will still need to prove that their injuries were related to the Camp Lejeune water and either go to trial or get a settlement offer from the government.

 

October 31, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Attorneys’ Fees

Our lawyers are getting a lot of questions about attorneys’ fees.  Many of our clients were frustrated that some Camp Lejeune lawyers were trying to charge them a contingency fee as high as 45%.  Most law firm seems to be charging 40%.

Price should not be the only consideration when hiring an attorney for your Camp Lejeune lawsuit. You need a lawyer with a track record of success and someone who is going to care about you and what you have been through. But when you are comparing the best lawyers, it is something you should consider.

People often see that we are charging a lower contingency fee and ask if they can change lawyers. Ultimately, if you are happy with your lawyer, you should stay with that attorney.

October 30, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Settlement Predictions Revised

We revised our Camp Lejeune wrongful death settlement amount estimates yesterday.  We introduced some new logical underpinnings behind our predictions that will prove either sage or nonsense.

No two pieces of litigation are alike so comps only have so much value. But how the government has historically valued different types of injuries and wrongful death is important. History repeats and settlement payouts the government paid in previous cases for similar injuries and death are instructive in estimating settlement payouts for Camp Lejeune victims.

October 29, 2022 – Normal Burden of Proof Not Necessary for Lejeune Claim

Victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination who bring claims under the CLJA will face a much easier evidentiary burden for proving causation. To prove causation, the CLJA merely requires claimants to “produce evidence” showing that “a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.” This is referred to as “equipoise” causation and it will be the first time this standard is applied in a civil case.

So what will this mean for your case? It should mean that you won’t have to battle quite as hard to prove that your disease is connected to the Camp Lejeune water even when you may have other risk factors.

This is a big deal. For example, if you were a smoker, it would be very difficult to prove that your lung cancer was caused by the water and not the cigarettes. Under equipoise, however, the contaminated water could be “at least as likely” as the cigarettes to be the cause.  This is is a much easier hurdle to win your case.

October 28, 2022 –  Easier to Bring a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Bringing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit is easier than bringing a typical civil lawsuit. The CLJA adopted a lower evidentiary standard for claimants to prove that their disease was caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Under the CLJA, claimants simply need to prove that “a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.”

This is called equipoise causation. So what exactly will this mean for Camp Lejeune victims? In practical terms, it should mean that CLJA claimants will have a higher chance of success regardless of what their alleged health condition is or what risk factors they may have.

October 27, 2022 –  Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Many of the victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination have already passed. The CLJA specifically allows for relatives of the deceased victim to bring a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit.  Nearly half of the Lejeune clients our law firm has have wrongful death claims from a family member seeking a settlement or jury payout for the loss of someone they loved.

The one requirement the CLJA imposes is that death claims must be brought by the estate of the deceased victim. The individual with authority to act for an estate is referred to as the personal representative, administrator, or executor (it varies by state).

Anybody can be the personal representative of an estate. Sometimes it is a lawyer.  But the personal representative is usually a close family member of the decedent (e.g., surviving spouse, child, etc.). Any settlement proceeds from a death claim get disbursed to the heirs of the decedent just like the assets of the estate.

October 26, 2022 – How Much of a Settlement Demand for a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

There has been an evolution in thinking in terms of how much your settlement demand for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit should be.

The initial optimism that the government might offer early settlement amounts has given way to a pragmatic understanding that the government does not yet have a system to put settlement amounts on the table.  The JAG Tort Claims Unit in Norfolk received over 6,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims in the two months.

All plaintiffs are required to file these claims and JAG has 6-months to either accept or resolve them, at which point the plaintiffs can file suit.

There has been a lot of speculation about whether JAG would be making settlement offers on some CLJA cases during this claim period.  The conventional wisdom now is that the JAG cannot meaningfully evaluate this many claims in six months. The office handling these claims is understaffed and needs to ramp up to handle the onslaught of Camp Lejeune settlement applications.

Lawyers are submitting Camp Lejeune settlement demands of as much as $50 million in compensation. Why?  Small demands are a cap on your settlement or jury payout. (See September 29, 2022 discussion below.)  So if there is no chance a real settlement payout will be offered, there is no reason to put a ceiling on your future settlement compensation or jury payout.

October 25, 2022 – Battle Over Camp Lejuene Legacy Lawsuits Continues

Last week, the government filed a motion to dismiss a group of Camp Lejeune lawsuits filed immediately after the CLJA was enacted. An opposition to that motion to dismiss has already been filed in at least one of those cases (Ensminger, et al. v. United States).

The response brief argues that the plaintiffs previously complied with the administrative claim requirement under the CLJA when they submitted claims to JAG under the FTCA before filing their first lawsuits several years back. The response argues the statutory language of the CLJA does not require the plaintiffs to resubmit claims after the passage of the CLJA and such an interpretation would be contrary to the underlying purpose of the statute.

October 24, 2022 –  Camp Lejeune Settlement Estimates

We will continue to revise our average per person settlement amount for specific Camp Lejeune lawsuits.   Yesterday, we revised upward our predicted settlement for Parkinson’s disease lawsuits.

October 22, 2022 – Looking for Settlement Tea Leaves

On Monday, the government filed its motion to dismiss all of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases that were filed on the day that the CLJA became law.

A second group of six more Lejeune legacy cases were filed the next day.  The government has not filed the same motion to dismiss in any of those Camp Lejuene lawsuits. We won’t get a decision on the motion until at least the end of January or later.

Camp Lejeune lawyers are following this closely.  The outcome of these cases is of no consequence.  But we are looking for tea leaves of how the government will defend these lawsuits and how they will approach settlement.

October 21, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Advertising Backlash

Understandable fatigue over the proliferation of Camp Lejeune lawyer advertising has prompted Congress to begin working on the passage of a new law called the Governing Unaccredited Representatives Defrauding VA Benefits Act (GUARD Act).

The GUARD Act would impose criminal penalties on lawyers who imply in their marketing that they can obtain VA benefits for clients when the lawyer is not authorized by the VA to handle benefit cases.  The law is already there but without criminal penalties.

I was unaware anyone was doing this.  I have not seen a television ad or anything online that does this. But the compensation for Camp Lejeune lawsuits is fierce and some attorneys are stepping over the line.  The law seems unnecessary – this should be an easy job for state bar associations – but it is not hard to understand the frustration.

As much as everyone despises lawyer advertising (especially at the nauseating level we have seen for Camp Lejeune) it serves a vital public service. A large percentage of Camp Lejeune victims might never even know about the CLJA without the attorney ads offering legal assistance (as annoying as they are for the rest of us).

October 19, 2022 – Government Filed Motion to Dismiss Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

On Monday, lawyers for the federal government filed motions to dismiss all of the Camp Lejeune legacy lawsuits that were dismissed back in 2016 and immediately refiled after the CLJA was passed in August.

The motions argue that these cases must be dismissed. The government contends because the plaintiffs did not satisfy the requirement under the CLJA that they file and exhaust an administrative claim with the Navy JAG before bringing a civil lawsuit. The plaintiffs are going to argue that they already satisfied this requirement when they submitted admin claims to JAG before filing their initial lawsuits several years back.

The government’s view, however, is that those prior administrative contaminated drinking water claims are not relevant because they were filed before the CLJA was enacted. Our lawyers think that the decision on this issue could go either way, but the outcome will have little significance.

Is this a big deal or a little deal? It is a little deal.  If the government wins its argument, the legacy plaintiffs will simply have to submit new claims to JAG and then re-file their lawsuits again after JAG denies the claim or 6-months pass without a decision.  It is hard to understand the government’s purpose in wanting to delay justice even longer for victims that have already waited so long.

About three-fourths of our cases are injuries that are already deemed presumptively related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

October 18, 2022 – Does It Matter Where You Lived at Lejeune?

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune occurred in three areas: Hadnot Point, Tarawa Terrace, and Holcomb Boulevard.

The Hadnot Point area was occupied by barracks and bachelor housing units. Tarawa Terrace was the family housing area, and Holcomb Boulevard featured the hospital, family housing, and other amenities.

Some have suggested that victims who did not live or work in one of these three areas do not qualify to bring a claim under the CLJA.  We do not think Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will be fought in these weeds.

The CLJA allows claims by anyone who lived or worked at “Camp Lejeune” with specific reference to these three locations.  Why?  Because everyone living or working at Lejeune was likely exposed to the contaminated water regardless of where they lived on base.

October 17, 2022 –  Is There Settlement Money Set Aside to Pay Camp Lejeune Lawsuits?

Over 6,000 CLJA claims have already been brought by Camp Lejeune victims and it has only been two months since the new law was passed. Is there enough money to compensate all of the victims.

There is a $6.7 billion number a lot of law firm websites are talking about.  This number is wrong and it is our fault.  We put that number out before the CLJA passed and everyone copied it.  The real number that has been set aside appears to be more like $22 billion when you put it all together.

But this is not a Camp Lejeune settlement payout fund. There is no set-aside fund to pay Camp Lejeune settlements. But this estimate is a clear indication that the government is prepared to pay full settlement compensation to Camp Lejeune victims who file meritorious claims.

October 16, 2022 – Who Is Making Decisions at the DOJ?

In all of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases that have been filed in federal court since the CLJA was passed back in August, an appearance as Counsel for the Defendant, United States of America, has been entered by Adam Bain.

Mr. Bain is a Senior Trial Counsel at the Torts Branch of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. The Director of the DOJ Torts Branch office is J. Patrick Glynn and the Assistant Director is Bridget Bailey Lipscomb.

The Torts Branch is part of the DOJ Civil Division which is headed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boyton.

October 14, 2022 – Guessing at Government Average Camp Lejeune Compensation Projections

So how much money does the government think it will take to pay settlement compensation to Camp Lejeune victims?

When the CLJA was going through Congress, the CBO estimated that compensation payments on Camp Lejeune claims under the CLJA would result in about $22 billion in government spending.

Based on information from other attorneys and reports from the Tort Claims Unit at JAG, it looks like the total number of Camp Lejeune claims could be around 100,000-200,000. There will be some attrition and a large percentage of these claims will be denied, dismissed, or devalued.

Based on that number, however, $22 billion would equal $220,000 per claimant.  At 200,000, it would be $110,000 per person.

But we are talking about how the government projects Camp Lejeune settlement amounts.  This is different from the compensation victims will receive.  It is hard to imagine the average Camp Lejeune settlement being less than $250,000.  Yes, there will be weaker cases that lack merit that will get smaller compensation. But there will also be settlements in Parkinson’s disease and other serious cases where the settlements exceed $1 million.

Ultimately, the defendant does not get to choose settlement payouts.  Like any other litigation, large jury verdicts will increase average per person settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune victims.

October 13, 2022 – New Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

A new Camp Lejeune civil lawsuit, Douse v. United States (7:22-cv-176), was filed in EDNC recently.

This is the first new case filed under the CLJA since the group of legacy cases that were filed immediately after the law was passed.

Plaintiff David Douse (we changed his first name for privacy) was assigned to Camp Lejeune (specifically the Camp Geiger area) just before being discharged from the Marine Corps in 1976. He also lived on base as a civilian for a short time thereafter.

Douse – a lawyer filing a claim on his own behalf – is seeking compensation because he was later diagnosed with hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), which is one of the diseases that has been associated with the Lejeune water.

October 12, 2022 – Government Argues Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Did Not Comply with CLJA

Under the CLJA, all plaintiffs are required to submit an “administrative claim” to JAG before filing a civil lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC). Immediately after the CLJA was passed in August, however, victims filed 28 Camp Lejeune lawsuits in the EDNC. These were “legacy cases” that had been filed for years and eventually dismissed in 2016 based on the application of North Carolina law (the event that eventually prompt the passage of the CLJA).

These plaintiffs had previously submitted admin claims to JAG before filing suit the first time around so they took the position that they had already satisfied the JAG claim requirement and were eligible to refile immediately. The government lawyers have objected to that position, however, and are arguing that these cases have not complied with the “administrative exhaustion requirement” under the CLJA. The plaintiffs will submit it on October 21, 2022. The government’s reply will be submitted on November 17, 2022, after which the court will rule.

October 10, 2022 – How Many Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims Will We See?

How many Camp Lejeune lawsuits will be filed?  Estimates range from 50,000 to 500,000.

The answer to how many water contamination lawsuits we will see lies somewhere in the middle.

There will not be 500,000 viable Camp Lejeune claims. If there were 500,000 claims with an average Camp Lejeune settlement of $300,000, that would be $150 billion. There is no chance of that.

Similarly, based on the flood of cases our law firm has received, 50,000 seems way too low.  Our guess from the beginning has been between 100,000 and 200,000. The rumor is that 75,000 to 100,000 people have already hired a lawyer.  So we think there could be as many as 200,000 claims. But the more likely number is 150,000.

October 9, 2022 – How to Calculate a Camp Lejeune Settlement

When calculating settlement offers to make to Camp Lejeune water contamination plaintiffs, the government will consider several factors including

(a) what type of disease the victim is alleging and whether it has been linked to the Lejeune water,

(b) the severity of the victim’s disease, and

(c) how long the victim was exposed to Camp Lejeune water.

CLJA plaintiffs will be entitled to the same categories of damages as plaintiffs in normal civil cases. These include lost income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

More discussion of expected settlement amounts

October 8, 2022 – The Judges and Court Hearing Lejeune Claims

The CLJA requires that all Camp Lejeune cases must be filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina (EDNC). EDNC has 6 sitting judges (which includes two senior judges and four full-time judges).

Five of the six EDNC Judges were appointed by Republican administrations. The Chief Judge is Richard E. Myers, II. Myers is a Trump appointee and former UNC Law School Professor who was confirmed by the Senate with (rare today) bipartisan support in 2019.

According to federal judiciary statistics, this courthouse may already be overworked before an influx of over 100,000 Camp Lejeune lawsuits. An average of around 1,600 civil cases are filed in the EDNC each year the median time from filing to case disposition is 12 months. This is the slowest disposition time of any District Court in the 4th Circuit. The fastest is the Eastern District of Virginia with an average of 7 months.

October 7, 2022 – How the Court Will Handle the Volume of Toxic Water Claims

Under the CLJA, all Camp Lejeune cases must be filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the logistics of how the EDNC will handle what is expected to be a massive influx of civil cases.  The logistics are daunting.

A motion requesting consolidation and the creation of a “mini-MDL” within the district was rejected last month.  This was the right call. We do not want a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit.  Every case is its own tragedy and should be treated and evaluated for settlement as such. So an individual lawsuit is a better path than a class action.

That said, some form of consolidated proceedings – short of a full water contamination class action lawsuit –  will be necessary at some point. On average, about 1,600 civil cases get filed in EDNC each year and the total pending civil caseload is around 2,200. JAG received 3,000 CLJA claims in just the first month after the law was passed. This number is reportedly close to 10,000 by now.

Unless a large chunk of toxic water claims are settled, they will all eventually get filed as civil lawsuits in less than six months from now, assuming reasonable water contamination settlement amounts are not offered.  This would increase the EDNC civil case by 200% in just the first month alone. It simply will not be possible for the court to handle every Camp Lejeune lawsuit individually without some type of consolidation.

October 6, 2022 – Legacy Plaintiffs May Skip the Administrative Period

No new Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina in October. Almost all the 28 “legacy lawsuits” were filed in the first 2 weeks after the CLJA was passed. A handful of additional cases were filed around the end of August and one case was filed in early September. When the Camp Lejeune MDL was dismissed there were 900 plaintiffs with pending cases, which means we could see more legacy lawsuits filed over the next month.

October 5, 2022 – Insane Camp Lejeune Television Ads

There is a report that $45 million has been spent by law firms on television advertising for Camp Lejeune.  It is easy to believe, right?  People are sick of the Camp Lejeune ads promising a big settlement. It does not help the public perception of the litigation. We get at least an email or call a day asking us to stop with the Camp Lejeune television commercials.

Our law firm has never run a television commercial or any ad.  Our lawyers put our time and effort into providing you with the best and most updated news and information on the Camp Lejeune lawsuits.  That is it.

October 2, 2022 –  How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

The water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base was contaminated from 1953 to 1987. This means many victims exposed to the toxic water have already passed away. The CLJA permits wrongful death claims on behalf of deceased Camp Lejeune victims. The administrator of the decedent’s estate needs to bring the claim. If you are not the administrator of the estate or the administrator is not available, you can have yourself appointed to that role if you are a family member or interested party, and our Camp Lejeune lawyers can help you with that.  If the victim died a long time ago, the estate is probably closed and may need to be reopened for this to happen.

September 30, 2022 –  The Administrative Process

The JAG Tort Claims Unit recently sent an email to lawyers offering some guidance and instructions for submitting Camp Lejeune settlement claims to JAG. It explains the process for submitting claims in large batches and explains that links to files cannot be opened or accepted under DoD policies. Finally, the email asks attorneys to provide contact information for the clients when filing so that JAG can use the information to scan for duplicate claims filed on behalf of the same individual by two different attorneys.

Dealing with the JAG and DOJ lawyers is easier than dealing with defense lawyers in other mass tort cases who bill by the hour and are consistently looking to make things difficult for plaintiffs’ attorneys.  Both sides have an interest in trying to make the Camp Lejeune settlement claims process as seamless as it can be and hopefully compensate victims as soon as possible to reduce the number of claims.

September 29, 2022 – How Much Should a Camp Lejeune Settlement Demand Ask For?

How much should your Camp Lejeune settlement demand be?

In most cases, a settlement compensation demand is of little consequence.  You make a settlement demand, the defendant rejects that demand, and then you file a lawsuit.

The amount you ask for in a Camp Lejeune settlement means everything. Why?  Because your settlement demand is a cap on the amount of compensation you receive.  So if you make a “reasonable” settlement demand and the Navy rejects that demand, that is the ceiling on the damages you allow.  So if you demand $1 million and a jury awards a $10 million payout, your verdict would be reduced by the judge to $1 million.

The client has to have real input on any Camp Lejeune settlement demand.   When in doubt, you want to demand more rather than less so you are not limiting yourself in the future.

September 28, 2022 – Pretrial Procedures 

On Tuesday, a Petition for Depositions to Perpetuate Testimony was filed in Bishop, et al. v. United States (7:22-cv-170). The action was brought on behalf of a pair of former Marines who served a Camp Lejeune and are now dying.

The first Petitioner, Dale Bishop, developed terminal liver cancer after his time at Lejeune and only has weeks to live. Petitioner Richard Benz was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017 and is now in hospice care.  The purpose is to take their depositions to preserve their testimony for use in future anticipated lawsuits under the CLJA. This is a common and necessary practice.  But it does not make you feel awful about what these Marine veterans are enduring when you think about it… you are not thinking about it.

September 27, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Already Filed

Since the CLJA was signed into law on August 10, 2022, a total of 28 Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits have been filed under the new law in the Eastern District of North Carolina on behalf of 77 individual plaintiffs.

All these are Camp Lejeune “legacy cases” that were originally filed years ago only to be dismissed in 2016 based on the application of the North Carolina statute of repose. Since the plaintiffs in these cases already submitted administrative claims when they originally filed, they were not obligated to re-submit those claims and were therefore eligible to file right away.  (Arguably, anyway. The government contends they must go through the administrative process again.)

These are good canaries in the coal mine for how the DOJ and the court will handle Camp Lejeune lawsuits.

September 23, 2022 – Claims for the Loss of a Loved One and How a Personal Representative Works

Sadly, so many of the calls our Camp Lejeune lawyers are getting are wrongful death lawsuits.  Many family members who lost a loved one many years ago seem confused why they would have a claim after so much time has passed.  So let’s clarify a few things about Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuits.

First, a CLJA wrongful death lawsuit is not limited to Marine Corps veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune. Anyone (veteran, family member, civilian employee) who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of one month is eligible to bring a claim under the CLJA. If you had a family member who lived or worked at Lejeune but has since passed away, their estate can bring a wrongful death claim. The CLJA allows claims even when the person died years ago and even after their estate has long been closed out in probate.

Second, you can bring a Lejeune wrongful death claim for the loss of your family member even if that death occurred nearly 70 years ago. If a former resident or employee of Camp Lejeune has already died as a result of a disease connected to contaminated water, the CLJA allows wrongful death claims to be brought on their behalf.

Wrongful death claims under the CLJA must comply with North Carolina law, which requires death claims to be brought by the personal representative (PR) of the decedent’s estate. For someone who died a long time ago, the estate may need to be reopened. If the PR is no longer available, a new PR can be appointed for the estate.

September 20, 2022 – No Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit

There will not be a Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit, according to a judge’s ruling yesterday denying pretrial consolidation.  This is mostly a good thing.

At the end of August, a group of law firms filed a motion asking that all Camp Lejeune lawsuits in the Eastern District of North Carolina be consolidated for pretrial discovery purposes. The request was seeking something similar to a class action MDL for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits.

In the first month since the CLJA was passed, over 5,000 Camp Lejeune cases have already been filed with JAG and many more are expected. Last week, however, the federal court in North Carolina rejected this request without explanation.

But our Camp Lejeune lawyers support the ruling.  The DOJ and the courts already have a plan for how the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuits are going to be handled, treating them as individual claims will lead to victims getting a faster and more appropriate Camp Lejeune settlement.

These claims are not going to be typical class action lawsuits, so classic consolidation similar to an MDL is not necessary or appropriate for the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

September 15, 2022 – How to Prove a Toxic Water Injury or Death Claim

I was talking to a veteran with Parkinson’s disease on Tuesday. We were discussing, as we do below, the relaxed standard of proof for a Camp Lejeune lawsuit that is different from a civil lawsuit.  But there is still a burden for victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination who want to pursue a claim under the CLJA will need to present documents proving that they lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for 30 days between 1953 and 1987.

Former marines who were stationed on base can do this by requesting their Official Military Personnel File with a DD214 request. If you were a family member of a veteran who was stationed at Lejeune you will need additional documentation to prove a relationship, such as a birth certificate or marriage license, or other proof of residence documents. If you worked at Camp Lejeune as a civilian, you or your attorney will need to get documents proving your employment, such as an SSA Work History Report, paystubs, or tax returns. Our Camp Lejeune lawyers believe the JAG will be flexible about the type of proof that is sufficient. But they will require some evidence that the victims were at Lejeune.

September 12, 2022 – Presumptive Conditions

Which Camp Lejeune claims have the best chances of reaching a quick settlement without litigation?  Before the CLJA was enacted, the VA was awarding disability benefits to veterans who were at Camp Lejeune and subsequently diagnosed with one of 7 diseases. These 7 diseases were viewed as presumptively connected to contaminated Lejeune water based on scientific evidence. The 7 presumptive Camp Lejeune diseases were:

Parkinson’s disease

Leukemia

Bladder cancer

Kidney cancer

Multiple myeloma

Aplastic anemia

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

These are not the only cases in line for an early settlement. The science has evolved to include many more injuries from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. But Lejeune victims who bring a toxic drinking water claim under the CLJA will probably not be required to present causation evidence if they have one of these diseases. This facilitates an early settlement. How long?  Hopefully, before a lawsuit is filed during the administrative period required by the new law.

September 11, 2022 – Claim Forms

The JAG office for the Navy has issued a special form for Camp Lejeune plaintiffs to submit with their CLJA claims. In section 10 of the form, CLJA claimants identify what disease or health condition they claim to have developed from the Lejeune water. Section 10 specifically names 12 health conditions which can be selected by checking a box, and an additional section for “other” with a blank space for a description.

Trying to avoid reading the tea leaves from the Navy and JAG when they put out information on Camp Lejeune claims is impossible.  Our attorneys believe that the list of the 12 diseases in the check-the-box list is significant because these are the injuries that JAG believes to be presumptively connected to the Lejeune water contamination. The first three injuries are the three our lawyers are seeing over and over:  bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and liver cancer.

September 9, 2022 – Excessive Emails and Texts

This is the email our Camp Lejeune lawyers received this morning:

I DO NOT NEED HELP W/ CAMP LEJEUNE, RATHER I AM GETTING ANNOYED WITH YOUR ADS EVERY FEW MINUTES ON NUMEROUS CHANNELS ON TV! IT MAY BE A WORTHY CAUSE BUT YOU’RE ALSO MAKING A “TON OF MONEY” WITH YOUR LAWSUIT! YOUR ADS ARE INTERFERING WITH MY PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT OF TV! WHY DON’T YOU TRY A DIFFERENT METHOD TO GET YOUR MESSAGE TO VETS OR OTHERS WHO NEED ASSISTANCE! PLEASE RESPECT MY PERSONAL FREEDOM AS WELL! THANK YOU!

Our law firm has not run a single Camp Lejeune television commercial.  We have never sent emails soliciting Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits.  All our attorneys do is educate people online about the litigation and what they can do to maximize their settlement amount or jury payout.

People are understandably sick of the endless commercials and emails.

September 2, 2022 – Total Water Contamination Settlement Estimates

How much money will go to compensate Camp Lejeune victims and their families in settlement compensation and jury payouts?  Our lawyers talk below about per-person settlement amounts we expect for individual claims based on the type of injury.  But how much money will the government spend overall on settlements for Camp Lejeune claims?

There is no settlement fund.  There have been no Camp Lejeune settlements yet.  But the official cost estimate for the CLJA done by the Congressional Budget Office estimates that $6.1 billion will be placed into a permanent settlement fund that will cover settlements and awards to Camp Lejeune victims. The CBO estimates that $200 million will be paid out in just the first 12 months, an estimate that does not jive with early settlements during the six-month administrative phase.  Our lawyers expect that is incorrect

We are just one law firm.  So our lawyers do not have a sense of how many victims will file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. But we already represent over one-thousand Camp Lejeune victims. And this litigation is just getting started. Other attorneys we work on Camp Lejeune and class action lawsuits with also report large numbers of clients. And the per-person Lejeune payouts are likely to be high.

So that $6.1 billion estimate will be trumped by how much money juries will award and how many victims file a lawsuit.  How much money is needed to pay these claims based on the number and strength of the lawsuits will dictate Camp Lejeune settlement amounts, not some number tossed in a CBO budget.  Our expectation is that final settlement amounts will exceed $25 billion and could go even higher.

September 1, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Disability Claims Wrongfully Denied

Many victims are led to believe they do not have a viable Camp Lejeune claim because their disability claim was denied.  The Department of Defense released a report that found that the Veteran’s Administration may have improperly denied over 21,000 VA benefits claims related to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

The DOD report noted that many Camp Lejeune claims were inappropriately denied without the required level of investigation to determine if the alleged medical condition was related to the Lejeune water.

Now, these veterans are eligible to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits under the CLJA and get the compensation that was improperly denied by the VA. The CLJA also allows veterans who were awarded VA benefits to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits.

August 31, 2022 – The Administrative Claim Process

Camp Lejeune Justice Act administrative claims are already being filed with the Navy JAG office. Filing these claims is mandatory under the CLJA before the plaintiff can bring a civil Camp Lejune suit in federal court.  Camp Lejeune attorneys are eager to learn exactly how the Navy and DOJ will approach the CLJA admin claim process.

Our lawyers expect that the Navy will use the administrative claim process as an opportunity to identify the strongest cases and make a deliberate effort to settle them by offering a reasonable payout.

This benefits everyone. Victims deserve to be paid now for the harm done to them. But this approach also makes sense for the DOJ.  The JAG office is ramping up for this litigation by hiring lawyers and staff to defend these suits.  But it has limited resources and cannot actively defend thousands of Camp Lejeune claims.

August 28, 2022 – No Cap on Damages But No Punitive Damages

One recurring question we are getting from victims that our lawyers have heard a lot again this weekend: Is there a cap on damages in a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit?  The answer is no. North Carolina law controls all these toxic water claims.  There is a limit on the size of payout that a jury can award in a Camp Lejeune suit.  This is because there are no economic or noneconomic damages under North Carolina law.  The statute is clear there can be no punitive damages.

August 25, 2022 – Claim Guidelines

To prepare for the flood of anticipated claims under the CLJA, the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) has posted guidelines for filing Camp Lejeune cases on its website.

Adhering to these guidelines is important because CLJA claimants are required to file a claim with the JAG Tort Claims Unit before filing a civil lawsuit. JAG has created a CLJA claim form (similar to a civil cover sheet) that will be required for all cases.

The claim form asks for information about the residence or employment at Lejeune and a section that requires the claimant to put a dollar amount on their claim.

August 24, 2022 – New River Claims

Employees or Marines who worked or resided at the New River Marine Corps Air Station may be eligible to file lawsuits under the new CLJA act. MCAS New River is right next to Camp Lejeune and shared the same contaminated water supply. The CLJA eligibility section only refers to “Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,” however, the language of this section arguably extends to New River MCAS and that is probably how it will be interpreted by the DOJ.

August 23, 2022 – How a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Will Be Defended

A big question that Camp Lejeune lawyers and victims have now that the CLJA has been passed is will the government be looking to settle CLJA claims or aggressively defend them? If you have suffered and have waited this long, you reasonably want to know how long it might be to receive a fair Camp Lejeune settlement amount and how long it will take for your case to settle.

First, it is important to point out that no one knows at this stage how many cases will be offered a payout before filing a lawsuit.  But our attorneys are hopeful that quick settlements are possible for a sizable percentage of Lejeune claims.  Speedy resolution of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits is in everyone’s best interests.  We define quick settlement as reasonable settlement amounts offer during the administrative claim phase or very early in the civil litigation stage.

Our lawyers anticipate that the DOJ and the Navy will screen incoming cases and rank them into some type of tier system based on the severity of the harm done and the likelihood that harm can be linked to Camp Lejeune toxic water.

Under a system like this, the strongest claims will be in Tier I. Weaker claims will be ranked in Tier III or lower. CLJA Tier I cases could settle fairly quickly, possibly during the 6-month preliminary claim phase. Cases in Tier II may need to go through some civil discovery to strengthen their claims before receiving a settlement offer. CLJA cases in the lower tiers will either have to accept more modest settlement offers to settle in the earlier stages of this process.

August 21, 2022 – Too Many Emails and Texts

Every day, we get a text or email from someone angry that our law firm is sending them Camp Lejeune solicitation emails when they have never even heard of Camp Lejeune.  But our law firm has never sent a solicitation email in our law firm’s 20-year history.

People are finding us online and assuming we sent them an email. We also do not advertise on television or anywhere else.  But we have a history of representing veterans and thousands of Marines have already reached out to our attorneys seeking our help.

August 18, 2022 – Collecting Records

Camp Lejeune water contamination victims who bring lawsuits under the CLJA will need to collect medical records to support their claim. Medical records will help prove that the alleged injury was connected to the toxic water at Lejeune. The VA retains all medical records going back several decades and they are relatively easy to get. For private healthcare providers, obtaining records may be more challenging. Our Camp Lejeune attorneys can help victims track down and collect all relevant medical records and information.

August 17, 2022 – Where a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Is Filed

Under the CLJA, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina will have exclusive jurisdiction over all Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits. The Eastern District of North Carolina has 4 divisions (East, South, North, and West). Plaintiffs that live outside North Carolina must file in the Southern Division (located in Wilmington). In-state plaintiffs must file their cases in the division closest to their place of residence.

August 16, 2022 – Lejeune Claims Process

Using this “latest news” space to try to answer the questions our Camp Lejeune lawyers have been getting…  Camp Lejeune victims who want to get compensation under the CLJA are required to first file an administrative claim with the Navy. The JAG will review these bad water injury and wrongful death claims.  After a claim is correctly filed,  it must be accepted or rejected by the JAG within six months. Once that happens, the plaintiff can bring their toxic water lawsuit. Every Camp Lejeune lawsuit must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Will the JAG make reasonable Camp Lejeune settlement compensation offers before lawsuits are filed?  That remains to be seen.

August 13, 2022 – Getting Camp Lejeune Records

Camp Lejeune lawyers are moving forward to dig into the logistics of winning these lawsuits – or hopefully reach a settlement with the JAG before there is a lawsuit.

The recently enacted CLJA imposes a strict 2-year deadline for Camp Lejeune victims (or their surviving relatives) to bring civil compensation claims. Your lawyers will do most of the legwork on your case.  There is one thing prospective plaintiffs can do to get a head start on their claim to put their case in a position for an early settlement.  You can obtain copies of official documents that will prove that they lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.

Former Marines who were stationed at Lejeune should request their official military service records (known as DD214). Civilians who worked on base can request copies of their Social Security Work History. Collecting these records will help your attorney get your case moving faster and ensure that you get it filed within the deadline.

August 10, 2022 – The PACT Act Is Law

President Biden signed PACT Act into law today at 10:30 a.m.  The language of the CLJA is largely the same as the very first version of the bill that was passed by the House in March.

There are a few changes.  One significant exception is that CLJA originally had a lowered (easier) evidentiary standard for proving causation that would have permitted reliance on a single epidemiological study.

During the law-making process, this provision was removed. It was replaced with language that creates a normal “preponderance of the evidence” standard for proof of causation in Lejeune water cases. This could have some significance, depending on how the Biden Department of Justice interprets and applies the new law.

August 6, 2022 – Statute of Limitations and Other Deadlines

When Biden signs the PACT Act into law on Monday, the statute of limitations to file a claim will begin to run.  Victims will have two years to bring a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit (or six months from the date the Department of Navy denies the claim).

The deadline to file a Camp Lejeune claim can be confusing because there is a difference between a Camp Lejeune claim and a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.  You have two years to file an administrative claim and then six months after the Navy denies the claim.  So the two-year Camp Lejeune statute of limitations could practically result in a lawsuit being properly filed nearly three years after the date of enactment.

Under the language of the bill, victims cannot file a claim for new injuries and sicknesses discovered after that deadline. But 98% of the potential claims or Camp Lejeune lawyers have seen are for cancer and other injuries that occurred over 10 years ago.  The original version of the bill would have allowed newly discovered claims because so many of these injuries are latent diseases.  But that language was removed from the bill.

Update 7:54 p.m. EST: The Senate passes the Senate overwhelming by a vote of 86-11!  President Biden will sign the bill tomorrow. Our next latest new update will be a report that Biden signed this bill into law.

July 25, 2022 – Legislative Update

We finally have something on the calendar in the Senate. In just over an hour from now, the Senate will convene at 3 p.m. to resume consideration of the House message to accompany #S3373. This is the legislative vehicle for the PACT Act.

One of the other agenda items in the Senate that could put the PACT Act on hold is the continued political wrangling over the passage of the semiconductor bill. Most of the focus in the Senate last week was devoted to moving forward with the so-called “chips bill” (which seeks to promote domesticthe  manufacture of semiconductors).  Congress takes its summer recess on August 5 so we only have about a week left.

July 15, 2022 – PACT Act Progress

We are hearing from multiple sources that the Senate will vote on Friday to get the PACT Act passed before the weekend.  But the smart money says the law will pass next week because, as we have been reminded throughout this process, the wheels of justice move slowly.  The good news is that the overwhelming support in the House pushes the likelihood of a hiccup in the Senate towards zero.

Our attorneys are so focused on the water contamination lawsuits from Camp Lejeune, that we sometimes overlook the bigger picture for veterans with this bill.  It will expand healthcare eligibility for 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxins. The bill creates a presumption that every American service member placed in a combat zone for the last 32 years may have been exposed to harmful toxins.  The bill authorizes almost $300 billion to treat veterans’ injuries and sicknesses from these exposures.

This is long overdue.  Taking care of our veterans needs to be a top priority for this country and this bill is a step in that direction.

July 14, 2022 – Passes House

The PACT passed through the House of Representatives.  Off to the Senate…

July 1, 2022 – Camp Lejeune Settlement Budget

When Congress evaluates a new law, the Congressional Budget Office is tasked with reviewing the details of the legislation and generating a detailed estimate of how much the bill will cost the government over the next 10 years.  The CBO issued a Cost Estimate for the PACT Act which calculated the 10-year overall cost of the bill at $667 billion.

This is a stunning amount. It is – shockingly – Congress standing up for veterans. But how much money is allocated to paying Camp Lejeune settlement compensation payouts for water contamination lawsuits?  The CBO estimated that Camp Lejeune’s settlement payouts and legal expenses will account for $6.7 billion. Sure, this is a relatively large settlement fund. But it is only 1% of the total price tag for the PACT Act.

Is that enough to pay fair settlement amounts to veterans filing Camp Lejeune lawsuits?  It is hard to say.  Projections as to the number of tainted water lawsuits that will be filed vary widely.  It is unclear what estimates the CBO was making when projecting $6.7 billion in Camp Lejeune settlement payouts and other legal costs.   Could the cost of water contamination settlement amounts and jury payouts double this amount?  No doubt. (Update: As we mentioned above, we think the real number projected now is $22 billion. )

June 28, 2022 – Senate Passes

On June 16, the Senate voted 84-14 in favor of passing the revised version of the PACT Act. The vote was a clear indication that the law has very strong support from both parties. The leader of the very small opposition faction has been Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Toomey and a handful of other lawmakers are concerned about the excessive cost of the PACT Act.  Toomey led the effort to block the last-minute fix proposed by the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee last week.

June 21, 2022 – Home Stretch

We are in the home stretch to get the legislation passed that will allow Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits and other claims involving the contaminated water at this Marine Corps base. The latest update is the House Committee on Rules is set to vote today (afternoon update: sounds like tomorrow) on whether to advance Honoring Our Pact Act (as amended by the Senate) forward to a full and final consideration and vote by the House. The bill has more than enough votes to pass and the vote appears to be a formality at this point. Assuming it passes, it could be signed into law by President Biden before the week is over.

Our lawyers and other Camp Lejeune lawyers are proceeding as if this bill has already been signed.  If you have a potential case, there will be a two-year statute of limitations.  Call our lawyers today if you believe you may want to bring a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

June 13, 2022 Update – Rubio on Board

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to pass the cloture motion on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This will limit debate and fast-track the final approval process for the Act, which is now part of the larger Honoring Our Pact Act (HOPA).

Is this a guarantee that the Camp Lejeune Justice act will become law? No. But it is a very positive step in the right direction. Senator Patty Murray spoke for a few minutes on the Senate floor last week about the importance of finally bringing justice for Camp Lejeune victims. Her comments in favor of passing the HOPA echo those made by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. So we have senators on both sides of the aisle stepping up for veterans.

June 9, 2022 Update – Kidney Cancer Lawsuit

While many victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination await the passage of new federal law giving them the ability to sue, other former Lejeune residents are pursuing alternative claims.

Last month, a former Marine and Camp Lejeune resident, James Hart, filed a PFAS water contamination lawsuit against manufacturers of AFFF (firefighting foam). Hart was stationed at Lejeune in the 1970s and his lawsuit claims that the use of firefighting foam on the base caused PFAS contamination in the water at more than 2,400 times the maximum safe limit. Hart claims he developed kidney cancer in 2017 because of his exposure to PFAS.

June 8, 2022 Update – Progress on CLJA

Passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), the new federal law that will give victims the right to sue and bring a water contamination Camp Lejeune lawsuit has stalled temporarily in the Senate.

Back in early March, the CLJA was passed (as part of a larger law) by a solid majority in the House of Representatives. The law was introduced in the Senate last month and it initially appeared to be on the fast track to passage, with vocal support from both sides of the aisle. The recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has derailed that progress as the Senate has shifted its focus almost entirely on enacting new gun control laws.

The CLJA and other laws on the table have been put aside for the time being.  Our Camp Lejeune lawyers believe this delay is temporary and the Senate will pass this bill this summer. Many are asking if the Camp Lejenue lawsuit is real seeing all of this back and forth.  It is real.

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