Today, President Biden enacted H.R. 3967, a bipartisan Act crafted to improve health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances, such as in the water contamination crisis at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Section 804 of the Act, cited as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, states that individuals who resided, worked, or were otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) may bring an action to obtain appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina suffered a tainted water supply from 1953 to 1987. U.S. Marine Corp (USMC) service members and their families residing and working on the base were exposed to toxic chemicals at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times the levels permitted by safety standards, resulting in a wide array of serious diseases. As many as one million people have been impacted by this water crisis.
Key Elements of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides for medical care and compensation to those affected by the contaminated water supply and establishes a fund for the clean-up of the camp. The Act removes the barriers of immunity under the Feres Doctrine which precludes service members from filing suit based on injuries incident to his/her service and North Carolina’s statute of limitations. Those affected must provide sufficient evidence to show the contaminated water more likely than not caused or contributed to the cause of the harm.
Qualifications for Claims
- Stationed at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1953 and December 1987
- Diagnosed with any of the following diseases
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hepatic steatosis
- Female infertility
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
- Renal toxicity
- Neurobehavioral effects
Morris James will work with your medical providers and other experts in the field to determine the causal relationship between your illness and the contaminated water. A claim will be made on your behalf to the U.S. Government Tort Claim Unit (TCU). The TCU will have 180 days from the date the claim is properly presented to investigate, attempt to settle or deny the claim. If a lawsuit is required in your case, it will be brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.