Camp Lejeune Litigation Updates 
Our website contains a lot of useful information for anyone living in Wisconsin who was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Here we will keep you up-to-date on the latest information concerning the August 10, 2022 Camp Lejeune Justice Act and provide answers to many of the questions we continue to receive.
IMPORTANT UPDATES ON YOUR WISCONSIN CAMP LEJEUNE WATER CONTAMINATION CLAIM
December 8, 2023:
Will Camp Lejeune victims be entitled to a jury trial
This is a continuation from yesterday’s post. The issue of whether Camp Lejeune victims will be entitled to a jury trial is of such importance that it deserves our attention.
Keep in mind that the DOJ is arguing that the CLJA is an extension of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The DOJ is arguing that the CLJA is an extension of the Federal Tort Claims Act and as such Congress did not intend Camp Lejeune victims to be entitled to have their cases heard by a jury. That is the substance of the DOJ’s motion currently pending before the Court.
The executive committee on behalf of the Camp Lejeune victims met this argument head-on. Yesterday we quoted from Representative Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania who was instrumental in passage of the CLJA. In addition to what we referenced in yesterday’s post, Representative Cartwright was critical of the DOJ’s characterization of the CLJA being an extension of the Federal Tort Claims Act:
“We were aware of how the Federal Tort Claims Act worked, through a bench trial, and we specifically rejected that model when we wrote the Act. Indeed it has always been our intent for this Act to stand separate and apart from the Federal Tort Claims Act in all respects. For these reasons we expressly included a provision in sub-section (d) of the Act confirming every plaintiff’s right to a jury trial. The Department of Justice is inexplicably reading this provision out of the statute.”
Representative Cartwright went on to be even more pointed in his disagreement with the DOJ:
“We are dismayed that the Department of Justice has taken this wrongheaded position, which flies in the face of everything Congress intended for those harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Those who have steadfastly defended our country rate no less than the rights they deserve as American citizens.”
Representative Cartwright remarks make clear that Congress’ intent in passing the CLJA was to give Camp Lejeune victims the right to have their case heard by a jury. It will be difficult for the DOJ to prevail on its motion arguing otherwise.
December 7, 2023:
Update on government’s motion to strike demand for a jury trial
As we reported in our November 22, 2023 post, the government filed a motion seeking to preclude Camp Lejeune victims from having their trials decided by a jury. The Plaintiff’s Executive Committee, for reasons explained in our earlier posts, filed a declaration with attachments opposing the government’s motion. One of the exhibits attached to the declaration opposing the government’s motion is a copy of the remarks of Representative Matt Cartwright. Representative Cartwright of Pennsylvania was instrumental in passage of the CLJA. In his remarks, Representative Cartwright states “Let this be understood to be our unequivocal expression of our intent, from the inception of the Bill through final passage and into enactment: The claimants who have suffered so intensely as a result of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune have the right to a trial by jury.”
These and other remarks by Representative Cartwright are powerful statements confirming that at all times the intent of Congress was for Camp Lejeune victims to have their cases decided by a jury.
We believe the government will eventually lose this motion.
December 4, 2023:
More cancers linked to Camp Lejeune?
It is reported in Reuters and elsewhere that according to a new, and currently unpublished, study from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry more types of cancer may be linked to Camp Lejeune than originally thought. The study found elevated cancer rates in service members and civilians who lived at Camp Lejeune and increased the number of cancers causally linked to the water.
What are the additional cancers linked to Camp Lejeune? We don’t know because the government has not released the results of the study. The results of the study are important to help Camp Lejeune victims with Tier 2 diseases and below prove that their disease is tied to the water at Camp Lejeune. Some Veterans claim that the ATSDR and CDC are blocking the study from being made public because it will increase the number of Camp Lejeune claims filed. Currently there are approximately 117,000 administrative claims filed under the CLJA
December 1, 2023:
Unwanted Camp Lejeune marketing still being received
Marketers continue to send unwanted Camp Lejeune marketing to Veterans and non-Veterans alike. We hear this from our clients and unsolicited email marketing is even being sent to our law firm. Most of this is from third-party marketers hoping to sell “Camp Lejeune leads” to law firms.
If you are receiving Camp Lejeune marketing emails, text messages and/or phone calls, our advice is to ignore them. If you believe you have a Camp Lejeune claim, or would just like your matter reviewed to see if you do have a claim, our advice is to contact a reputable law firm that is handling Camp Lejeune claims. Having your case reviewed by a reputable law firm will not cost you anything. You will come away with peace of mind knowing whether you have a claim for compensation under the CLJA. If you are not satisfied with the original opinion you receive, you should feel free to contact a second law firm.
November 28, 2023:
Why are both sides filing Pre-Trial Motions in the Camp Lejeune litigation
In our recent posts we have talked about both sides filing pre-trial motions in the CLJA litigation. The most recent motion was filed by the government requesting that the Court rule Camp Lejeune victims are not entitled to have their case heard and decided by a jury. This motion was recently filed and it will be vigorously opposed by the plaintiffs. Camp Lejeune victims should be entitled to have their case heard and decided by a jury of their peers rather than by the presiding Judge.
There will be additional pre-trial motions filed. Pre-Trial motions play an important role in future settlement discussions and in future trials. Pre-Trial motions involve issues critical to the CLJA litigation such as whether Camp Lejeune victims are entitled to a jury trial. Once the Court rules on each motion, the issues are narrowed and both sides know how these critical issues will be handled if the case goes to trial. As the Court rules on each issue, both sides are better able to evaluate each case which, in turn, promotes settlement and provides some degree of certainty on key issues going into trial if the case does not settle.
November 22, 2023:
Motion to Strike Jury Trial Demand
On November 20, 2023 the government filed a motion with the Court to strike plaintiffs’ jury trial demand. In plain terms, the government is arguing that the because the CLJA does not “explicitly” provide for trial by jury, Camp Lejeune victims are not entitled to have their case heard and decided by a jury. Instead, the government wants issues as to both liability and damages to be decided by the presiding Judge.
Why does the government want to avoid jury trials in the Camp Lejeune litigation? The answer is that the government recognizes that juries are likely to impose liability against the government and render large verdicts in cases that are tried. The government believes it will fare better if cases filed under the CLJA are tried to the Court rather than a jury.
This is an important motion. It affects not only cases going to trial but also future settlements. Future settlements are expected to be higher if the consequence of not settling means the government will have the case decided by a jury. We will keep you updated on this motion.
November 20, 2023:
Claims continue to be filed
More than 117,000 administrative claims have now been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The government reports that it is hiring many more Federal employees to handle the large number of claims filed. This appears to be a slow process and the government has not given us any indication where they are at in their hiring process. We have noted that it our most recent claims filed, the government is no longer sending an acknowledgement that the claim has been filed.
We still believe there are many more Camp Lejeune claims to be filed. This includes claims on behalf of the injured Veteran himself/herself as well as wrongful death claims pursued by a legal representative (surviving spouse or child) where the Veteran has passed away. The time for filing a claim under the CLJA will expire in August, 2024 and lawyers need time to properly investigate a claim before filing.
The bottom line is that if you were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and later developed cancer or other serious illness, you deserve to be compensated for all you have gone through due to no fault of your own. Our advice is that you contact a law firm you trust who is handling Camp Lejeune cases. We all work on a contingency fee basis which means you pay nothing unless there is a recovery. The worst that can happen is that the law firm concludes you do not have a case. You can then either accept that firm’s opinion or have your case reviewed by another firm.
November 13, 2023:
Who qualifies as a “legal representative” to bring a wrongful death claim under the CLJA
This is a question we, and top lawyers across the country, have been asking since the CLJA was enacted. Many Camp Lejeune Veterans who have a right to bring a claim under the CLJA passed away before the law was enacted. Many others filed a claim but have passed away before the government acted on their claim.
The CLJA allows a “legal representative” of a qualifying individual to bring a wrongful death action. The CLJA does not define who qualifies as a “legal representative” We believe that the plain meaning of “legal representative” means a Personal Representative or Special Administrator appointed by the Court in the state where the decedent passed away.
Unfortunately the government does not agree. The government has informed plaintiffs’ lawyers that it is taking the position that a person appointed Personal Representative outside of North Carolina (home state where the decedent passed away) does not qualify as a “legal representative” under the CLJA. The government’s position is that where a Special Administrator or Personal Representative has been appointed by a Court outside of North Carolina, an ancillary estate must also be opened in North Carolina State Court. This creates unnecessary expense and undue delay in those tragic cases where the victim of Camp Lejeune contaminated water has passed away.
It is important that this issue be resolved so that Camp Lejeune wrongful death cases can move forward. On November 9th a motion for partial summary judgment was filed asking the Court to rule that the daughter of a deceased Veteran who has been appointed Personal Representative in Missouri qualifies as a “legal representative” within the meaning of the CLJA. Once the Court rules on this motion it will give all CLJA wrongful death claimants guidance on who qualifies as a “legal representative” authorized to pursue a wrongful death claim.
November 9, 2023:
Update on Bellwether trials
We were just informed that the initial Bellwether trials are expected to be scheduled in March or April, 2024. Additional Judges are expected to be brought in to hear cases and multiple Bellwether trials may be proceeding at the same time in different locations.
Trials beginning in March or April, 2024 would be very early trial dates given the young age of this litigation and complexity of the claims. This is good news for all Camp Lejeune claimants. It is the certainty of a trial date that often motivates a defendant to begin making reasonable settlement offers. Early trial dates confirm what we told you before. We expect to see large-scale settlements in 2024.
November 7, 2023:
What is the latest news?
We were hoping for some news from this week’s status conference. However the status conference will be adjourned for a couple of weeks.
There is no breaking news in terms of settlement which is what everyone is interested in. However, there is work going on behind the scenes. Lawyers are meeting with the government to develop a framework for future settlements. We expect that initial settlements will be for some of the same illnesses set forth in the government’s Elective Option. These are the strongest cases under the CLJA and therefore the cases the government is most motivated to settle. However as we have said before, we do not expect there to be any large scale settlements until the Bellwether cases are established and trial dates are approaching. In the meantime that leaves only the Elective Option for those individuals who qualify and who wish to take a discounted settlement in exchange for early payment.
October 31, 2023:
Letters of Perfection being received slower than expected
After filing the initial administrative claim, the government will issue a Letter of Perfection when it has made a determination that the initial filing was properly made. It was expected that Letters of Perfection would be issued to the claimant’s attorney (or the claimant if unrepresented) within 6 months of the filing. That has not happened. It is generally taking longer than six months for the government to issue its Letter of Perfection. The time for issuance can differ significantly from case to case for no apparent reason.
The purpose of a Letter of Perfection is to let a claimant know that his/her administrative has been properly filed. It is not a guarantee that a settlement offer will be made. Because a claim is deemed denied if not acted upon by the government within six months of filing, it is not required that the claimant wait for a Letter of Perfection before filing a lawsuit. Six months from the date of filing of the administrative claim, anyone can file a lawsuit under the CLJA. However, without a Letter of Perfection the claimant runs the risk that the initial administrative claim is not properly filed.
October 27, 2023:
Latest Settlement Update
It is now being reported that the DON has offered settlements in at least 10 cases, with 6 of those clients accepting the offer. These settlement offers were all made under the Elective Option guidelines. We reported extensively on the Elective Option in our previous posts.
While long-awaited, this is certainly a step in the right direction. However, it is to be noted that we are not aware of any settlements, or settlement offers, made outside the Elective Option guidelines. We will keep you updated on this.
October 26, 2023:
Case Management Order #5
The U.S. District Judges presiding over the Camp Lejeune litigation have now signed Case Management Order (CMO) #5. CMO’s are interim orders from the Court to assist in moving the litigation forward in an efficient manner.
The Court’s latest CMO addresses issues such as privileged documents and how privileged documents will be addressed if inadvertently disclosed by a party. If there is a dispute as to whether document(s) are privileged, either party may submit the document(s) to the Court under seal for a ruling on the privileged claim.
While the Court’s latest CMO does not directly address issues surrounding settlement, CMO #5 does show that the Court is intent on moving these cases forward in an expeditious manner.
We will keep you up to date on future CMO’s from the Court.
October 25, 2023:
It is being reported that there have been three Camp Lejeune water contamination settlements. Unfortunately the settlements are said to be subject to a confidentiality agreement. We therefore have little information on the details of the settlements other than they are reported to be “substantial.”
If accurate this is slow but welcomed news. We will update you on information regarding Camp Lejeune settlements as that information becomes available
October 24, 2023:
Can I Opt-In to the Government’s Elective Settlement Option
Yesterday we were contacted by a former Marine from Massachusetts. He has been following our website updates and had a series of question. This Marine then asked if we could post these questions on our website to help others who may be looking for the same information.
The first question this former Marine asked was whether we are able to submit claims to the Department of the Navy for resolution under its Elective Option Settlement framework. Unfortunately for those interested in the EO, there is currently no procedure in place to allow claimants to opt-in to the EO. Instead, the current procedure is that after filing an administrative claim, the Department of the Navy will make a determination as to which claims potentially qualify for resolution under the EO. The Navy will then contact the attorney (or individual directly if unrepresented) to discuss whether the case can be resolved under the EO. The DON will ask for documentation establishing how long the claimant was exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and what the resulting illness is. Only one illness will be considered under the EO even if the claimant potentially sustained multiple illnesses as a result of exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
If the DON makes a determination that the claim qualifies for settlement under the EO, the Navy will then make a settlement offer based upon the type of illness and whether the Camp Lejeune victim was exposed to Camp Lejeune water for over five years, between 1 – 5 years or between 30 and 364 days. The longer the exposure, the more the government is willing to pay.
If a settlement is then made under the EO, Camp Lejeune victims will then decide whether he/she wants to take a “quick” settlement in exchange for what may be a lower settlement than if the case is not resolved under the EO.
The bottom line is that at the present time the EO framework does not allow a claimant or his/her attorney to affirmatively opt-in to the EO. Leadership for Camp Lejeune claimants will be meeting with the government to request that an opt-in procedure be established for those victims who wish to resolve their case under the EO. If an opt-in is established, this will greatly speed up the EO process.
October 19, 2023:
When will the first Camp Lejeune cases go to trial?
This is a question we often get from our clients. We hope to see trials set for 2024.
The Camp Lejeune litigation is moving forward as quickly as we can expect. Firm trial dates for the Bellwether trials will help get many other cases settled. Cases seldom settle with no trial dates set. Trial dates force both sides to seriously negotiate with one another in order to avoid trial. We expect to see some Camp Lejeune cases to settle in 2024 and favorable Bellwether trials will result in more settlements on favorable terms for Camp Lejeune victims.
October 17, 2023:
We just received an update from Camp Lejeune Leadership. As we previously reported in an earlier post, the Court issued a new Case Management Order (CMO). The CMO provides us with deadlines and instructions on how the case will move forward. Leadership filed a Master Complaint on October 6, 2023 and the government has 45 days to answer. Track 1 trials will involve 5 conditions; bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s Disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Leadership and the government will each select 10 cases of each of the five illnesses to be considered in Track 1 trials. The Court will make the final decision on which cases go to trial first.
While this is going on, proposed Orders are being prepared on deposition procedures, protection of potential confidential information, and electronic discovery.
Our conclusion is that while settlements are far behind what we anticipated (there are none), pre-trial litigation is moving forward favorably for Camp Lejeune victims.
October 13, 2023:
What are Bellwether trials under the CLJA
Cases will be selected as Bellwether cases as the initial cases to be tried under the CLJA. The Bellwether trials will give both the Camp Lejeune victims and the government a foreshadow of how future cases may go if tried. There of course is no guarantee that future cases will have the same result as the Bellwether cases but the Bellwethers do give the parties insight on how future cases may be decided by a jury.
The Bellwether trials are important for future settlement of the remaining cases that have not yet been tried. If Camp Lejeune victims receive favorable verdicts on the Bellwether trials, as we expect they will, this will be strong incentive for the government to begin settling similar Camp Lejeune cases for an amount favorable to Camp Lejeune victims. While this may be a slow process at the outset, the Bellwether trials can help remaining Camp Lejeune victims receive fair settlements sooner than they otherwise would.
October 11, 2023:
Will there be settlement opportunities after the Elective Option
The most common question we have received in recent weeks is “If I am eligible for the Elective Option and do not accept it, does that mean my case will have to go to trial?”
We have advised callers with this question that, in our opinion, there will be an opportunity to settle your case out of court even if you do not accept the government’s offer under the Elective Option. There are stringent requirements to even qualify for an offer under the EO. We see the EO as a good fit for only those Camp Lejeune victims that want a quick settlement even though they may be settling for an amount less than their case is worth.
Bellwether trials will be set and that will lead to settlement discussions between Leadership and the government. We believe settlement discussions will result in settlement criteria more equitable than what is currently being offer under the EO. This will give the majority of meritorious cases an opportunity to settle without going to Court, even if an offer under the EO was previously rejected.
October 9, 2023:
How many cases have settled under the Elective Option
The Department of the Navy announced its Elective Option on September 6, 2023. Our law firm received its notice of the EO on September 6, 2023 at 11:56 a.m. by way of an email from the DON.
How many cases have settled in the month since the DON announced its EO. The answer is that to date no cases have been settled under the EO. In fact, the DON does not yet have the procedure in place to implement the EO.
Under the proposed framework of the EO, the DON will contact lawyers (including Camp Lejeune victims who are representing themselves) whose client(s) qualify for a proposed settlement offer under the EO. The Leadership Committee is proposing that lawyers representing victims who qualify for the EO be allowed to opt-in to the EO settlement process rather than waiting to be contacted by the DON. So far the DON has not agreed to this proposal. Allowing an opt-in provision to the EO will require the DON to implement an opt-in framework which it currently does not have.
September 28, 2023:
Second Case Management Order
On September 26, 2023 the Court issued a Second Case Management Order. CMO #2 addresses discovery issues and requires both sides to meet at least on a monthly basis to address proposed stipulations and to provide the Court with status updates on all proposed stipulations.
Importantly from the standpoint of Camp Lejeune plaintiffs, CMO #2 provides that trials are to commence in 2024. Equally important from the standpoint of Camp Lejeune plaintiffs, the initial trials will involve Tier 1 illnesses which have strong medical and scientific support. These claims include bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
CMO #2 also recognized the value in a global resolution and ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding that process and report back to the Court within 30 days.
September 26, 2023:
Does the Elective Option promote the intent of the CLJA?
Almost nothing gets passed on a bipartisan basis these days. However the CLJA was passed with support from democrats and republicans alike. In passing the CLJA Congress recognized that Camp Lejeune victims had no legal recourse to obtain the compensation they deserve. Second, we believe Congress wanted Camp Lejeune victims fairly compensated for all they have gone through. Fair compensation does not mean windfall settlements for Camp Lejeune victims nor did Congress want to see de minimis settlements in light of the severe illnesses contracted at Camp Lejeune.
In our opinion the Elective Option does not carry out the underlying intent of the CLJA. Settlement figures proposed in the EO may be fair compensation for some of the weaker CLJA claims (those cases not strongly supported by the medical science). However, the EO takes the strongest Camp Lejeune cases (those most strongly supported by medical science) and proposes to offer modest settlements to those victims with the strongest cases.
Instead of viewing the CLJA claim process from strictly an adversarial standpoint, we would like to see the DON make fair and reasonable offers based on the merits of each case. While the DON/DOJ may eventually increase their offers on at least the Tier 1 injury cases, the Elective Option falls short of doing that.
This blog represents our opinion and our opinion only. We ask that you read it in that manner.
September 25, 2023:
Latency period under the Elective Option
Latency period refers to the time that passes between being exposed to something that can cause cancer or other illness and having symptoms from that exposure.
The Navy’s Elective Option requires that the diagnosis or treatment for what it lists as “qualifying illnesses” be not less than two years after your first exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and not greater than 35 years after your last exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. It should be noted that this is not a legal requirement to go forward with your Camp Lejeune case but rather a requirement imposed by the DON in order to resolve your case under the Elective Option if you are inclined to do so.
September 22, 2023:
The Navy’s Elective Option oversimplifies the settlement process
As our recent posts point out, the government uses a 2-prong approach to settlement in its Elective Option. The framework for the Elective Option takes into account only (1) what we call Tier 1 illnesses and (2) length of time at Camp Lejeune.
Settlement, or a verdict at trial if it comes to that, is much more complex than the two factors taken into account under the Navy’s Elective Option. The EO does not take into account the severity of any given illness and the impact it has on any given individual. For example, while kidney cancer is considered a Tier 1 injury, the severity of kidney cancer and the effect it has on any given individual can differ drastically from person to person. Treatment may be different, the length of treatment can differ between individuals and the eventual outcome of that treatment often differs. The EO does not take into account any of these factors. The facts unique to each individual, and that individual’s treatment and eventual outcome, can have a drastic effect on the settlement value of a case and upon the verdict returned by a jury.
We will be winding down our analysis of the EO shortly. We hope this analysis assists our readers in deciding whether the EO is right for them.
September 18, 2023:
The bottom line on “lien resolution” under the Navy’s Elective Option
In our recent posts we have discussed the fact that the Elective Option does not address lien resolutions. Liens are the amount a victim will have to reimburse a health insurer or governmental entity out of any settlement for amounts those third parties paid toward treatment of the victim’s Camp Lejeune illness. If lien resolution is not properly addressed prior to formalizing a settlement under the Elective Option, the result can be that much – or even all – of any settlement will go to satisfying outstanding liens and not to the Camp Lejeune victim himself/herself. Penalties are imposed if liens are ignored when reaching a settlement.
The bottom line is that you and your attorney must resolve all outstanding liens before finalizing any Camp Lejeune settlement. Many lawyers will be working with a lien resolution specialist when settling Camp Lejeune cases. While there is a fee involved in working with a lien resolution specialist, we believe it is a fee well paid. The amount a lien resolution specialist is able to save a client often exceeds any fee involved.
September 15, 2023:
How does the Elective Option address future Medicare and Medicaid benefits?
The short answer is that it does not. The DON tells us that accepting an offer under the EO will not impact the victims VA benefits. However the DON is silent as to whether accepting an offer under the EO framework would adversely impact future Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits. That the DON is silent on this issue is significant. Availability of future Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits could be adversely impacted by accepting an EO settlement. We need further clarification on this issue from the DON. Without clarification, your attorney needs to resolve this issue with the DON before any EO settlement is finalized.
September 14, 2023:
Does the Elective Option compensate Camp Lejeune victims for multiple injuries?
Many Camp Lejeune victims have multiple illnesses caused by their exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Some victims may even have multiple Tier 1 illnesses.
However under the framework for the Elective Option we received from the Department of the Navy, it is stated that injuries cannot be compounded. The result is that Camp Lejeune victims with multiple illnesses from their Camp Lejeune water exposure can only be compensated for what is deemed to be their most severe illness. This is of course unfair to those Camp Lejeune victims who are able to satisfactorily establish that they suffered more than one illness due to their exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
It is anticipated that cases eventually settled outside the Elective Option framework will allow for compensation for multiple illnesses if those illnesses can be satisfactorily tied to Camp Lejeune. Cases that go to trial will provide the victim with an opportunity to establish multiple illnesses provided the victim can do so with the necessary expert testimony to satisfy the equipoise burden of proof.
September 13, 2023:
Does the Elective Option apply to claims that have already been placed in suit?
The answer is No. Relatively few cases have been placed in suit. However if your case has been placed in suit, the Navy’s Elective Option does not apply to you. This could be problematic for those individuals who would like a quick settlement, in exchange for reduced compensation, but who have already filed suit.
There is some indication that the DOJ will offer something similar to the Elective Option to those victims whose case has been placed in suit. However to date there has been no proposed offer, Elective Option or otherwise, for any case placed in suit.
September 12, 2023:
Does the Elective Option take into account liens from health care insurers and Medicare?
Apparently not. While the Elective Option waives any right to reimbursement for VA disability claims that have been paid, it makes no attempt to address liens from health care insurers, Medicare, TriCare and other health care insurers who may have the right to assert a lien on any settlement proceeds obtained under the CLJA.
Liens, in simple terms, are a legally protected right to reimbursement asserted by the party who paid medical bills for any treatment associated with your Camp Lejeune illness. These liens can be substantial and can even make legal claim to the entire settlement if not properly handled. The Navy’s Elective Option makes no attempt to address this issue other than to waive any claim for reimbursement for VA disability benefits paid.
September 11, 2023:
How we expect the Navy’s “Elective Option” to be received by Camp Lejeune Veterans and their families
We anticipate that most Camp Lejeune victims who are represented by an attorney will be dissatisfied with the Elective Option and will not accept it. Simply put, the Elective Option takes the strongest Camp Lejeune claims and assigns very modest settlement values to those claims.
With that said, the Elective Option may be accepted by some claimants in the following categories: (1) claimants who are unrepresented by an attorney, (2) claimants who have financial issues and need money as soon as it is available and (3) anyone who is risk adverse and who will take what ultimately may be a lesser settlement in exchange for a “sure thing” now.
The Elective Option may have the opposite effect as well. Some Camp Lejeune victims may be angered at what they feel are low settlement offers. This group of victims may, in response to the Elective Option, become more determined than ever to take their case to trial and have a jury determine what their case is worth.
Even for what we believe will be a small percentage of Camp Lejeune victims inclined to accept the Elective Option, they still must meet the strict requirements set forth in the settlement framework. For example, the time you were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune must be substantiated by military records, tax returns, drivers’ licenses, pay stubs or other similar records. Exposure cannot be substantiated by way of Affidavit or other indirect evidence.
We will continue our explanation and evaluation of the DON’s Elective Option in the coming days. This is what everyone is talking about now.
September 8, 2023:
What is the DON’s underlying intent behind its Elective Option
In yesterday’s post we discussed the Elective Option we received from the Department of the Navy. At the end of yesterday’s post we promised to further discuss the intent underlying the Navy’s EO framework.
In our opinion the EO framework is a collaboration by the DON/DOJ to resolve high-value cases for a relatively low settlement amount. We believe the DON recognizes that many lawyers will not settle their high-value cases for the amount set forth in the Navy’s Elective Option. However, there are Camp Lejeune victims who desperately need the money and who will opt to take whatever is being offered. Those cases will be settled and off the DON’s settlement desk. We suspect that there are also plaintiffs who are unrepresented by counsel who may agree to accept what is being offered under the EO because they do not have an understanding of the potential value of their case.
We also believe that the EO is an effort to silence some of the negative press the DOJ/DON has received regarding the lack of progress in settling cases filed under the CLJA. The government has received a lot of bad press over the fact that no cases have been settled. The EO now allows the DON/DOJ to state that settlement offers have been made without getting into the merits of whether the settlement offers fairly compensate Camp Lejeune victims for what they have gone through.
Finally, we believe the EO is a way for the government to quickly settle a relatively small percentage of cases quickly and without time consuming review. The cases will be settled without reference to the unique circumstances underlying each case and with minimal supporting documentation.
It will be interesting to see how many cases actually settle under the EO framework we received on September 6, 2023.
September 7, 2023:
Yesterday at 11:56 a.m. we received an email from the Department of the Navy outlining what it is refers to as the framework for an “Elective Option” (“EO”). This is the framework for initial settlement that the Navy has been promising veterans.
The EO applies what the Navy refers to as a “two-by-three Elective Option Grid.” In the Elective Option Grid the Navy separates what it considers to be Tier 1 injuries from Tier 2 injuries and then takes into consideration the “Duration of Exposure” (how long the victim was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune).
The Navy considers Tier 1 qualifying injuries to include:
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Bladder Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
Camp Lejeune victims with Tier 1 injuries exposed to toxic water for 30 – 364 days would receive $150,000, exposure for 1 – 5 years $300,000 and more than 5 years $450,000 under the EO.
Tier 2 qualifying injuries under the EO include the following:
- Multiple Myeloma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Kidney Disease/End State Renal Disease
- Systemic Sclerosis
- Systemic Scleroderma
Camp Lejeune victims with Tier 2 qualifying injuries who had a duration of exposure for 30 – 364 days would receive $100,000, exposure for 1 – 5 years $250,000 and more than 5 years $400,000 under the EO.
If a qualifying injury resulted in death, an additional $100,000 would be added to the above figures. This means that the maximum EO offer would be $550,000. This would be for a Tier 1 injury resulting in death where the victim suffered exposure for more than five years.
We were promised fast and fair settlement offers. In our opinion offers to be made under the EO are. neither timely nor fair. The EO offers are not timely because the framework for the EO was not announced by the Navy for more than a year after the CLJA was enacted. The bipartisan congressional intent underling the CLJA was for settlement to begin on at least some claims during the initial 6-month administrative period. That did not happen.
In our opinion offers under the EO takes the strongest claims under the CLJA and assigns low settlement values to each claim. The claims outlined in the Navy’s EO are the strongest CLJA claims and therefore should be assigned the highest settlement values.
In the next few days we will discuss the intent underlying the Navy’s EO framework and how we expect the EO to be received by Camp Lejeune victims.
September 5, 2023:
Assumption of Risk
One of the defenses asserted by the DOJ is that Marines and their families assumed the risk when they worked and lived at Camp Lejeune. This has created an uproar among many Veterans and has even been picked up by some news outlets. “How could I have assumed the risk if I did not even know the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated” Veterans want to know.
On its face, this is obviously an outrageous claim. However, from a legal perspective, it is nothing to be concerned about. There are certain defenses sometimes referred to as “boiler plate” defenses. This means that the government or other defendant asserts that defense in almost every case. That is what occurred here. The government has no intention of arguing at trial that the Camp Lejeune Veteran or family member assumed the risk of contracting cancer or other serious illness by living or working at Camp Lejeune. Any such argument would be sure to anger a jury and increase the damage award which we already expect will be substantial.
The take away from this is that while it can be upsetting to hear that you assumed the risk of contracting a serious illness, this defense is nothing to be concerned about. In all likelihood we will never hear anything further from the DOJ about assumption of risk and it most certainly will not be a defense argued in any Camp Lejeune case that is tried.
August 30, 2023:
Wrongful death claim under the CLJA
In yesterday’s post we explained that if an individual contracts an illness due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune but passes away due to an unrelated illness, the Estate can pursue a survival claim under the CLJA.
If it can be established that the Veteran or other individual passed away as a result of an illness contracted at Camp Lejeune, then a wrongful death claim can be pursued. This is typically brought on behalf of the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, then a surviving child. Typical damages in a wrongful death claim include loss of society and companionship, loss of financial support, loss of household services, medical expenses related to the fatal injury and funeral and burial expenses.
We hope our last two posts clear up questions our readers have regarding the difference between survival actions and wrongful death actions, both of which are allowed under the CLJA. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us by phone or by using our on-line Contact Form.
August 29, 2023:
Survival action vs. wrongful death claim under the CLJA
Our post from yesterday created questions from callers. Callers are asking what the difference is between a “survival action” and a “wrongful death” claim. Let’s break that down.
As we mentioned in our post yesterday, if someone contracts cancer or other illness linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, that person has a claim under the CLJA. If that same individual then passes away due to an illness unrelated to exposure at Camp Lejeune, the Camp Lejeune claim that originally existed is said to survive the death of that individual. An Estate is opened and the Estate can then pursue the damages that the deceased individual would have been entitled to pursue if he or she had not passed away.
Damages in a survival action generally include a claim for past medical expenses to treat the Camp Lejeune related illness, pain and suffering the individual endured as a result of the Camp Lejeune illness and lost wages related to that illness. There would be no claim for damages unrelated to the Camp Lejeune illness, including in our hypothetical example above the passing away of that individual due to an illness unrelated to exposure at Camp Lejeune.
In tomorrow’s post we will discuss a wrongful death claim and how it differs from a survival action.
August 28, 2023:
What happens if a Camp Lejeune victim passes away from a non-Camp Lejeune illness
Due to the passage of time, many different factual patterns have arisen under the CLJA. For example, what happens if a Veteran or other claimant contracted cancer or other illness from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune but later passed away due to an illness entirely unrelated to Camp Lejeune?
The answer is that the decedent’s Estate can assert a claim under the CLJA for compensation for pain and suffering and other damages the deceased individual suffered due to the Camp Lejeune-related illness. However, because that same individual passed away due to an illness unrelated to Camp Lejeune, there is no death claim to be asserted under the CLJA.
If that same individual had also passed away due to exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, then both a survival claim and wrongful death claim can be asserted under the CLJA.
If you have a question on whether you or a family member have a claim under the CLJA, feel free to contact us. We believe that no one who has a valid claim under the CLJA should go uncompensated.
August 24, 2023:
Lawsuit predictions not holding true
Predictions from almost everyone was that after the six-month administrative period expired, and lawsuits started to be filed, the number of Federal lawsuit filings would greatly increase each month. That has not happened. In fact, just the opposite has taken place. The number of lawsuits being filed has significantly decreased the last few months and make up only a small percentage of the total administrative claims filed.
In our post of August 2, 2023 we provided a number of different reasons for this. The number of lawsuits filed has continued to decline since then. Many lawyers are taking a wait and see approach with regard to settlement before filing in Federal Court. If the government does not begin settling these claims soon, we fully expect a dramatic increase in Federal Court filings. We will keep you updated.
August 18, 2023:
Power of Attorney
We recently received a call from the daughter of a Camp Lejeune Veteran. She was the designated Power of Attorney (“POA”) for her father and wanted to know if she could act as her father’s legal representative in filing a claim under the CLJA.
A Durable POA is a financial planning tool that can help prepare for the future where you may be unable to make important financial and/or legal decisions for yourself. A POA can provide the designated agent with broad power or with restricted authority. In order to act as the legal agent for the principal, here the Veteran, the POA should provide that the agent may retain attorneys on the Veteran’s behalf, appear for the Veteran in all actions and proceedings to which the Veteran is a party, commence actions and proceedings in the Veteran’s name and sign in the name of the Veteran on all documents and pleadings of every description. With our Camp Lejeune Veterans aging, and the slow pace at which claims under the CLJA are progressing, we expect to see more cases in the future where the Veteran has a designated POA to act on his or her behalf.
There are forms available on the internet to make the POA effective immediately or at some date in the future. We strongly recommend that an experienced attorney be retained to draft the POA. The cost for preparing a POA is modest and gives you peace of mind to make sure the wishes of the principal are fully and accurately carried out.
August 17, 2023:
How did Congress intend the CLJA to be implemented?
Congress passed the CLJA on a bipartisan basis because it recognized that thousands of Marine Vets, family members and even civilians contracted serious illnesses as a result of their exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Without the CLJA, these victims were without recourse due to defenses such as the statute of repose that prevented Camp Lejeune victims from obtaining the compensation they deserve.
Congress intended the CLJA to be implemented promptly and fairly. Congress did not intend for the government to make no settlement offers more than a year after the CLJA was enacted. It can be said with a high degree of confidence that if you asked any member of Congress they would tell you they expected thousands of CLJA claims to be settled by now.
While the DOJ certainly has the responsibility of weeding out any fraudulent claims, Congress did not intend the DOJ to take an adversarial approach toward resolving CLJA claims. Rather, Congress intended the DOJ to timely review claims and make fair settlement offers to those who have served our country, their families and to any civilians negatively impacted because of exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Recently spouses of deceased Veterans protested outside the Justice Department over what they felt were unreasonably long delays by the government in resolving these cases.
In our recent posts we have noted that there is some indication that the government may soon start making settlement offers. We hope that is accurate information and we hope the offers are fair and reasonable given all that our Camp Lejeune Veterans and their families have gone through.
August 16, 2023:
We are approaching 95,000 administrative claims filed under the CLJA and approximately 1,100 Federal lawsuits. We believe there are many Camp Lejeune victims and their families who have not yet filed a claim. We think the number of lawsuits filed will significantly increase if the government does not begin making reasonable settlement offers soon. On the other hand, if the government makes fair and reasonable settlement offers soon, that will keep the number of lawsuits filed relatively low as it is now.
August 15, 2023:
Latest news from the Department of the Navy:
Like the Department of Justice, the Department of the Navy (DON) recently declined to give an on-camera interview. Instead, the DON recently released the following statement:
“The Department of the Navy (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. Over 80,000 claims have been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA), and the Navy has initiated processing of more than 17,000 claims. We are pursuing information technology solutions to improve claims processing, and a new unit with a projected staff of over 100 claims professionals was established within the Navy’s office of the Judge Advocate General to focus solely on adjudicating CLJA claims. The Department of Justice and the Department of Navy are working to develop an early-resolution framework for the CLJA claims. This framework will supplement other mechanisms for resolving claims currently available through the normal administrative claims process or litigation and will provide a voluntary, expedited option for those interested. Our aim is that this framework will be finalized soon so that those impacted can quickly receive relief.”
Exactly what this means remains to be seen. As we have passed the one-year anniversary of enactment of the CLJA with not a single settlement, we think the time has passed for an “early resolution.” The DON appears to be telling us that it is in the process of putting together a staff of claims persons to begin reviewing the over 80,000 claims that have been filed and will be making settlement offers “soon so that those impacted can quickly receive relief.” While this is good news for Veterans and their families whose lives have been turned upside down by exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, we need to see what kind of offers will be made. The worst thing that can happen is for the government to make low settlement offers after Veterans and their families have been waiting decades for the compensation they deserve. Our clients regularly tell us that they would give up any settlement amount if they could have their health back.
August 14, 2023:
Latest from Department of Justice
Having reached the one-year anniversary of enactment of the CLJA, the Department of Justice and the DON are coming under increased pressure to begin settling these claims. In response, the Department of Justice declined to be interviewed on camera but recently 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.”
No one knows exactly what this means. If this statement from the Justice Department means that fair settlement offers will soon be made, that will be welcome news for Camp Lejeune Vets, their family members and others who were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. If, on the other hand, it means that low offers are going to be made to see if there are any “takers”, this is going to further anger frustrated vets and their families. Low offers will result in a dramatic increase in Federal Court filings under the CLJA.
Only time will tell what the Justice Department’s intent is behind its recent statements.
August 2, 2023:
Why so few lawsuits started?
We have received calls asking why more Camp Lejeune lawsuits have not been filed. Approximately 70,000 administrative claims have been filed but just over 1,000 lawsuits filed. There are many reasons for this.
First, the six-month administrative period has not been exhausted on some of the claims filed and therefore filing suit is not permitted.
In other cases lawyers are waiting for a Letter of Perfection from the government even after the six-month administrative period has run.
Also, as we have discussed before the CLJA is written in very broad terms with little guidance on how it is to be implemented. Some lawyers and their clients are waiting for guidance from the Court on how the litigation will be conducted.
Last, many lawyers and their clients are waiting to see if the government starts to settle CLJA claims in the near future and for how much. The best result for clients is usually to obtain a favorable settlement without having to commence suit. This saves the client litigation expenses and avoids the stress often associated with litigation.
July 17, 2023:
Latest Settlement Update on Claims Filed Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
We are quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of enactment of the CLJA. The CLJA was passed on a bipartisan basis to provide fair, prompt and long-overdue compensation to military personnel, their families and others who contracted serious illness from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. That has not happened.
When the CLJA was passed, no one would have predicted that a year later the government has not settled a single case. In fact, to the best of our knowledge the government has not even started to review medical records and other documents supporting victims’ claims. This is shocking given the stated purpose of the CLJA. In the meantime, many Veterans and their family members continue to pass away and will never see the compensation they deserve.
Members of Congress have written to the U.S. Attorney General and to the Secretary of the Department of the Navy demanding to know why no claims have been settled and demanding to know what the government’s plan is to implement the CLJA. The Department of the Navy, in turn, blames Congress for not appropriating funds to allow the claims to be reviewed and settled.
It does no one any good for Congress to blame the Department of the Navy and the Department of the Navy to turn around and blame Congress. We are taking it upon ourselves to contact those members of Congress who have expressed concern about the lack of any CLJA settlements. We will respectfully suggest that letter writing does not go far enough and that there must be direct dialogue involving members of Congress, the DOJ and the Department of the Navy if any progress is going to be made implementing the CLJA as it was intended. Thousands of cases should have already been settled and thousands more should have been under claim review by now. We will report on what, if any, response we receive from Congress.
July 7, 2023:
More than 70,000 administrative claims have bee filed under the CLJA and more are filed each day.
The number of lawsuits filed remains low at just over 1,000. Lawyers are taking a wait and see approach before filing in Federal Court. Lawyers are waiting for guidance from the Court on how certain litigation issues will be resolved and how discovery will be consolidated. We believe lawyers are also waiting to see whether settlement offers will be made at the administrative level to at least the Tier 1 injury claims once the government begins the process of settling these claims.
July 5, 2023:
Why No Camp Lejeune Settlements Yet?
This is one of the most common questions we get. Many people assume, wrongly so, that the government is not going to settle any claims filed under the CLJA. Many people wrongly assume that they will have to go through a lengthy Federal Court trial if they want to obtain compensation under the CLJA.
We do not think that is the case. Currently, the Department of the Navy is significantly understaffed to handle the 70,000 plus administrative claims filed under the CLJA so far. While the Department of the Navy certainly could have done a better job in at least attempting to address the claims filed so far, it needs more attorneys and administrative employees to even make a dent in reviewing the claims filed so far.
The Department of the Navy also needs additional funding from Congress to implement the CLJA in the manner it was intended. No member of Congress who voted envisioned the CLJA being the law of the land for almost a year without a single case settled. The Department of the Navy needs sufficient funding from Congress to get an electronic portal up and running so that medical records and service records can be efficiently submitted and reviewed. Funding is also needed to hire additional personnel to review these claims.
Some members of Congress have written to the Department of the Navy demanding answers as to why Camp Lejeune claims are not being settled. While this is a positive first step, we need the Department of the Navy and key members of Congress to meet and discuss exactly what must be done in order for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to be administered in the manner it was intended. The current situation with the Department of the Navy blaming Congress and Congress blaming the Department of the Navy is not helpful to anyone.
We urge Congress and the Department of the Navy to work together to get claims filed under the CLJA settled now.
One of the many negative side effects of the lack of progress is that many Camp Lejeune victims may be discouraged from even filing a claim. That would be the biggest injustice of all. If you believe that you or your family may be entitled to compensation under the CLJA, please give us a call or use our confidential Contact Form. It will cost you nothing for us to review your case and have all your questions answered.
June 26, 2023:
Senator Rubio calls the lack of any CLJA settlements “unacceptable.”
The latest estimate is that more than 70,000 CLJA administrative claims have been filed and we are approaching 700 lawsuits being filed under the CLJA. The government still has not settled any of these claims.
In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Florida Senator Marco Rubio calls the lack of any settlements “unacceptable.” In his letter to the Department of the Navy, Senator Rubio goes on to state “Worse yet, the backlog caused by the JAG’s lethargy has a chilling effect and may result in Veterans missing the deadline to file claims.” Senator Rubio correctly points out to the Department of the Navy that the delay in processing Camp Lejeune claims “is adding even more insult to injury for Veterans, their dependents and others who are suffering due to the Navy’s lack of movement to expeditiously process claims.” Click here to see the full text of Senator Rubio’s letter.
The Department of the Navy has expressed concern that the North Carolina Court has not implemented a comprehensive plan to streamline the handling of lawsuits once filed. It remains to be seen how sympathetic the North Carolina Judges are to the Navy’s concerns given the government’s complete lack of progress in resolving Camp Lejeune claims. The government must start settling these claims as it cannot defend the number of claims being filed nor can the government withstand what are expected to be significant verdicts if the cases are tried. This is especially true with the so-called Tier 1 illnesses which are closely tied to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
June 21, 2023:
There are still claims to be filed
While the latest count from the Department of the Navy is that there have been more than 60,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims filed, we believe there are still many eligible victims who have not yet pursued a claim for compensation they deserve. This may be due to many different reasons.
Last week we received a call from the daughter of a deceased Veteran. The daughter now resides in the central part of our state and wondered whether she and her sibling have a claim worth pursuing under the CLJA given the passage of time since her father resided on the base at Camp Lejeune. After discussing the daughter’s case with her, it became clear that she and her brother met the requirements for filing a claim under the CLJA and we accepted the case.
Even though over 60,000 claims have already been filed under the CLJA, we believe there are many more deserving Veterans and family members eligible to file a claim. If you are uncertain whether or not you have a claim, we recommend that you contact a lawyer in your state handling Camp Lejeune claims and discuss with that lawyer whether you have a claim that should be pursued. You may be surprised to find out that you do have a valid claim. We do not want to see the two-year Camp Lejeune statute of limitations expire without all eligible victims who want to file a claim being able to do so
June 2, 2023:
What is Equipoise?
If you have been following the CLJA litigation, you may have come across the term equipoise. You probably also asked yourself what that refers to.
The burden of proof under the CLJA is referred to as the equipoise standard. Under the equipoise standard the burden of proof is to show the relationship between exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune and the harm is sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not. This is a very significant change from the burden of proof required in traditional civil litigation where the burden of proof is generally said to be by the greater weight of the credible evidence.
While this may sound inconsequential the equipoise standard is one of the hallmarks unique to the CLJA and will make it less difficult for CLJA claimants to prove their case than it is for claimants in traditional civil litigation.
May 30, 2023:
Electronic portal update
The government continues to push back the date by which its electronic portal will be set up to begin the processing of claims submitted under the CLJA. Apparently a lack of funding is at least partially responsible for the delay. It is difficult to envision Congress passing the broad-sweeping CLJA and then not allocating any funding to support the processing of these claims.
Our update of May 17, 2023 informed you that on May 17, 2023 members of Congress sent a letter to the secretary of the Navy and Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting an answer to six different questions. One of the most important questions directed to the Department of the Navy by Congress reads as follows:
- What are the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice’s plans to process these claims in a timely manner?
Congress requested a response to its questions by “not later than June 9, 2023.” We look forward to the Navy’s response and we will share that with you.
May 25, 2023:
The best estimate we have is that approximately 60,000 Camp Lejeune administrative claims have been filed. Still no settlements or settlement offers.
Letters of Perfection from the government are running late as well. Filings in late September are now receiving Letters of Perfection.
May 22, 2023:
Who is behind the Camp Lejeune advertising you still see
Much of the Camp Lejeune advertising, both now and previously, is being run by marketing companies looking to sell their leads to lawyers. In fact we just received an unsolicited email from a vendor asking if we wanted to “purchase any Camp Lejeune leads from them.”
Our law firm never purchases any Camp Lejeune leads from marketing companies or anyone else. All of our Camp Lejeune clients have taken the first step and reached out to us asking if we will review their Camp Lejeune claim. If you are considering having your Camp Lejeune claim reviewed, make sure you know whether you are dealing with a marketing firm or a law firm and that you are comfortable with the choice you make after being fully informed.
May 17, 2023:
New pressure by Congress
In our May 15, 2023 post we urged our readers to contact Congress for assistance in getting the government to start reaching settlements with Camp Lejeune victims.
On May 17, 2023 a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressmen wrote to the Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasizing the importance of settling valid CLJA claims. In this joint letter, the government was asked a series of questions asking what the DOJ’s intentions and guidelines are for resolving these cases. The DOJ was requested to respond to these questions by “no later than June 9, 2023.”
We believe this letter is long-overdue and we hope it is well received by the government. It is time that we get reasonable settlements in the hands of our Veterans who have served our country and who have suffered so gravely as a result of that service because they happened to be stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina at the wrong time.
May 15, 2023:
It was anticipated that the Navy portal would be up and running by now. The government’s portal is the mechanism by which the Navy will accept documentation such as medical records and service records to determine the validity of claims. Reviewing medical records and service documentation is the first step toward moving Camp Lejeune claims toward settlement.
The Navy recently informed attorneys representing Camp Lejeune victims and their families that its portal may not be up and running until this summer. The delay was blamed, at least in part, on a lack of resources. It is not only Veterans and their families who are frustrated by the lack of progress in resolving claims filed under the CLJA. Judge James Dever III, one of the Judges overseeing Camp Lejeune claims, stated at a recent hearing that “The Navy needs to step up its game.” This led to Judge Dever’s often-quoted comment that without settlement the resolution of these claims will take about the length of the Roman Empire. If you are interested in helping Camp Lejeune Veterans, contact your congress person and urge them to approve whatever funding is necessary to ensure that these cases are settled fairly as expeditiously as originally promised. Currently there are reports of many Camp Lejeune Veterans dying while waiting for a fair settlement or their day in Court.
We urge all Camp Lejeuene Veterans and their family members not to give up hope. We do believe that the Department of the Navy wants to settle valid CLJA claims. We also believe that the Court will put increasing pressure on the parties to resolve these claims. Anyone considering filing a claim under the CLJA should not let this initial delay stop them from contacting a lawyer to review their claim.
May 9, 2023:
Government files its Answer
As we previously reported, hundreds of CLJA Federal lawsuits have now been filed. After the initial filing, the ball is in the government’s court to file an Answer to the plaintiff’s Complaint. In filing an Answer, the defendant can either Admit the allegations, Deny the allegations in the Complaint or assert that it lacks knowledge or information sufficient to Admit or Deny the allegations.
In its Answer to one of the earliest CLJA cases filed, the government admits that chemicals from various sources impacted the water at Camp Lejeune but asserts that it lacks knowledge sufficient to admit or deny the number of people who may have been injured as a result of exposure to the toxic water. We think that the government will eventually Admit that the toxic water at Camp Lejeune caused what has been classified as Tier 1 illnesses and attempt to settle those claims. Tier 1 cancers and illnesses are those that have the strongest scientific and medical support causally relating those injuries to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The government may try to settle cases where the injury does not quite qualify as a Tier 1 illness on a compromised basis. We expect the government to take cases to trial where there is weak scientific support casually linking the illness to the contaminated water. While the burden of proof in cases filed under the CLJA is lower than the burden of proof required in ordinary civil litigation, the plaintiff still has the burden of establishing that his or her cancer or other illness was caused by exposure to toxic water.
May 8, 2023:
There is still time to file your claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
It is reported that many Veterans or their surviving family members who may qualify to file a claim under the CLJA still have not done so. Common reasons given for not filing under the CLJA are a fear of losing the Veteran’s VA benefits and being turned off by all of the Camp Lejeune attorney advertising. In our opinion neither of these concerns should stop you from filing a claim for compensation under the CLJA if you qualify.
First, you will not lose your VA benefits if you file a claim under the CLJA. A claim for VA benefits and a claim under the CLJA are separate claims and both claims can be made at the same time.
Many Veterans were turned off by the incessant Camp Lejeune attorney advertising and for good reason. In our opinion, much of the Camp Lejeune attorney advertising was unprofessional and provided inaccurate information. However, there are still good law firms that did not engage in this advertising. If you believe you have a valid claim under the CLJA, find a law firm you feel comfortable with. A reputable attorney can discuss your case with you, review your supporting records and let you know whether or not you have a valid claim under the CLJA. The review to determine whether or not you have a case can all be done at no cost to you. There is nothing to lose by having your claim reviewed by a reputable attorney and you may find out that you qualify for significant compensation under the CLJA. The CLJA was passed by Congress to compensate Veterans and their families who were unfairly exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. In our opinion, anyone who qualifies to make a claim should take advantage of this opportunity authorized by Congress.
May 2, 2023:
A positive step forward
The Court recently entered an Order steering CLJA litigation toward MDL (multi-district litigation) – like litigation.
More specifically, the Court stated in its Order that it anticipates creating a “master complaint” for the plaintiffs and a “master answer or other responsive pleading to the master complaint” for the defendant. The Court also indicated in its Order that it anticipates entering a future Order consolidating discovery, creating a process for phase discovery, a process for coordinating expert-related motions, coordinating future dispositive motions, a process for trials and a process for settlement negotiations. The Court also indicated that it anticipates establishing a process for bellwether trial selection, a process which some plaintiff lawyers object to.
All of this is subject to further clarification and order by the Court. Nonetheless it is a first step toward streamlining the litigation process and hopefully bringing the government to the settlement table.
April 27, 2023:
All Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune potentially exposed to toxic water
A common question we receive from Marines is whether they had to live on a certain part of the Base in order to seek a recovery under the CLJA. We believe the answer to this question is No.
Camp Lejeune Marines spent a lot of time training in the fields. So-called Water Buffalos were placed in the field and Marines would fill their canteens with water from the Water Buffalos many times throughout the day. This water was contaminated. Marines also showered and drank contaminated water from many different locations throughout the Base. There were many different ways Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune were exposed to toxic water regardless of where they lived on the Base.
April 26, 2023:
No dollar appropriation set aside for CLJA claims
A lot of attorney advertising claims that certain dollar amounts have been set aside by Congress to settle claims under the CLJA. The truth is that there has been no congressional appropriation set aside for Camp Lejeune settlements. Claims paid under the CLJA, whether by way of settlement or verdict, will come out of the US Treasury.
April 24, 2023:
No presumptive illnesses under the CLJA
There is a lot of false advertising stating that there are certain presumptive illnesses under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. In other words, this false advertising claims that certain cancers or illnesses are automatically presumed to have been caused by exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
This is not accurate. There are no presumptive illnesses or diseases under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Federal Court hearing these cases will not honor a claim for presumptive illnesses. The illness claimed must be proved by expert testimony if the case is tried.
The bottom line is that certain illnesses may be easier to settle with the government because of the medical science linking those illnesses to Camp Lejeune. However, if the case does not settle, and goes to trial, all illnesses claimed must be proved by expert testimony. Presumptive illnesses or diseases are limited to VA health care or claims for disability benefits.
April 20, 2023:
Slow progress being made
Almost 900 lawsuits have now been filed by victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination or their legal representative. Apparently the number of cases filed in the last few weeks caught the government off guard and resulted in the DOJ requesting additional time to answer the hundreds of complaints that have been filed. That request was granted.
However, the Court still has not issued a further Order giving lawyers and their clients guidance on how cases filed under the CLJA will proceed. It is clear that an Order will need to be entered to streamline the CLJA litigation because the number of cases filed will overwhelm the Court and the litigants alike. An Order from Judge Dever in this regard is expected any day now and we will update you when that Order has been entered.
April 18, 2023:
Claim and lawsuit update
The latest update we have from the Department of the Navy is that more than 25,000 claims have been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Navy is clearly overwhelmed by the number of claims filed and we still await the Navy’s litigation portal going live so we can submit medical records, service records and other supporting documentation. Until that information can be submitted, no cases will settle.
With regard to lawsuits, over 200 lawsuits have been filed and the number is increasing daily. That has led to the parties joining to have the cases consolidated similar to what has traditionally been done in a class action setting. The Court has not yet ruled on this request and the previous motion for consolidation was denied. However, given the number of lawsuits that have been filed it is anticipated that the Court will issue an Order to streamline the litigation and consolidation is one way to do that.
April 14, 2023:
Camp Lejeune Court Order
As we told you in an earlier post there was an initial Camp Lejeune status conference before the Hon. James C. Dever III on April 5, 2023.
On April 6, 2023 the Court’s docket entry indicated that a written Order was anticipated to follow. No written Order has yet been entered but it is expected to be issued by the Court shortly. The Order will give us a preliminary indication how the Court intends to handle the large number of Camp Lejeune cases filed. We will update you further when the Order has been entered by the Court.
April 12, 2023:
Can the CLJA Claim Form be amended?
We recently received a call from an ex-Marine who filed the initial CLJA Claim Form on his own. He subsequently realized he made at least two mistakes on the Claim Form and was concerned that the form could not be changed. He now realized he should have retained an attorney.
Fortunately, the Department of the Navy issued a statement advising that the Administrative Claim Form can subsequently be amended if errors are discovered. Equally important is the fact that the Department of the Navy advised that if a Claim Form is amended, it will relate back to the original filing. This means that if an amended Claim Form is filed, the Camp Lejeune victim does not need to start a new six-month administrative waiting period before suit can be filed. The amended form will relate back to the date of the original filing.
April 11, 2023:
CLJA lawsuits already unmanageable
The filing of lawsuits after the six-month administrative period ran got off to a slow start. However, the number of lawsuits filed has increased greatly in the last few weeks and now the number is in the hundreds. The number of lawsuits is expected to significantly increase from here.
The Department of the Navy is already voicing concern that the number of lawsuits it must respond to is unmanageable. The Court expressed similar concern in last week’s initial hearing. The real issue is what can be done to address this problem.
First, the Department of the Navy needs to begin reviewing and settling CLJA claims as congress intended. Second, the Court is entertaining the idea of consolidating CLJA claims before one Judge and then issuing Orders to streamline the cases for all litigants. So far no such Order has been issued.
The bottom line is that neither the Department of the Navy nor the Court can handle the increasing number of claims and lawsuits filed. We hope this results in the government making a good faith effort to promptly resolve these claims. We expect the Court to put pressure on all parties to both streamline and resolve these cases. That would be good news for all Camp Lejeune victims, for the government and for the Court.
April 6, 2023:
April 5, 2023 Court Hearing
Yesterday marked the first Court hearing for Camp Lejeune victims. This was not a trial but an initial status conference.
The Court expressed concern with the lack of movement on claims filed under the CLJA and asked the government and attorneys representing Camp Lejeune victims to meet and come forth with a settlement plan.
The Court recognized that the massive number of CLJA claims filed cannot all go to trial as to do so would last longer than the Roman Empire was in existence. The Judge was clearly dissatisfied that the government has not yet settled any Camp Lejeune claims.
We hope this is a first good step forward for all Camp Lejeune victims. If the Court continues to put pressure on the parties and the individual lawyers and government get together and come up with a workable settlement plan, we can start to bring justice and fair compensation which is long overdue to the many Camp Lejeune victims.
If you were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune and developed a serious illness, it is not too late to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Please give us a call at 414-273-7400. We would be happy to talk to you.
April 3, 2023:
Who can bring a wrongful death claim
If the Marine or family member exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune has passed away, who is entitled to bring a claim? This is a question we often get from callers.
Under the CLJA, a legal “representative” of the deceased individual is entitled to bring the claim. This will usually be the surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, then one of the deceased’s children can serve as the legal representative in pursuing a claim under the CLJA.
Sadly, it is reported that more and more CLJA claims are turning into wrongful death claims because the Camp Lejeune victim passes away due to serious illness while waiting for the Department of the Navy to settle his or her claim. We sincerely hope this trend ends and the Department of the Navy begins to fairly compensate Camp Lejeune victims.
March 31, 2023:
How will Camp Lejeune cases be settled
The answer is that no one knows at this time. That is because the Department of the Navy has not settled any claims filed under the CLJA as of this time. There is reason to believe that the Navy’s CLJA litigation portal will be up and running in April. For the sake of our Veterans and their families we hope that allows the Navy to begin settling the thousands of claims that have been filed.
One way to resolve these claims is to follow what is done in the mass tort arena. The two sides can get together and establish tables or litigation criteria for the different kinds of cancers and illnesses. Sometimes a point system will be used where points are assigned to each claim based upon the litigation criteria established. Cases are then settled based upon a point system with allowances made for unique facts of any given case. This has worked well in mass tort litigation and we hope a similar process will be implemented by the Department of the Navy so it can begin settling the large backlog of CLJA claims.
March 30, 2023:
What to Expect in April, 2023
As we told you in a recent update, a spokesperson for the Department of the Navy indicated she expects the Navy’s litigation portal to be up and running in April. That will allow the JAG to accept medical records and other supporting documentation from Camp Lejeune victims for the first time since the CLJA was passed.
Camp Lejeune victims and their attorneys should be collecting medical records, medical billing statements and service records now so that documentation is available when requested by the JAG.
March 29, 2023:
The Department of the Navy has not yet started to accept medical records and other documentation supporting victims’ CLJA claims. The Navy has been telling us that its litigation portal is not yet up and running. A litigation portal will allow medical records and other supporting documents to be forwarded to the Navy electronically.
The latest news is that the Camp Lejeune litigation portal should be up and running, at least in some capacity, in April, 2023. We hope this is the first step taken by the Navy to start settling some of the CLJA claims that have been filed before formal litigation is commenced. There have already been over 200 lawsuits filed in Federal Court after the six-month administrative period expired and the number of lawsuits filed is expected to greatly increase in the next few months.
As of today, no claims filed under the CLJA have been settled and to the best of our knowledge no offers have been extended by the Navy. That was clearly not the intent of Congress when the CLJA was passed on a bipartisan basis. Hopefully with the Navy’s litigation portal up and running, both sides can sit down and work together on getting these cases resolved in the best interests of the Marines, their family members and others who were victims of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
March 27, 2024:
Letter of Perfection
What is a Letter of Perfection? A Letter of Perfection is acknowledgement by the Department of the Navy that the CLJA administrative claim form has been filled out correctly on behalf of the Camp Lejeune victim. If there are any technical errors in the way the administrative claim form has been filled out, the Department of the Navy will not issue a Letter of Perfection but instead will require that the claim form be corrected and refiled.
The Department of the Navy has started to send out Letters of Perfection on those claims that were filed shortly after the CLJA was enacted in August, 2022. A Letter of Perfection does not mean that the Department of the Navy is acknowledging that your claim is valid. Similarly, a Letter of Perfection does not mean that the Department of the Navy has settled your claim or is attempting to settle your claim. A Letter of Perfection simply means that the Department of the Navy has acknowledge that your administrative claim form has been prepared correctly and does not have to be refiled.
March 24, 2023:
Some Good News
The first Camp Lejeune status conference is set to be conducted on April 5, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. The status conference will be conducted in Judge Dever’s Court.
This will be an opportunity for the Court to give direction on how it wants lawsuits filed under the CLJA handled. There will be many more status conferences and hearings to come.
Last night there was a joint motion filed with the DOJ with the hope of giving some early direction on how cases filed under the CLJA will proceed.
March 22, 2023:
Statute of Limitations
We recently received a call from a woman whose husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune and passed away from cancer 16 years ago. She told us that she did not think a claim could be made because her husband passed away so long ago but was calling to see if there was anything we could do to help.
This is a common misunderstanding by people. The CLJA specifically precluded the government from raising the statute of limitations as a defense in any case like the one our caller described. The CLJA allows claims to date back as far as 1953 for people who were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for not less than 30 days beginning on August 1, 1953.
The only statute of limitations referenced in the CLJA provides that a claim under the CLJA may not be commenced after the later of (A) the date that is two years after the date of enactment of this Act or the date that is 180 days after the date on which the claim is denied.
If you think you may have a claim under the CLJA but are concerned about the statute of limitations, call a lawyer you trust who can answer any questions you may have. There is a good chance that your claim may not be barred by the statute of limitations just as was the case with our caller above.
March 15, 2023:
False Camp Lejeune Claims
Law firms and/or their marketing agencies continue to make claims of Camp Lejeune settlements. Those claims are false. There have been no Camp Lejeune settlements so far.
Here is where we are. The six-month administrative period has run for those who filed soon after the CLJA was enacted. Approximately 200 of those CLJA claimants have now filed a lawsuit in Federal Court. The lawsuits were only recently filed and it is too early for there to have been any movement on the Federal lawsuits.
If you receive advertising of any kind either stating or implying that there have been Camp Lejeune settlements, our advice is that you do not respond to this advertising. Instead, contact an attorney in your state who handles Camp Lejeune claims who you trust to review your claim and provide you with accurate advice.
March 1, 2023
Lawsuits Continue To Be Filed
Claimants who filed their administrative claim as soon as the CLJA went into effect are now able to file their civil lawsuits. This is because the Department of the Navy made no effort to resolve these claims within the six-month period after they were filed.
Almost 200 lawsuits have been filed since February 10, 2023 and this number is expected to increase significantly in the next few months. Unfortunately the government still has not implemented a portal to accept and review medical records, service records and other supporting documents. Now that more lawsuits are being filed almost daily, it is expected that the Department of the Navy will become more responsive to claims being submitted under the CLJA.
February 20, 2023:
In our last update we told you that the six-month administrative period has now expired for the earliest Camp Lejeune claims filed. This has resulted in over 100 Camp Lejeune lawsuits already filed, with thousands more on the way as the six-month administrative period expires on more and more Camp Lejeune claims filed.
A spokesperson for the Department of the Navy has stated that approximately 20,000 administrative claims have already been filed. In the next week alone we expect many more lawsuits to be filed. While the Department of the Navy has promised to resolve claims filed under the CLJA “as fairly, thoroughly, and expeditiously as possible,” none of the approximately 20,000 claims filed has yet been settled. We hope that with the filing of lawsuits under the CLJA the Department of the Navy will begin to follow through on its promise to settle CLJA claims fairly and expeditiously.
February 10, 2023:
Important Update – Six Month Administrative Period Over for Many Camp Lejeune Victims
As we have stated many times in our updates, the CLJA requires all Camp Lejeune victims to give the Department of the Navy a six-month administrative period to review and settle all CLJA claims before a lawsuit can be filed. When filing the administrative claim, the acknowledgement received from the Department of the Navy states that it is “committed to resolving all claims related to this matter in a fair and timely manner.” In fact, the government represented to the Court in its motion to dismiss the Legacy claims that the six-month administrative period was necessary so that the government could review its exposure on each claim before a lawsuit was filed.
Unfortunately the government has done absolutely nothing to review and/or settle any CLJA claim during the six-month administrative period. The six-month administrative period is now over for the Camp Lejeune victims who filed their administrative claim as soon as the CLJA was enacted. That means that the District Court responsible for hearing CLJA claims will immediately be inundated with new lawsuits. Some in Congress have already called out the government for not promoting the spirit of the CLJA by trying to resolve as many as cases as possible during the six-month administrative period. We expect that the District Court Judges responsible for handling these cases will be equally disappointed with the government’s lack of initiative in at least attempting to settle CLJA claims during the six-month administrative period.
The bottom line is that the JAG has not settled any CLJA claims and in fact has not even requested service records, medical records and other supporting documentation. However, if you believe you have a valid claim under the CLJA, or would like us to review your claim, do not let the government’s lack of initiative in settling claims during the administrative period discourage you. Eventually the government will have to start settling these claims. If they do not, we can expect to see trials resulting in very large monetary awards for Camp Lejeune victims.
January 27, 2023:
Still no settlements on claims filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
More than five months has passed since the CLJA went into effect. Still no claims have been settled by the JAG or Department of Navy. Veterans and others are becoming frustrated with the lack of progress.
Rep. Takano previously stated “I encourage the Navy and Department of Justice to act swiftly and honorably to address these wrongs, because all Veterans and family members living with the effects of toxic exposure should have the opportunity to seek justice.” That was the intent behind passage of the CLJA but so far we have not seen any swift movement by the government to settle these claims.
If you are thinking about pursuing a claim under the CLJA, but are discouraged by the lack of any CLJA settlements so far, our advice is to contact an attorney you trust and feel comfortable with. If the lawyer believes you have a case worth pursuing under the CLJA, then you should pursue it. We expect the government to begin acting on these claims soon in an effort to address the backlog of claims that have been filed. The court is not equipped to handle many thousands of claims because the government did not advantage of the six-month administrative period to resolve claims.
January 16, 2023:
Second Set of Cases Dismissed
A small second group of cases filed under the CLJA have now been dismissed. It is important to understand that this will NOT in anyway affect your CLJA claim.
See our January 6, 2023 update to see what happened with the original dismissal. The second set of cases were dismissed for the same reason. All of the cases dismissed were Camp Lejeune cases that were filed years ago and the attorneys handling these cases took the position that because these cases had been previously filed, they did not have to comply with the 6-month administrative provision of the CLJA. The government argued that compliance with the 6-month administrative provision was a necessary condition to be complied with before suit was filed because the six-month provision gave the Department of the Navy an opportunity to analyze their liability and attempt to settle claims before suit was filed.
The Court found that compliance with the six-month administrative provision, before filing suit, benefits all parties. The six-month provision benefits Camp Lejeune claimants because it gives them an opportunity to settle their case before having to file a formal lawsuit. Second, the six-month provision benefits the government because it gives the government an opportunity to assess its litigation risk and make a good faith attempt to settle claims before suit is filed. Third, the six-month provision benefits the Court because the Court has an interest in seeing that a “flood of lawsuits” are not filed.
The parties that had their claims dismissed can still refile their claim under the CLJA. They simply have to start from scratch and file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy like many of us have already done.
January 6, 2023:
Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Dismissed?
You may have read that some Camp Lejeune lawsuits were recently dismissed “without prejudice.” This will NOT effect your claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The Judge’s dismissal relates to Camp Lejeune cases that were filed and dismissed years ago. When the CLJA was enacted, lawyers representing claimants in these older cases that were previously dismissed took the position that they did not have to comply with the six-month administrative provision of the CLJA. The Judge ruled that this was an incorrect interpretation of the CLJA and that all Camp Lejeune claimants, including those claimants who had their case dismissed years ago, must comply with the six-month administrative provision before filing a lawsuit.
We believe that the Court’s decision was technically correct. However, we also believe that the Department of the Navy (JAG) could have reviewed these claims and made a good faith effort to settle them before a filing a motion to dismiss.
It has been almost five months since the CLJA was enacted and the Department of the Navy has not settled a single claim. This is exceedingly frustrating and is not what Congress intended when it passed the CLJA.
January 4, 2023:
Volatile Organic Compounds
The toxic elements found in the Camp Lejeune water supply are generically referred to as volatile organic compounds. These compounds can vaporize, especially when exposed to heat, and contaminate the air breathed by those stationed at Camp Lejeune.
The vaporization of volatile organic compounds at Camp Lejeune is still under scientific study. A vapor intrusion report is expected to be released this summer and could have a major impact on future Camp Lejeune claims.
December 28, 2022:
Your age at the time you were diagnosed with a Camp Lejeune illness
In our latest updates we have been discussing factors that will impact how much your claim under the CLJA is worth.
As a general rule, we believe that the younger your age at the time you were diagnosed with your Camp Lejeune illness, and the greater your life expectancy, the more your case will be worth. There are many exceptions to this general rule keeping in mind that it is too early for anyone to know exactly what your CLJA claim is worth. If you live in Wisconsin and believe you have a claim under the CLJA, we recommend that you contact a Wisconsin Camp Lejeune attorney. As mentioned before on our website, we believe it is important that you work with an attorney you feel comfortable with and where you will not be treated like another number. Here we are on a first-name basis with all our clients.
December 19, 2022:
Length of time exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune
In our last update, we listed factors that can impact the value of your claim under the CLJA. One such factor is the length of time you were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
The longer you were stationed at Camp Lejeune and/or exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, the stronger your case will be. As long as you were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, you qualify to make a claim under the CLJA. However, if you were only exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune for a couple of months, it will be more difficult to establish a causal relationship between the exposure to toxic water and your eventual illness.
However, even if you were stationed at Camp Lejeune for only a short period of time, you should still seriously consider filing a claim under the CLJA. The length of time you were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune is only one factor to consider in evaluating your claim. We will discuss additional factors that impact the value of your claim in our next few updates.
December 16, 2022:
How are cases under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act valued?
Because the Department of the Navy has not even started to accept medical records and other supporting documents, no one can know how cases filed under the CLJA will be valued by the government. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are either guessing or being untruthful.
Some factors we believe will have an impact on the value of your Camp Lejeune claim include the length of time you were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune, how strong the causal connection is between your illness and the exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune based upon expert studies conducted, how old you were when diagnosed with your Camp Lejeune illness and what your future medical prognosis is.
We will expand on this in more detail in our next few updates.
December 15, 2022:
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act does not affect your eligibility for VA benefits
There is still a lot of confusion whether filing a claim under the CLJA will negatively impact any VA benefits you may be receiving. VA benefits will not be affected by filing a claim or lawsuit under the CLJA. Your recovery under the CLJA may be reduced by the VA disability benefits paid and we may be able to negotiate the amount of any reduction claimed.
The VA did establish what is referred to as presumptive conditions related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Presumptive conditions include:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Adult Leukemia
- Liver Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Aplastic Anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
There are many other illnesses which we believe will qualify for compensation under the CLJA. If you have any questions regarding whether a particular illness will qualify for compensation under the CLJA, please contact us by phone or by using our Contact Form. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
December 13, 2022:
CLJA 30-day requirement
As most people know, there is a requirement that you be exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days before you are eligible to file a claim under the CLJA.
We were just asked whether 30 days must be 30 “consecutive” days. The answer to that is No. Exposure to the toxic water must be a total of 30 days during the relevant time period, those 30 days do not need to be consecutive days.
December 12, 2022:
There have been no Camp Lejeune settlements as of today
People continue to ask whether there have been any settlements under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Some people have actually received text messages representing that there have been settlements under the CLJA or that they have a case that has been settled. This is incorrect information arising out of a lack of knowledge, unethical marketing or both.
There have been no settlements under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act as of today. The Department of the Navy is still working on implementing a portal that will accept personnel records, medical records and billing statements and other documentation that may be necessary to support your CLJA claim.
Once the Department of the Navy begins to settle cases under the CLJA, we will let you know!
December 9, 2022:
How to obtain your DD-214
As mentioned in yesterday’s update, obtaining a copy of your DD-214 will assist in providing proof that you or your loved one was stationed at Camp Lejeune. If the Veteran who was exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune is deceased, the next of kin can request the DD-214.
To request the DD-214 online, visit this page, click ‘Launch the eVetRecs system to start your request Online’, and answer the questions. It is important to note that you cannot submit the form online. When you are done filing out the form online, print the form, sign it and fax the form to 314-801-9195. If our clients do not have a fax machine, they can forward the signed form to us and we can fax it to the National Archives.
If you need help obtaining the DD-214, you can call 888-777-4443 for help.
December 8, 2022:
Military Records to support your claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
A question we often get from our clients is how can they prove that they, or their deceased loved one, was stationed at Camp Lejeune.
Anyone interested in filing a claim under the CLJA should request a copy of the DD-214 through the National Archives. Requests for the DD-214 must be signed and dated by the Veteran, or if the Veteran is now deceased the Veteran’s next of kin. If you are the next of kin of a deceased Veteran, you will have to provide proof that the Veteran is now deceased. The strongest proof you can provide is a copy of the Death Certificate.
Tomorrow we will update you on how to obtain a copy of the DD-214.
December 7, 2022:
How to prove future medical expenses under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Some Camp Lejeune victims will require future medical care to treat their illness due to their exposure to the poisonous water at Camp Lejeune. Evidentiary rules do not allow you to come into Court and testify that you think you will need medical care in the future. Instead, you will need a health care professional (usually a medical doctor) to offer testimony that he or she is of the expert opinion that you will require future medical treatment as a result of your exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Your doctor will also be required to render an expert opinion on the type of future medical care that will be required, the extent of the future medical care and the approximate cost of such care. Occasionally, a representative from the hospital’s billing department will have to testify regarding the cost of specific treatment.
A claim for future medical expenses can be an important part of your case. It is important that you hire an experienced injury attorney who will obtain the necessary medical proof to support a claim.
December 6, 2022:
Unethical lawyers soliciting clients by way of text messaging
We are hearing complaints that lawyers are soliciting clients for claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act by way of unwanted text messages. In fact, we heard that one woman received 70 such text messages and did not even know what the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was.
Lawyers should not solicit clients by way of unwanted text messaging. Our best advice to you is that if you receive unwanted Camp Lejeune text messages, you should ignore those messages. Instead, look for an attorney you can trust. We never seek clients by way of text messages and we do not engage in any of the ridiculous non-stop advertising you see on TV. Instead, we provide educational information on our website about the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and we leave it up to each potential client to decide whether or not they wish to contact us.
December 5, 2022:
How to Prove Past Medical Expenses Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Proving your past medical expenses under the CLJA is relatively easy. At least at the administrative stage, where all CLJA claims are now, this can be done by submitting certified billing records from your health care provider(s). The past medical bills submitted must be for treatment of the illness caused by your exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and not bills incurred for any unrelated reason.
In tomorrow’s update we will discuss how to prove your claim for future medical expenses under the CLJA.
December 2, 2022:
How loss of future earning capacity is proved under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
If your Camp Lejeune related illness prevents you from going back to work in the future, or prevents you from going back to work at the same job you had before your illness, you may have a significant claim for loss of future earning capacity under the CLJA.
In order to prove your claim for loss of future earning capacity under the CLJA, your lawyer will need to work closely with a number of expert witnesses. First, your lawyer will need to obtain evidence from your treating physician that you are not medically able to return to work or that you are able to return to work but not in the same capacity as before your illness. A vocational loss expert will also be needed to offer evidence as to your capacity to earn before your illness and the extent to which your earning capacity has been diminished. Often an economist will also be needed to express the extent of your loss in a specific dollar amount.
An experienced personal injury attorney can properly present your claim for loss of future earning capacity under the CLJA. Make sure you retain a lawyer who is both experienced and someone you feel comfortable working with.
November 30, 2022:
How past loss of income is proved under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
In addition to pain and suffering we discussed in yesterday’s update, anyone filing a claim under the CLJA is entitled to be compensated for past lost wages.
Proving past lost wages is more straight forward than proving pain and suffering. Typically, an individual from the employer’s Human Resource Department, or other individual familiar with your past wages, can quantify the wages you lost as a result of illness and/or treatment for your cancer or other condition caused by your exposure to the Camp Lejeune toxic water. You can also be compensated for any lost raises or other benefits you did not receive because of protracted illness or time away from work. If you lost your job because of your absences from work due to any illness caused by exposure to toxic water at Lejeune, you can be compensated for all such lost income until you obtain a job of equal or greater pay.
It is important that your lawyer gets to know you so that your lawyer can make a claim for all components of your claim for past lost wages.
November 29, 2022:
How future pain and suffering is proved under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
If symptoms from your Camp Lejeune related illness will continue into the future, you may then have a claim for future pain and suffering under the CLJA.
To properly present your claim for future pain and suffering, your lawyer will need to obtain the proper supporting evidence from one or more of your treating physicians. The physician will offer evidence that you symptoms and/or disability from your Camp Lejeune illness will continue for a specific period of time into the future or will be permanent. This will allow you to seek compensation for pain and suffering you will experience in the future.
November 28, 2022:
How past pain and suffering is proved under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Pain and suffering is one of the most important damage components in a claim filed under the CLJA. But how do you prove pain and suffering so that it translates into a significant settlement award or jury verdict?
The pain and suffering someone has gone through as a result of exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune can be demonstrated in different ways. First, medical treatment records can help establish the pain and suffering an individual has endured while being treated for his or her illness. Second, testimony from one or more treating doctors can help the government, or the jury if the case is tried, understand the pain and suffering a victim has gone through. Third, testimony from a victim’s family member or close friend can be a powerful way to paint a picture of the pain and suffering a victim has endured as a result of the cancer or other illness contracted by the toxic water at Lejeune. Last, testimony from the victim himself or herself is important in developing the pain and suffering component of your CLJA claim.
No two cases are the same. It is important that you and your lawyer establish a good rapport with one another so that your lawyer fully understands how your illness has impacted your life. Make sure the law firm you select treats you like the individual you are and not like a number or just another client.
November 23, 2022:
The party filing a claim under the CLJA has what is referred to as burden of proof. Burden of proof is an important legal concept as it determines how much evidence is necessary to win your case.
For example, in a criminal case the prosecutor must prove the State’s case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a normal civil case in Wisconsin, whether it be a car accident claim, premises liability or other civil action, the burden of proof is that the injured party must prove his or her case by the greater weight of the credible evidence. This is often described as requiring the injured party to tip the scales of evidence ever so slightly in his or her favor.
The burden of proof for anyone filing a claim under the CLJA is that the evidence must be sufficient to conclude that a casual relationship is at least as likely or not. This is referred to as the evidence being in equipoise. This is an important legal concept and makes it easier for anyone filing a claim under the CLJA to prove his or her claim than it would be when filing a traditional civil action.
If you are thinking about filing a CLJA claim, but are uncertain if you can prove that exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune was a cause of your illness, we strongly recommend that you contact a lawyer you trust. Because the burden of proof in a CLJA claim is lower than in an ordinary civil action, it may be easier than you think to prove that exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune is at least as likely or not to have caused your illness.
November 21, 2022:
Generally in civil litigation the injured party seeks to collect compensatory damages. Compensatory damages consist of claims for medical expenses, past wage loss, future loss of earnings, past pain and suffering and any other damages designed to compensate the plaintiff so as to make him or her whole.
Where the conduct of the defendant is particularly egregious, the injured party may also have a claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for his or her egregious conduct. An example of when punitive damages may be awarded is where a defendant has a history of multiple OWIs but chooses to once again operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and in doing so severely injures a third party. In such a case, a jury may be able to award the defendant punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
The drafters of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act made it clear in the Act itself that a claim for punitive damages may not be brought under the CLJA. Anyone who does qualify to bring a claim under the CLJA may still be entitled to significant compensation for compensatory damages. Call a trusted Camp Lejeune lawyer today to find out whether you may qualify for an award of significant monetary compensation.
November 18, 2022:
Statute of Limitations
Statute of limitations refers to the time period by which a claim must be brought or the right to bring that claim is lost.
A claim under the CLJA may not be brought after the later of the date that is two years after the date of enactment of the CLJA (August 10, 2022), or the date that is 180 days after the date on which the claim is denied by the Department of the Navy.
If you are considering filing a claim under the CLJA, you should contact legal counsel you are comfortable with as soon as possible. There is nothing to be gained by waiting until the Statute of Limitations approaches and doing so can make it difficult for your attorney to properly present you claim.
November 17, 2022:
More than 8000 claims filed
A client recently asked how many claims have been filed so far under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. We did some checking. The latest figure from the Department of the Navy is that more than 8000 claims have been filed under the CLJA. Many more claims will be filed.
We hope all Veterans, family members and civilians who qualify will file a claim under the CLJA for the compensation they deserve. Some Veterans are not filing claims because they are upset with the incessant lawyer advertising. Our advice is that if you do not like the advertising, find yourself another law firm to represent you. Do not miss the compensation you are entitled to because of bad advertising you have no control over.
November 16, 2022:
Yesterday 13 senators introduced the Senate’s version of the Guard Act. This would impose criminal penalties and/or fines on anyone directly or indirectly soliciting, charging or receiving unauthorized fees or compensation with regard to any claim for Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits. The House bill (H.R. 8736) was previously introduced and now has 101 co-sponsors.
Congress is scrutinizing Camp Lejeune advertising especially as it relates to recovery of Veterans benefits. Veterans benefits are separate and distinct from a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and is permitted only if the attorney is authorized to do so by the VA. The Guard Act is not expected to be passed until some time next year when the 118th Congress is sworn in on January 3, 2023.
November 15, 2022:
The Department of the Navy Has Not Set Aside Specific Settlement Amounts
Many of our Camp Lejeune callers are under the impression that the government has set aside specific dollar settlements for each of the different illnesses that have been linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This idea probably arises from some of the misleading attorney advertising that people are seeing.
While some settlements may serve as a rough guide to the amount subsequent cases are settled for, each case will be decided on its own facts. In response to Camp Lejeune claims we have already filed, the Department of the Navy has stated that “decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by an independent adjudicator in light of all the facts and circumstances.” It is important that your attorney understand all of the facts involving your particular case and how your illness from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune impacted your life and the life of your family. Your attorney, or the law firm you are working with, should never make you feel that you are just another number.
November 10, 2022:
Today the United States Marine Corps celebrates its 247th birthday. On this day, and every day, we thank all Marines, Veterans and active members of the military for their service.
It is being reported that some Marines who may be eligible to pursue a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act are not doing so because they are disgusted with all of the attorney advertising they see. The CLJA was passed by Congress for one reason; to provide compensation for Marines and their family members and anyone else exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. On this 247th anniversary, we urge all who may be eligible to pursue their claim for long-overdue compensation. Find a law firm in your state you trust and give them a call. It is unfortunate that the advertising by some TV lawyers has resulted in some Marines not pursuing the compensation they deserve.
November 9, 2022:
No Camp Lejeune Cases Have Settled
Many Marines are reporting that they receive unwanted emails and text messages from lawyers regarding the Camp Lejeune litigation. One Marine reported receiving at least 50 emails a day from law firms for the Camp Lejeune litigation. Many of the unwanted lawyer solicitations contain a headline saying their case has already been settled. That is false and these lawyers should be disciplined.
As of this date no claims filed under the CLJA have yet been settled. We recommend that you stay away from law firms engaged in mass solicitations containing false information. Consider hiring an experienced lawyer in the State where you reside and who you can trust to provide you with accurate information.
November 7, 2022:
How Lawyers Handling Camp Lejeune Claims Are Paid
Most, if not all, lawyers handling claims under the CLJA are working under a Contingency Fee Agreement. While Contingency Fee Agreements can differ, generally lawyers are agreeing to handle CLJA claims for a percentage of the total settlement. Law firms differ on the percentage they charge.
This morning we were contacted by someone from Beloit, Wisconsin. Before contacting us, he contacted an out-of-state law firm who was charging a 40 percent contingency fee plus an hourly rate for investigative work. While an hourly fee combined with a contingency fee is unusual, many law firms are handling CLJA claims on a 40 percent contingency fee basis.
Make sure you understand the law firm’s Contingency Fee Agreement before signing it. You should know the percentage they are charging and whether you are responsible for any costs or fees if the law firm fails to obtain a monetary recovery for you. If you do not feel comfortable with the law firm you contact, that is a good sign that you should begin to look for another firm to handle your claim.
November 4, 2022:
Other Potential Illnesses Related to Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune
In our last two updates we discussed Level 1 and Level 2 illnesses clearly caused by exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. In addition to the Level 1 and Level 2 illnesses, anyone exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days may be required to make a claim under the CLJA for the following illnesses:
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Birth Defects
- Ovarian Cancer
This is not intended to be inclusive of all illnesses for which a claim can be made under the CLJA. If you were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days and suffered a significant illness, please give us a call or use our Contact Form and we will be happy to discuss with you whether we believe you have a claim under the CLJA.
November 2, 2022:
In yesterday’s update, we talked about Tier 1 illnesses. Tier 1 illnesses are those illnesses such as kidney cancer and liver cancer that have the strongest causal link to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune. These are the easiest illnesses to prove in making a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Level 2 or Tier 2 illnesses also have a strong causal connection to exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. The causal connection of the Tier 2 illnesses to the water at Camp Lejeune is not quite as strong as the connection for Tier 1 illnesses discussed in yesterday’s update. However, if you or a loved one were diagnosed with a Level 2 illness, and were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, we believe you may still have a good claim for significant compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The following illnesses are considered Level 2 illnesses when pursuing a claim under the CLJA:
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Neurobehavioral Effects
- Female Infertility
- Breast Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Aplastic Anemia
Scientific studies are still ongoing and what is considered a Level 2 illness today may become a Level 1 illness. If you or a loved one were diagnosed with either a Level 1 or Level 2 illness, and were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, we would be honored to talk to you about pursuing a claim under the CLJA. You can contact us by phone or by using our Contact Form. You will find us very easy to talk to.
November 1, 2022:
Illnesses That Are Most Closely Tied to Exposure To Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
This is a question we receive all the time. Illnesses we are questioned about range from cancers of all kind, neurologic disorders and cognitive disabilities.
Scientific studies tie certain illnesses more closely to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune than other illnesses. The illnesses with the strongest causal relation to exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune are referred to as “Tier 1” illnesses. Based on the scientific studies to date, the following illnesses generally fall in the category of Tier 1 illnesses:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Liver Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Major Cardiac Birth Defects
- Parkinson Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Systemic Sclerosis/Scleroderma
Tomorrow we will discuss Tier 2 illnesses. Tier 2 illnesses are still supported by the scientific evidence as being casually related to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune but the causal link is not as strong as it is for Tier 1 illnesses.
October 28, 2022:
While estimates vary, we do know that well over 6000 claims have already been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and that number will increase dramatically in the next weeks and months.
It is believed that up to 1 million people may have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. If you were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days, and developed cancer or other serious illness, there is no reason not to call an attorney and obtain an expert opinion on whether you may qualify for a substantial money award under the CLJA.
October 26, 2022:
A Claim Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is Separate and Distinct from a Claim for VA Benefits.
If you are already receiving VA benefits, you are still entitled to pursue a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Many callers have told us they mistakenly thought they had no claim under the CLJA because they have been receiving VA benefits for many years.
Apparently some lawyers are advertising for recovery of VA benefits as part of their Camp Lejeune advertising. A Bill, called the Guard Act, has been introduced to impose criminal penalties and/or fines on attorneys who are improperly soliciting claims seeking VA benefits. The Bill introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 8736 had 78 co-sponsors and the bipartisan bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate.
We are all tired of the Camp Lejeune TV advertising. Many of these advertisers are national marketing firms attempting to sign clients from anywhere in the country. We are a Wisconsin firm and take pride in representing Wisconsin Veterans and their family members who were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and seek to file a claim under the newly passed Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
October 25, 2022:
Personnel Records, Federal Employment Records, Service Records for Camp Lejeune Justice Act
We have just received notice that the Department of the Navy, the Department of Justice and the National Personnel Records Center are working together to find a solution to gathering personnel and federal employment records for those filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA). The National Personnel Records Center is reporting that they have now received thousands of requests for records from CLJA claimants seeking to substantiate their CLJA claim.
We have also been informed that it is not possible for The National Archives and Records Administration to respond to the volume of record requests received in the time needed for initial filing of CLJA claims. In order to expedite the claims process, the Department of the Navy states it is not requiring claimants to provide military personnel and/or federal employment records at this time. Records needed for substantiating the claim “may be requested at a later time on a case by case basis based on the Navy’s evaluation of the claim.” Where substantiation is needed, we will be notified to provide substantiating documents to the Department of the Navy and the claimant and their attorney can work with the National Archives and Records Administration to obtain records as needed to substantiate their claim.
The backlog in responding to records requests is due to the large number of claims already filed under the CLJA. If you or a loved one even think you may have a claim under the CLJA, we would be honored if you contacted us. We can answer any questions you have and let you know whether you may have a claim for substantial compensation.
October 20, 2022:
What We Heard From The Department of the Navy so Far.
Claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act are initially filed with The Department of the Navy. The Navy is presently understaffed to handle the number of claims being filed. The Navy has also informed us that due to the large number of claims filed, it can not tell us how long it will take to process claims.
On a brighter note, in response to claims we have filed in other cases, The Department of the Navy replied stating that “The Navy is committed to resolving all claims related to this matter in a fair and timely manner.” That is reason for optimism and we hope the Navy honors this commitment to Veterans and their families.
Currently, the Navy has told us that it does not want us to file medical records or military records and that these documents will be requested at a later date. We are currently gathering medical records and military records so that we are prepared to move our cases forward when this information is requested by the Navy.
The Navy has also let us know that each claim filed under the CLJA will be reviewed independently and on a case by case basis. This is not a class action.
October 18, 2022:
If I file a Claim Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, Will I Lose The VA Benefits I am Receiving?
We have addressed this question before but because it continues to be a concern for many people we will address it again. Just today we received a call from a prospective client who would like to file a claim because of the death of her husband who was exposed to toxic water but was concerned she might lose the VA benefits she is receiving.
You will not lose your VA benefits by filing a claim under the CLJA. The amount of the award you receive under the CLJA may be offset by VA payments you have received but we still expect victims of water contamination to come out ahead by filing under the CLJA even if there is an offset. You can always refuse to accept an award under the CLJA if you feel you are better off continuing to receive VA benefits only. We do not think that will be the case.
October 17, 2022:
What Damages Am I Entitled to Claim Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
We get this question from callers all the time. Anyone meeting the criteria to file a claim under the CLJA is entitled to make a claim for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and any other form of compensatory damages sustained as a result of exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. There is no predetermined amount that will be paid for any given injury. Each case is decided on its own unique facts.
October 14, 2022:
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) was signed on August 10, 2022. You have two years from the date the CLJA was signed to file your claim. If you miss that deadline, you lose the right to file a claim under the Act. However, you should think about hiring a lawyer now rather than later.
If you wait, you run the risk of missing the deadline to file.
Many claims are being filed each day. No one wants to be at the end of the line and have any recovery they are entitled to delayed.
The sooner you contact a knowledgeable attorney, the sooner that attorney can begin to assemble all of the supporting documents you will need to obtain a favorable recovery.
October 11, 2022:
The latest information as of today is that approximately 6,000 cases have been filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act since it was passed on August 10, 2022. The claims have been filed with the Department of the Navy or more specifically the Judge Advocate General.
JAG is understaffed and has only 10 attorneys handling these claims at this time. That will have to change given the enormous number of claims expected to be filed. However, this is the latest information as it exists today.
October 10, 2022:
We were asked today by a potential client whether the Camp Lejeune litigation is a class action. This is an excellent question. Many people, including some lawyers, are under the misconception that when you file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, you will be part of a class action.
Claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act are not class action claims. Each claim is handled on an individual basis and is presented on its own merits. An early motion to consolidate was denied. Eventually an order will be issued by the Court to streamline discovery and to ease the burden on the Judges assigned to hear these claims. However, each claim will be considered on an individual basis and the value of the case will be driven strongly by the facts unique to each particular case.
October 7, 2022:
Many Marines and their family members are sick of the non-stop Camp Lejeune TV attorneys or their marketers.
Veterans and their family members tell us the TV attorneys are “obnoxious” and “hokey.” Two days ago a retired Marine told us he was so sick of the Camp Lejeune TV attorneys that he actually turned his TV off to get away for the attorney ads.
We believe the non-stop attorney ads are demeaning to the legal profession and disrespectful to our Veterans and their families. The Justice Act was passed to help Veterans and their families, not to help attorneys and their TV marketers.
You will not find us on TV. We devote our time and attention to helping those Veterans and family members who contact us, not on making TV commercials.
October 6, 2022:
How long do I have to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Act requires that claims be filed within two years after the date the Act was passed. The Act was passed on August 10, 2022.
If you intend to seek the compensation you deserve under the Act, you should not wait to file your claim. The earlier you file your claim, the sooner the Department of the Navy will act on the claim and the sooner you will receive your compensation if you qualify.
October 5, 2022:
Why is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act so important to Veterans and their family members who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 – 1987?
Before the Act was passed on August 10, 2022, the controlling law prohibited Veterans or their family members from filing a claim due to exposure to contaminated water because of the passage of time. This law worked much like a statute of limitations.
The 2022 Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows Veterans and family members who were turned down, or who were prohibited from filing a claim, to now file a claim where they may receive significant compensation.
Any Veteran, family member or other person who was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, and who developed cancer or other serious illness, should strongly consider filing a claim for significant compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Act was created to help compensate for harm caused to Veterans and their family members and we believe everyone who qualifies should take advantage of the Act. That is why it was overwhelmingly passed by both Democrats and Republicans.
October 3, 2022:
It is important to remember that even if you filed for disability or other benefits before the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed, and you were denied benefits, you may still have a valid claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides a very broad form of compensation and you may be entitled to compensation under the Act even if you have been denied benefits in the past.
If you have any questions about whether you qualify to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, just give us a call or use our Contact form. We will be happy to answer your questions and we are always easy to talk to.
September 29, 2022:
Will you have to go to Court if you file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Although there are no guarantees in litigation, we believe that most claimants who file a claim under the Act will never have to go to Court. The Department of the Navy is handling the Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims. We recently received a reply from the Department of the Navy stating that it is “committed to resolving all claims related to this matter in a fair and timely manner.” We have no reason to doubt what the Department of the Navy is telling us.
The bottom line is that if we file a claim on your behalf under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, in all probability you will never have to go to Court.
September 28, 2022:
We are asked over and over again whether a Veteran and/or the Veteran’s family can file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act if they have already received VA disability benefits.
The answer is YES. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act creates a claim that is separate and distinct from any disability benefits you may have been awarded.
September 27, 2022:
Why are so many Marines upset about the Camp Lejeune attorney advertising?
It is almost impossible to turn on your television without hearing some attorney, or their marketing company, tell you how they can handle your Camp Lejeune water contamination case. Many current and former Marines are very upset about all of this advertising. Many Marines believe the attorney advertising is much too aggressive. Many Marines also believe the Camp Lejeune attorney advertising is in bad taste.
What many Marines do not know is that a lot of the advertising they see, on television or the internet, is produced by marketing companies. The marketing company will take the Marine’s personal information and sell that as a “lead” to a law firm that hires them.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was overwhelmingly passed by both Democrats and Republicans. The purpose behind the Act is to compensate Marines and their family members who were innocently exposed to contaminated water and then harmed a second time by a government coverup. The Act was not intended as an advertising mechanism for attorneys.
At Mingo & Yankala, S.C. our goal is to help Marines and their families by educating them about the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. We do not pay Camp Lejeune marketing companies. Instead we focus on representing Wisconsin residents and their families who have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and who contact us after reviewing the informative information about Camp Lejeune on our website. We are on a first-name basis with all of our clients and we take the time to learn the unique story each of our clients have to tell.
September 20, 2022:
It is not necessary that you actually lived on the Camp Lejeune Marine Base in order to file a valid claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The requirement is simply that you were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune regardless of whether you actually lived on the base. Exposure to the water can be through drinking the water, cooking with the contaminated water, showering or any other activity that placed you in contact with the contaminated water.
September 9, 2022:
We were recently contacted by a woman whose husband contracted cancer as a result of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune but who passed away 10 years ago. She wanted to know whether a claim could still be made even though her husband passed away many years ago.
The answer is Yes, a wrongful death claim can be pursued. We have now been retained by the woman who contacted us with this question and we will immediately begin collecting relevant medical records so that the claim can be submitted at the earliest possible date.
September 5, 2022:
We continue to be asked whether you, or a family member, had to be in the Marines in order to file a claim for compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The answer is No. Anyone, military or civilian, who was exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is eligible to file a claim.