Camp Lejeune began as a Marine training facility in 1941 and remains as such today. The strategic location between two deep-water ports between Morehead City and Wilmington and its 14 miles of coastline have allowed Camp Lejeune to become the prominent location for amphibious assault training and fast deployment. Because of its reputation, there have been an abundance of Marine personnel, veterans, service and family members who have passed through Camp Lejeune over the past 80+ years.
The legal team of Dickerson Oxton wants to advise Missouri’s Marine veterans, service, and family members stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 of their legal position to be compensated for their exposure to contaminated water.
The Water Contamination Issue
The improper disposal of industrial solvents affected the water treatment plants servicing the housing for service members (both married and unmarried), schools, administration offices, recreational areas and the base hospital. It has been stipulated that contamination began in 1953, and the hazardous solvents were generated from operations on-base and off-site.
However, it was not until 1982 that these volatile chemical compounds were discovered. Although the wells were ordered to be shut down in the early 1980s, the wells were brought back online in violation of this order. The water treatment plants were permanently closed in 1987.
The service and family members were exposed to the chemical compounds through direct contact of drinking, bathing, washing and cooking.
The Effects of Water Contamination
The volatile chemical compounds within the water system at Camp Lejeune are carcinogens with toxic effects by touch or ingestion. Those who have been exposed to these compounds have an elevated risk of developing cancer, chronic illnesses and birth defects. The types of cancers include breast and ovarian. The cancers and illnesses associated with these toxins are not specific to age, gender or to the unborn.
The Justice Act of 2021
Although the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 failed, the Act was renewed as a part of the PACT Act signed into law on August 10, 2022. Any Federal immunities that were in place prior to the Act were stripped making it easier for veterans, service and family members to receive relief.
Although there is no right to a jury trial under Federal torts claims, and the government will not admit to any liability or wrongdoing, there is no requirement for proof of negligence by those exposed. The compensation received by the exposed military and family members is known as strict liability relief.
The Contamination Suit
To initiate a claim, veterans, service and family members must file individual claims under the Justice Act. These individual claims will be consolidated with other claims in a mass tort. The claims will be heard en masse in a Federal court in Eastern North Carolina.
It will be important for those with a potential claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to seek a personal injury attorney with the experience and the expertise to handle mass tort claims at the Federal level. For potential claims under the Act, there is a prerequisite of at least 30 days’ exposure by either living or working at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and any claim must be associated with a condition that is linked to the toxins.
The statute of limitations to file under the Justice Act is 2 years from the passing of the Act into law, or by August 10, 2024.
The legal team of Dickerson Oxton want the Missouri Marine veterans, service and family members to know their rights for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and to be in a position to collect the relief for which they are entitled.