Congress Passes Camp LeJeune Justice Act as Part of Honoring Our Pact Act, Paving Way for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Victims of Camp LeJeune water contamination may now sue for compensation, after the US Senate passed the Honoring Our Pact Act on June 17, 2022. The bill includes in its text the Camp LeJeune Justice Act provisions that will permit Camp LeJeune water contamination lawsuits to be brought forth by victims seeking compensation for injuries.

The White House released a formal statement the same day, commending lawmakers for their overwhelming support of the law, as the bill passed the senate by a vote of 84-13.

The new law “will offer critical support to survivors who were harmed by exposures, including from water contamination at Camp LeJeune,” President Joe Biden said in the statement released by the White House. “Importantly, the bill includes the tools and resources to ensure that the VA can effectively implement it.”

The Camp LeJeune Justice Act and the larger Honoring Our Pact Act were initially passed by the US House of Representatives in early March.

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Find a Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Lawyer

If you would like to file a claim for compensation after experiencing illness or disease due to Camp LeJeune water contamination, you can now file a Camp LeJeune water contamination claim with the experienced mass tort attorneys at Singleton Schreiber.

Our team of expert environmental and toxic tort lawyers pride themselves on going after corporate and government bullies, and standing up for everyday people when these institutions take advantage of them.

A History of Water Contamination at Camp LeJeune

Beginning in 1953 until 1987, the public water supply at Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina was contaminated with toxic chemicals. During the course of those 34 years, more than one million soldiers were affected by this polluted water supply.

These soldiers and their families drank and bathed in the contaminated water at Camp LeJeune, and consequently, thousands of Marines and their loved ones have contracted severe illnesses, and many have died as a result.

Furthermore, evidence has linked chronic exposure to the toxins in the Camp LeJeune water supply with increased rates of cancer and birth defects, including various in utero injuries.

Diseases caused by water contamination at Camp LeJeune include the following types of cancer and many more:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Birth defects
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cardiac defects
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Lymphomas
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Scleroderma

Law Overturns 2014 Supreme Court Decision That Rejected New Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Claims

The June 2022 passing of the Honor the PACT Act overrides a 7-2 decision by the US Supreme Court in 2014, which held that North Carolina’s 10-year “statute of repose” could bar those exposed to water contamination from suing after the statute has passed, even if they weren’t aware of the contamination until after that point.

The new law also goes much further than the 2012 Janey Ensminger Act, which authorized the U.S government to pay for the costs of medical care to family members who were harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

The Ensminger Act excluded soldiers’ families and placed other limitations on compensation that were not sufficient for the scope of injuries caused by the toxic chemicals in the water on the base.

Now, anyone who lived or worked at Camp LeJeune between 1953 and 1987 to file a toxic water claim to seek compensation for Camp LeJeune water contamination and any illnesses or diseases that occurred as a result.

There be a deadline to sue (likely two-years from the day the law was enacted), so it is important for anyone affected by the toxic water at Camp LeJeune to file a claim with a Camp LeJeune water contamination lawyer as soon as possible.

Volatile Organic Compounds

The chemicals causing most the damage to the water supply at Camp LeJeune are of a class of carcinogenic chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The most destructive of these are Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Tetrachloroethylene (PCE).

Typically, these chemicals are used for dry cleaning, so much of the contamination was thought to be caused by a dry cleaner that was near the base before it ever opened, meaning the hazard predates Camp LeJeune itself.

However, the same chemicals are used to clean military machinery and other things on the base as well, meaning the source of the contamination was both on and off of the base.

PCE and TCE Levels Were Off the Charts

PCE is the main culprit when it comes to causing the water contamination, injuries, and deaths to those at Camp LeJeune. It can target the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys. TCE is known to cross the placenta and cause birth defects.

In 1985, the peak level of PCE contamination to the Camp LeJeune water supply was more than 43 times the level that the EPA declared safe in drinking water (5 ug/L).

The EPA also lists the maximum safe level for TCE in drinking water at 5 parts per billion, while the Camp LeJeune water supply saw levels as high as 1,400 parts per billion — 280 times higher than the maximum safe amount.

Aside from PCE and TCE, other chemicals were also found in Camp LeJeune’s water supply, including mercury (which likely came from water pressure meters that were removed in the 1980s), vinyl chloride, and benzene.

How Long Did the Navy Know About Water Contamination at Camp LeJeune?

As early as the 1940s, the Navy would find evidence of TCE, PCE, and other toxic chemicals in the wells at Camp LeJeune. The water would be deemed not potable and the wells would be shut down or restricted. However, the underlying problem was never remedied.

In 1989, the EPA placed Camp LeJeune on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) National Priorities List for environmental cleanup. During this time, the Navy agreed to work with the EPA on environmental remediation efforts that are still continuing, more than 30 years later.

In previous Camp LeJeune water contamination lawsuits brought in the early 2000s, government experts contended that they believed the chlorinated solvents would evaporate or assimilate into the soil, and that they would not contaminate the water, which was simply not true.

Have You Been Affected by Camp LeJeune Water Contamination?

If you were exposed to Camp LeJeune contaminated water between 1953 and 1987, contact the government negligence lawyers at Singleton Schreiber to find out how you can receive compensation.

Camp LeJeune water contamination could have been responsible for any of the following conditions you may have contracted:

  •  Kidney Cancer,
  •  Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,
  •  Multiple Myeloma,
  •  Leukemia (all types),
  •  Liver Cancer,
  •  Bladder Cancer,
  •  Parkinson’s Disease,
  •  Kidney Disease,
  •  Systemic Sclerosis/scleroderma,
  •  Cardiac Defects,
  •  Pancreatic Cancer,
  •  Breast Cancer (male & female),
  •  Rectal Cancer,
  •  Prostate Cancer,
  •  Esophageal Cancer, and/or
  •  Brain/CNS Cancers
  •  Miscarriages
  •  Birth Defects

The Navy knew for decades that the water at Camp LeJeune was contaminated and putting the lives of marines and their loved ones at risk, but they did nothing. This is a serious breach of trust and safety, and they must be held accountable for their actions, or lack thereof.

With the recent passing of the Camp LeJeune Justice Act of 2022, all the victims of Camp LeJeune water contamination (including marines and their families) can finally seek the compensation they deserve.

Contact Singleton Schreiber today for a free case evaluation to find out how you can receive compensation for Camp LeJeune water contamination.


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