Our lawyers represent victims seeking to file a Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease lawsuit in all 50 states.
This post examines the evidence linking Parkinson’s disease to the Camp Lejeune water supply. We discuss the potential settlement amounts for a Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease lawsuit. Our lawyers believe the average per-person settlement payouts for Parkinson’s disease from Lejeune cases could exceed $1 million. We explain our thinking – with the appropriate caveats – below.
If you have a potential Parkinson’s disease claim after spending 30 days at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987, call our legal team today at 800-553-8082 or get a free online no-obligation consultation.
New 2023 Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease Study
The evidence linking Parkinson’s disease to the water at Camp Lejeune continues to come in. A new study published in JAMA Neurology on May 15, 2023, indicates a 70% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease for individuals exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE). This study is reportedly the first of its kind to establish a significant link between TCE, a pervasive liquid chemical present in air, water, and soil, and Parkinson’s disease. This study alone provides all the scientific evidence you need for a Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease lawsuit.
The research team examined the incidence of Parkinson’s disease among around 160,000 Navy and Marine veterans, over half of whom served at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a location notorious for TCE-induced water contamination. The remaining participants were from Camp Pendleton in California, where water contamination did not occur. The service members spent at least three months in these camps between 1975 and 1985, a period when TCE levels in the water at Camp Lejeune exceeded maximum safety limits by 70 times.
The researchers accessed health data from 1997 to 2021 for the service members, a period when the development of Parkinson’s disease could be expected. Their analysis revealed that 430 veterans had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Veterans from Camp Lejeune were found to have a 70% higher risk compared to those from Camp Pendleton.
In addition to a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease, the researchers observed a higher prevalence of prodromal Parkinson’s symptoms among the Camp Lejeune veterans. These symptoms, which include loss of sense of smell, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD), anxiety, depression, and constipation, can be early signs of Parkinson’s, although only a small percentage of individuals displaying them will develop the disease.
New March 2023 Study on Parkinson’s and Contaminated Water
We have been saying the Camp Lejeune lawsuits will turbocharge the medical literature linking Parkinson’s and water contamination. A new study suggests that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning and degreasing metal, could increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by a factor of five. That is a five times greater risk. Which is stunning.
As discussed below, TCE is a solvent used for metal degreasing, decaffeinating coffee, and dry cleaning and has been in commercial production since the 1920s. TCE is known to cause cancer, increase the chances of miscarriage, contribute to birth defects, and is linked to various diseases in almost every organ system. In particular to Camp Lejeune, the authors note an alarming number of anencephaly and spina bifida cases in newborns.
Brian Grant’s Case
One of the illustrative cases the authors of this University of Rochester Medical Center in New York study used was a former NBA basketball player. While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Brian Grant first noticed symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. He realized that he could no longer jump off his left leg and sometimes experienced leg weakness. The following season, he developed a tremor in his left hand, and two years later, he was diagnosed with PD .
The authors speculate that that Mr. Grant’s exposure to TCE at Camp Lejeune may have contributed to his Parkinson’s. When he was three years old, his father, a Marine at the time, was stationed at the base when TCE levels in the water peaked. Mr. Grant and his family lived in a trailer park on a dirt road and were unaware of the toxic nature of the contaminated water. He enjoyed living on the base and even explored its fighter planes, drinking, bathing, and swimming in the contaminated water.
It took about three decades after leaving Camp Lejeune for Mr. Grant’s Parkinson’s disease to become apparent, and no one else in his large family has had the disease. However, his younger brother, who was born on the base, experienced disabling allergies that resolved only after they moved away. In March 2020, Mr. Grant’s father passed away at age 65 from esophageal cancer, which is linked to TCE exposure.
The solution, the authors tell us, is to ban TCE, which would be wise. But this is far too late for Camp Lejeune victims.
March 2023 Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit Update
Our lawyers are surprised by the number of Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease clients we have. Our law firm has more Parkinson’s disease-contaminated water claims than any other type of lawsuit. We have far more than we would have projected just by looking at the Camp Pendleton/Camp Lejeune data we talk about below. Either our firm appeals specifically to Parkinson’s disease victims and their families, or the data was skewed that suggested how many Parkinson’s claims there would be.
As we turn into the new year, we continue to believe that many Parkinson’s disease Camp Lejeune lawsuits will see settlement amounts of over $1 million. The average settlement could even be that high. This is a significant number in a mass tort case. But we think the average Parkinson’s disease settlement may have the highest settlement payout of any injury in this litigation. Parkinson’s is an awful condition, and the link to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is solid.
Toxic Water Causes Parkinson’s Disease
Our lawyers feel strongly that the toxic water at the USMC Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina caused thousands of people to develop Parkinson’s disease. As we all know, the water supply at Camp Lejeune was polluted with extremely high levels of industrial solvents for over three decades spanning from the early 1950s to 1987.
Following the discovery of this contamination, the federal government has directed several public health agencies to study and evaluate the impact of this contamination on the long-term health of Camp Lejeune residents and employees.
Studies Link Parkinson’s Disease to Toxins
These studies have recently concluded that Parkinson’s disease is one of the long-term health conditions that may have been caused by exposure to the chemicals in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune.
Camp Lejeune Toxic Settlement Amounts
Cancers Linked to Camp Lejeune
History of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune is a major Marine Corps base in North Carolina that has been in use since World War II. From 1953 through 1987, the water supplied to Camp Lejeune was tainted with dangerous levels of toxic chemicals.
During this period, the two primary contaminants in the Lejeune drinking water supply were perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Benzene was also named as an additional chemical in the water at Lejeune.
PCE and TCE are potent chemicals used as solvents in various industries, including dry cleaning and cleaning of metal weapons and equipment. The levels of PCE and TCE in the Camp Lejeune water system were several thousand times higher than the maximum safe limits set by public health agencies.
Later studies into the contamination have estimated that over 1 million people (including former Marines, their families, and civilian employees) were exposed to the Camp Lejeune water over the years.
Parkinson’s Disease impacts approximately 1% of the United States population above 55. The risk of Parkinson’s increases with age. The average age of onset is around 61 years old. The average duration of the disease is about 13 years. Many Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease cases our lawyers are reviewing are wrongful death claims because the parent or spouse was eventually lost to Parkinson’s or secondary conditions.
Identifiable risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include male gender, heredity/family history, exposure to Paraquat, and head injuries. But toxins and well water are also strong risk factors. Exposure to industrial chemicals, toxins, compounds, and solvents has long been a known risk factor for Parkinson’s.
VA Review of Evidence on Health Impact of Camp Lejeune Water
Originally, Parkinson’s disease – and multiple myeloma, end-stage renal disease, and scleroderma – were not included on the list of diseases presumptively associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. The government thought there was insufficient evidence for causation because they did not yet fully understand the neurobehavioral effects of Camp Lejeune contaminated water.
Instead, the ATSDR conclusions waffled and said there was a “least as likely as not” level of causation. For these conditions, the ATSDR conclusions waffled and suggested maybe there was a connection between exposure and disease but would not conclude causation based on available research.
But that changed. In 2012, Congress passed a new law directing the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to provide special health benefits to former Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base residentsDepartment of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to provide special health benefits to former residents of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base. These special additional benefits were intended for treatment related to medical conditions and diseases that these veterans may have developed from exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
To help the VA administer these benefits, determining what diseases and health conditions were potentially related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination became necessary. To identify what diseases were linked to the Lejeune water, a special panel of experts was formed and called the Committee on the Review of Clinical Guidance for the Care of Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation (the “VA Committee”).
The VA Committee comprised leading experts in the relevant medical and scientific fields. The VA Committee was tasked with doing a comprehensive review of all the available scientific studies and research regarding the health impact of exposure to chemical solvents in the Camp Lejeune Water supply. Based on this review, the VA Committee determined what specific diseases and health conditions could be linked to the Camp Lejeune water supply based on reliable evidence.
The National Academies Press in March 2016 eventually published the research and conclusions of the VA Committee. The findings of the VA Committee were based on previous Camp Lejeune studies, including those performed by the ATSDR and newer studies performed by private researchers.
So for disability compensation, VA amended its final rule – 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.307, 3.309 – in 2017 to establish a presumption of service connection for Camp Lejeune veterans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
VA Committee Concludes Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Camp Lejeune Water
So one of the most significant conclusions made by the VA Committee was that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Parkinson’s disease may be associated with exposure to the water at Lejeune. The VA Committee made this conclusion based on evidence from four different sources, which included the ATSDR mortality studies:
The committee finds that TCE and similar solvents may have potential etiologic relevance in the development of Parkinson’s disease. The committee concludes that Parkinson’s disease is a neurobehavioral effect that may have resulted from consuming the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. This conclusion is based on the positive trends of increased risks from occupational and drinking water exposures reported by Goldman et al. (2012), NRC (2009), and Bove et al. (2014b). … [T]he committee recommends including Parkinson’s disease as an outcome associated with exposure to TCE and PCE.
The VA Committee finding from 2015 continues to reflect the scientific consensus regarding the connection between Parkinson’s disease and Camp Lejeune.
Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease Claims Under New Federal Law
For many years, the victims of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune have been blocked from bringing civil lawsuits and getting compensation for their injuries. These Camp Lejeune tort lawsuits have been dismissed under a North Carolina law called a statute of repose. However, Congress is on the verge of passing a new law that will give Camp Lejeune victims the right to bring claims for their injuries.
Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) was merged into a larger bill called the Honoring Our Pact Act and signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022. The CLJA gives Camp Lejeune victims a 2-year window to file tort claims for injuries related to the water contamination.
The law explicitly prevents the use of the North Carolina statute of repose to dismiss these cases. Plaintiffs will still need to prove their claims, but the CLJA adopts a lowered standard of proof which states that causation can be established if the scientific evidence on both sides of the debate is essentially equal.
The Parkinson’s Disease Link Is Clear
The report from the VA Committee identifies multiple studies indicating that Parkinson’s disease may be linked to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The most robust evidence cited by the VA Committee is a 2012 study entitled Solvent exposures and Parkinson’s disease risk in twins, Annals of Neurology 2012;71(6):776-784 (the “Goldman Study”). The Goldman Study found that occupational exposure to the chemical solvents in the Lejeune water supply (TCE and PCE) were “associated with a significantly increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.”
The Goldman Study found that individuals with long-term occupational exposure to TCE were six times more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease than those without TCE exposure. The evidence was even stronger for PCE. Exposure to PCE made individuals ten times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The Goldman Study also found evidence indicating that the duration of exposure to TCE or PCE was a critical factor in developing Parkinson’s disease.
The VA Committee findings and the Goldman Study could potentially be enough to establish causation in a Camp Lejeune claim involving Parkinson’s disease, at least under the lowered standard of proof established by the CLJA.
Latest Research on the Link Between Parkinson’s Disease and Camp Lejeune
The primary toxic chemicals in the Camp Lejeune water were the chlorinated solvents TCE and PCE. The scientific and medical evidence establishing a causal relationship between chemical solvents and Parkinson’s disease has advanced significantly over the last decade.
In the early 2000s, Camp Lejeune water contamination’s neurological effects were poorly understood. Many scientists strongly suspected chronic exposure to chemical solvents (particularly TCE) might cause early onset Parkinson’s disease. There were even a handful of early clinical studies that supported this connection. However, the link between Parkinson’s disease and chemical solvents like TCE remained inconclusive until a wave of new research emerged.
Two very recent studies have shown how chronic TCE exposure leads to Parkinson’s disease and other neurologic disorders.
A study published in the June 2021 issue of the medical journal Neurobiology of Disease reported on the results of animal testing on the effects of TCE exposure. The study found that rats subjected to chronic TCE exposure displayed chemical changes and reactions in their brains that are known to be associated with Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, the study noted that TCE exposure caused elevated LRRK2 kinase activity and dopaminergic neurodegeneration.
Another study entitled Trichloroethylene, a ubiquitous environmental contaminant in the risk for Parkinson’s disease, was published in March 2020 in the journal Environmental Science. Processes & Impacts. These researchers reviewed the specific neurotoxic mechanisms of TCE in the context of selective vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons and made similar conclusions about the TCE link to Parkinson’s disease.
Ongoing Studies on TCE and Parkinson’s Disease
The scientific research on the connection between exposure to TCE and Parkinson’s disease continues. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is funding a major study called the Bay Area Solvent Study – Symptoms (BASS-S). This long-term study will assess the impact of auto mechanics in the San Francisco bay area with long-term occupational exposure to TCE and other solvents.
What Settlement Amounts Should Parkinson's Disease Victims Expect in a Camp Lejeune Settlement?
In our view, Camp Lejeune cases involving Parkinson’s disease will have a settlement value between $1 million and $1.3 million. We have increased our settlement estimate twice since this litigation, with the most recent update in January 2023. Our lawyers base these projections on various factors, including the expected compensation in Camp Lejeune lawsuits and settlement payouts in other cases involving Parkinson’s disease or similar injuries.
Our attorneys updated these settlement compensation payout predictions on January 6, 2023, to revise these projections upward, reflecting how strong our law firm believes Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease lawsuits to be.
But, let’s talk about some important caveats. When lawyers project settlement amounts this early in the litigation – as we did here – be skeptical. No one has criticized our settlement amount projections. But if someone were to criticize us, they would likely say it is too early to say what the average settlement payout for Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will be.
They would be right. And our lawyers could be way off on this projection. But victims and their families are not children – they understand that these are not settlement payout amounts but PROJECTED settlement amounts.
A civil lawsuit – every civil lawsuit – is about money. So we want to include you in our thoughts on what our attorneys estimate settlement compensation payouts could look like. We will revise these settlement compensation predictions throughout the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit as necessary.
When Will the Camp Lejeune Parkinson's Disease Lawsuits Settle?
Our lawyers believe the JAG will want offer reasonable settlement compensation payouts early for the Camp Lejeune lawsuits that could lead to a large verdict and for injuries that are strongly linked to contaminated water. Parkinson’s disease fits both criteria. Parkinson’s cases will have among the highest, if not the highest, average settlement values, and the disease is strongly linked to the contaminated water at Lejeune.
So we could see large numbers of Parkinson’s disease claims resolving high settlement amounts in the six-month administrative window when a demand is made on the Navy for settlement.
Example Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit
An example of a recently filed Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s disease lawsuit is Cline, et al. v. United States (7:22-cv-141). The case was filed by two plaintiffs who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The Complaint filed in the Cline case adopts the minimal pleading style, which means it contains only those facts necessary to set forth the cause of action and nothing more. As a result, it does not provide very specific or detailed information about how long the plaintiffs were at Camp Lejeune, where they lived, or whether they were servicemembers, family, or employees.
Instead, the Complaint simply states that each plaintiff, Sandra Cline and Mark Perry, lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 1 month between August 1953 and December 1987. The Complaint further alleges that during this time, the plaintiffs were exposed to toxic chemicals in the water, including TCE, PCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Finally, the Complaint alleges that at some point after her time at Lejeune Sandra Cline was diagnosed with “Parkinson’s disease and neurologic disorders.” Plaintiff Mark Perry was similarly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Causation in Parkinson’s Disease Cases
Parkinson’s disease is identified as one of the handful of diseases that the VA has classified as presumptively connected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This means there is strong and compelling scientific evidence of an association between the toxic Camp Lejeune water and higher rates of Parkinson’s.
Under the lower equipoise causation standard adopted by the CLJA, it will be challenging for the government to oppose causation in cases involving “presumptive” Camp Lejeune diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Lejeune Legacy Cases
The Cline case was one of many Camp Lejeune lawsuits immediately filed when the CLJA was passed on August 10, 2022. These cases are referred to as “legacy cases” because they were Camp Lejeune cases initially filed years ago, only to be dismissed in 2016 based on the application of North Carolina law. Since the plaintiffs in these lawsuits already submitted administrative claims before filing the first time, they were eligible to re-file immediately after submitting a new claim.
Wrongful Death Claims Allowed Under the CLJA
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune began back in the 1950s and ended 35 years ago. This means that many victims who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period have already passed away, either from old age or from diseases caused by the toxic water.
Fortunately, the CLJA allows family members of Camp Lejeune victims who are now deceased to bring wrongful death claims on their behalf. If someone in your family lived or worked at Camp Lejeune and has already died, you may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf and get compensation from the government for their exposure to the toxic water. The CLJA does not impose any time limit on the date of death, so even if your relative died years or decades ago, you can still bring a case on their behalf.
To have the standing to bring a Camp Lejeune wrongful death case on behalf of a deceased relative, you will need to be the executor of their estate. The executor of the estate (sometimes referred to as the “personal representative”) is the person with legal authority to act on behalf of an estate. The executor is usually a member of the decedent’s immediate family (e.g., a surviving spouse or child). If you are not the executor or the estate is no longer open and the executor is unavailable, our lawyers can help you resolve this.
Parkinson’s Disease Wrongful Death Claims Under the CLJA
Parkinson’s disease is a severe condition that can reduce life expectancy. Even if the disease does not result in death, its associated symptoms can lead to various complications that can be fatal. In addition, Parkinson’s disease usually develops later in life. The average age of onset for Parkinson’s is 60. This means that few Camp Lejeune victims who developed Parkinson’s disease from exposure to the toxic water are still around to file lawsuits.
The family members of Camp Lejeune victims who developed Parkinson’s disease and subsequently passed away can still get compensation under the new law. The executor of the decedent’s estate can bring a Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased victim.
A wrongful death lawsuit under the CLJA can be brought regardless of whether the decedent died from Parkinson’s disease or something else. Even if Parkinson’s did not cause the victim’s death, they are still entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the disease during their lifetime.
Contact Us About a Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Disease Lawsuit
If you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, contact our office today to see if you may be eligible to file a claim.
Contact our Camp Lejeune lawyers today. We provide free consultations. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free, no-obligation online consultation. Our attorneys only get paid if you do.