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Camp Lejeune Justice Act Confronts an American Tragedy

Gerald R. Stahl Aug. 26, 2022

The Law Office of Gerald R. Stahl is committed to seeking Justice for the victims of the Camp Lejeune disaster. It is hard to fathom those American service men, civilians, and their families were unknowingly exposed to toxic drinking water for over 3 decades.  

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act would allow those exposed to water contamination at the base for at least 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, to file a claim in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Northern Carolina. Anybody who served in the United States Marine Corps, and went for combat training, probably went to Camp Lejeune.  

The 5 Main Requirements to File a Camp Lejeune Justice Act Case  

  1. Must be exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune for at least 30 days during the years between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 

  1. A claimant must have a verified condition related to the contaminated drinking water exposure at Camp Lejeune. Some of the examples of the medical conditions include cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, infertility, miscarriages and other serious medical problems. Numerous cancers. 

  1. Exclusive jurisdiction and venue will be The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. 

  1. Filing within 2 years is required. Also, before filing Camp Lejeune water contamination Lawsuit an individual must exhaust the required administrative remedies. If you receive an individual denial, he or she has 180 days to file in court. 

  1. A claimant must meet the required burden of proof. The burden of proof is either sufficient evidence to conclude a casual relationship exists, or sufficient evidence to conclude that a casual relationship at least as likely as not.  

The toxic chemicals included trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, benzene and others.  Camp Lejeune increased the risk of certain cancers, adverse birth outcomes and many other serious helth problems according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)

The result of drinking and washing in this poisonous water was death, long term illness and suffering of American veterans and civilians. The contaminated water caused cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, infertility, miscarriages and other serious conditions 

I recently had a client from Grand Rapids, Michigan that called with a tragic Camp Lejeune story.  My client’s father was on the base for 2 years and lived in family housing. His mother was pregnant with him at the time. The unborn child and the parents were exposed to the toxic water. Both his parents died of cancer. 

The Camp Lejeune disaster also had a devastating impact on babies. Hundreds of babies died many of them still born. They even have a cemetery down near the Camp revealing the amount of baby deaths.  

Many organizations including veteran’s organizations have been fighting for Justice for the Camp Lejeune victims for years. Finally the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed by the House and now passed by the Senate. 

The Marine Corps first discovered specific volatile organic compounds in the drinking water generated by treatment plants on base in 1982. Three of the plants had historically supplied finished water to the majority of family housing units and were found to contain links to kidney cancer, multiple myeloma and various leukemias to water contamination at Camp Lejeune. 

How Will These Cases Be Ultimately Resolved? 

Another question concerns how to logistically deal with the massive number of victims that were subjected to the toxic water. Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base is the major combat training hub for the Marines. Consequently thousands of Marines over a 3 decade plus period were exposed to these toxic waters. The claimant will have to go through a process of administrative review with the Government after submitting a claim. If the government decides to deny a claim, then the remedy will be to file a claim in the Eastern District of North Carolina under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  

How Long Will It Take to Get a Case Resolved that Is in Litigation? 

It is impossible to determine how the government will deal with the massive volume of litigation if they decide to deny claims on technicalities or medical expert disputes. For instance, the claimant’s expert contends that the client’s illness was caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. However, the government claims that since the illness is not listed on its known illnesses they will not pay the claim. Situations like this could create a backlog in the settlement process as well as a claimant’s right to a trial within a reasonable time.  

What Amount of Money Will the Government Offer for the Death of a Victim? 

The question I raise is what is the value of a life cut short by cancer? What is the value of a stillborn baby? Are life expectancy’s going to be taken into account? The hope is that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will help right the wrongs that have been caused to the veterans and their families. Obviously, there is no amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a loved one.  

There is satisfaction in holding the Government accountable. The passing of this Act will make the Government and the public more aware of the obligations not only to the environment but also to veterans and their families.   

If you or a family member was stationed or lived at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base during the period of time from 1953 to 1987, call Gerald R. Stahl or consult The Law Office of Gerald R. Stahl will fight for the victims of the Camp Lejeune disaster. 

Gerald R. Stahl 

Attorney at Law 

217 East 24th Street, Suite 102 

Holland, MI 49423 

(616) 426-6794