We have been updating victims on Camp Lejeune since this litigation started.
- Get 2023 Lejeune news and information
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.
A 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 20, 2022 – Our Law Firm’s Water Contamination Clients
What are the most common Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits?
This is a list of our law firm’s Camp Lejeune lawsuits ranked by how many cases we have for each injury or sickness.
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Lung Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Bladder Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Multiple Myeloma
- Colorectal Cancer
- Other Cancer
- Brain Cancer
- End State Renal Disease
- Renal Toxicity
- Birth Defects
- Aplastic Anemia
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Soft Tissue Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Cardiac Defects
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:
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.