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Camp LeJeune Lawsuits at a Crawl as More Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed

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Camp LeJeune lawsuits are proceeding so slowly that time is running out for some veterans, so much so that many cases have turned into Camp LeJeune wrongful death lawsuits.

Santa Clara, CACovering up contaminated water at Camp LeJeune has been called a “crime against humanity” but with the passing of the PACT Act, the Marine Corps had a chance to make things right, to compensate its veterans and civilians who were exposed to the toxic water. But to make matters worse than they already are, countless victims are still waiting for relief. One year after the act  was passed, not one of more than 75,000 claims filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act has been settled.

Camp LeJeune Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Time is running out for too many people with cancer and other life-threatening health issues. So much so that attorneys are filing wrongful death lawsuits against the Department of the Navy (DON). One veteran with Parkinson’s disease told CNN that more than a decade had passed between his diagnosis and realizing it is connected with Lejeune—after he received in the mail a health questionnaire from the Marine Corps. CNN also reported that one law firm estimates 20 percent of their cases are now wrongful death lawsuits, including some claims that began as wrongful death suits. 

According to CNN, many plaintiffs have passed away from Camp LeJeune’s contaminated water diseases while waiting for the cases to be heard. Cpl. Daniel Thomas Clark, age 63, died from kidney and lung cancer. Civilian Shelby Jean Sholar Hunter succumbed to breast cancer. One day later, 78-year-old Cpl. Alfred Eugene Benson died from bladder cancer and kidney failure. Mike Partain, a male breast cancer survivor who was born at Camp Lejeune, told CBS News that he knows over 130 men “that have the single commonality of exposure to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and male breast cancer…so many men came forward they made a calendar to help raise awareness, but not everyone is alive today.”

CBS News was at the forefront of raising awareness. Its Emmy-nominated investigative series "Decades of Exposure" interviewed in 2022 a Marine who was based at LeJeune: his child allegedly died from poisoned water. CBS also visited the graves of babies at LeJeune.

Deny, Deny, Deny…

In mid- May, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate sent a letter to the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding an update on settlements and asking why claims are taking so long to resolve. After all, the government has already admitted fault to veterans and civilians diagnosed with serious health issues, including Parkinson’s disease and cancer. “Further delay is unacceptable, and it is critically important that JAG and DOJ move quickly to adjudicate or settle these cases in a transparent, efficient manner. Anything less is an injustice,” according to the report.

Mike Partain told CBS News that, with no settlement from the Navy in sight, he and about 1,100 other potential victims have sued the U.S. government in North Carolina. In response, Justice Department lawyers said, "To the extent that the evidence shows that Plaintiff voluntarily assumed the risks of the occasion, any recovery is barred by Plaintiff's assumption of risk." Environmental advocate Erin Brockovich, who has been working with the Camp Lejeune families since 2007, calls their response a delay tactic.
"Very classic behavior that I've seen in the law in every single environmental case, uh, deny, deny, deny, deny," Brockovich told CBS.

LeJeune Litigation Update

Navy Public Affairs Officer Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Keiley said in an email on August 13 to CNN that the DON “ remains committed to addressing the claims of our Service Members, civilian employees, their families, and others who may have been harmed by exposure to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune,” but not one case has gone to trial.

CBS News contacted the DOJ and Navy last month. A Justice Department spokesperson declined it offer of an on-camera interview but provided the following statement: "Alongside our partners at the Department of Navy, we are working to develop a framework that will allow for early resolution of Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims. This framework will offer claimants a voluntary option to resolve their claims efficiently if they choose to take advantage of it. The framework will provide an alternative to the normal administrative claims process or litigation so that those impacted can quickly receive relief."

Federal judges in North Carolina selected a panel of lawyers to represent plaintiffs in what is expected to be one of the largest mass litigations in U.S. history. The court has noted that it would take more than 1,900 years to hold trial in each Camp Lejeune lawsuit, and Judge Dever has urged the federal government and lawyers to work toward a quick resolution and settlement for claims, according to a report published this month by the American Homefront Project, an independent media initiative that reports on the status and conditions of military veterans in the U.S.

Despite the Camp Lejeune Justice Act being passed and despite the Navy admitting guild, the law does not include any automatic right to settlement benefits for veterans and their family members. According to Veterans Affairs, each claimant is still required to file a lawsuit and establish that they were exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 31, 1987. It is also necessary that they present expert testimony or support to establish that there is a causal relationship between the Camp Lejeune water and injury, or that such a relationship is at least as likely as not.


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If you or a loved one have suffered losses in a similar case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an environmental lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.


Posted by

This is a big mess. My guess is that ultimately they will do what they did with all the agent orange on Okinawa; dig a hole and bury it!

Posted by

I am involved in the CLJA lawsuit as a retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class assigned to 6th Marine Regiment, 8th Marine Regiment and 24th MAU from 1983 until December 1986. I developed Lung Cancer, cardiac issues, Pulmonary and Respiratory issues, an Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm, Prostate Cancer Issues, along with Sleep Apnea, COPD, Emphysema, High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol. I went with Napoli Skolnick as my attorney. Still waiting to have my case heard. The DOJ and DON along with the attorneys have created an Elective Option that leaves many veterans without a quick resolution to the lawsuit. Their requirement of date of last exposure to date of diagnosis is fraudulent seeing how I was diagnosed before their end date of August 10, 2022. I don’t fall into the 2-35 year category and neither do a lot of other veterans and their families. We are not being represented fairly.


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