Lawsuit Help Desk

Camp Lejeune Lawsuits and Settlements

Was Camp Lejeune your home or place of employment between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987? Were you diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness? (See the complete list below.)

If so, let us help you determine whether you qualify to take part in the Camp Lejeune lawsuits and settlements. The U.S. Military has acknowledged that the water was tainted. Act quickly and talk to our Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers now.

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What is Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

The lawsuits regarding Camp Lejeune water contamination assert that the U.S. military base had a contaminated water supply with highly toxic industrial chemicals that could lead to cancer and other health problems. In 1982, scientists detected high levels of hazardous solvents in two wells that supplied Camp Lejeune’s drinking water.  

Hence, between 1953 and 1987, individuals who resided or worked in the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina have been exposed to water containing trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride. These are all volatile organic compounds. Prolonged exposure to this contaminated water has been linked to a higher risk of cancer, such as kidney cancer, leukemia, and multiple myeloma, as well as negative birth outcomes and other harmful health impacts.

How to File A Camp Lejeune Lawsuit?

Prospective plaintiffs who satisfy the requirements under the 2022 law, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act or CLJA, can file their civil complaint by getting in touch with a lawyer, preferably one with expertise in environmental contamination and Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Victims who want to file a lawsuit over Camp Lejeune water contamination can get help from Lawsuit Help Desk. We provide free consultations and free answers to questions from clients at Camp Lejeune. We want to help!

Plaintiffs under the CLJA must bring civil cases in the United States, specifically in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. According to the CLJA’s exclusive jurisdiction over the Lejeune water litigation granted to the Eastern District of North Carolina, this is the only open venue.

A Camp Lejeune Claim Must First Be Filed Before Lawsuit

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) requires that water contamination victims first file a claim with the Department of Navy. But if they believe the Navy payout is not enough to compensate for their pain and suffering, they are entitled to file a lawsuit for settlement.

Our leading legal advocates are helping Camp Lejeune victims with both filing claims and pursuing a lawsuit. Whether to file the lawsuit is really the victim’s decision, and our lawyers respect that.

The legal reasoning is as follows. According to Section (g) of the CLJA, all eligible plaintiffs must adhere to 28 U.S.C. 2675 before they can submit a civil action. This means that before filing a civil lawsuit, plaintiffs must first file a claim for the alleged injuries with the “relevant government agency,” which in this case is the Navy.

Regardless of whether the Navy pays the claimant or not, they must first file the claim to secure their right to a lawsuit.
While the Camp Lejeune claims are recent, the Navy is expected to pay validated claims. That would make sense given that Congress passed this law in order to ensure that deserving victims receive compensation payments. This would give victims a far quicker path to receiving financial recompense.

However, whether the settlement sums will even come close to the vast pain and suffering of the injured is highly suspect. These are individuals whose lives have been uprooted, suffering cancers and serious diseases, while for decades the Navy denied that water contamination had anything to do with the harms they suffered. Many have passed away, but their estates and survivors have a right to pursue a claim and/or a lawsuit (see below).

Our network of highly respected lawyers believe the claims will not come even close to what victims ought to receive. So the additional lawsuit and settlement option should be a real consideration for victims. And our lawyers are here to help with both Navy claim submissions and lawsuits and settlements. It’s all up to the clients’ desires.

 Camp Lejeune Claims & Lawsuits Toward Settlement Must First Be Filed Before Lawsuit By August 10, 2024

The law specifies that claims and lawsuits must be brought by August 10, 2024

But remember it takes time for our lawyers to obtain your records, to interview you, and build your case for a claim. If you’d also like to pursue a lawsuit, that takes even more time and greater effort, and close work with our leading counsel. So, if you or a loved one qualifies, it’s imperative that you contact us at your earliest convenience. 

The deadline cannot be changed. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act created a new cause of action, and that cause of action did not arise until August 10, 2022. The law also requires that federal tort claims under its provisions must be filed within two years of its August 10, 2022 effective date, namely August 10, 2024.

Hence, individuals who have experienced cancer, birth deformities, or other conditions that may have been caused by the Lejeune water must submit their claims within the two-year window. You’re welcome to contact us, because we can help with no fees to you.

How Camp Lejeune Wrongful Death Claims Work?

The recently passed CLJA law permits tort claims to be made on behalf of former Camp Lejeune residents or personnel who are currently deceased as a result of wounds caused by the contaminated water.

These cases concern wrongful death and survival claims under North Carolina law because exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune took place there. Our Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorneys give a quick summary of death claims in North Carolina in this section.

North Carolina Wrongful Death Claims

Under North Carolina law, wrongful death claims and survival actions are the two forms of tort claims that may be brought on behalf of a decedent. The Act established both causes of action.

North Carolina General Stat. According to 28A-18-2, the estate of a deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit against any individual who killed the decedent either intentionally or negligently.

Only Personal Representatives of the Deceased Can File a Wrongful Death Claim 

In contrast to other states, where any member of the decedent’s immediate family may file a wrongful death claim, North Carolina only allows the estate’s personal representative to do so. If the wrongful death claim is successful, the settlement money or other damages are given to the decedent’s heirs (not just the personal representative).

Cancer

Approximately 97% of the Camp Lejeune cohort was younger than 55 years old, and less than 6% had passed away by the end of the research. Moreover, the study revealed that the Camp Lejeune cohort had higher hazard ratios (HRs) for various mortality causes, including kidney cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, cervical cancer, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and ALS.

Short-term side effects

The short-term side effects of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) exposure at Camp Lejeune for humans can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and skin irritation. Long-term exposure to VOCs may increase the risk of cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders. Trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) were among the harmful chemicals found in the water, and scientific and medical evidence has shown that chronic exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Similarly, these include leukemia, bladder cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, multiple myeloma, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer.

Neurological disorders

Exposure to these chemicals has also been linked to neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, as well as other health problems like aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes.

Additionally, mounting scientific and medical data indicates that exposure to the dangerous substances discovered in Camp Lejeune’s water supply can cause additional ailments such as infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, birth injuries, brain injuries, cardiac defects, fatty liver disease, neurobehavioral consequences, plastic anemia, other bone marrow problems, renal toxicity, scleroderma, hepatic steatosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and Parkinson’s disease are among them.

Birth defects

An alarming number of birth abnormalities have been connected to the tainted water at Camp Lejeune. Throughout the years, those who were pregnant at the military post were exposed to contaminated water. Consequently, their children born thereafter or those who lived at Camp Lejeune or drank the water there had four times increased risk of experiencing birth disorders such as spina bifida, according to a 2013 research published by the CDC. According to the CDC study, children who were exposed to tainted water while their mothers were pregnant had a higher risk of developing leukemia and other childhood cancers. Unfortunately, these kids might be more likely to get adult cancer in the future.

The Bove Study

ATSDR conducted a historical reconstruction of the contamination using groundwater fate and transport and distribution system models. The 2014 ATSDR study which was conducted by CDC scientist Frank Bove and was published in the journal Environmental Health is also known as the Bove Study, noted that Marines and Navy personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985 had higher mortality hazard ratios for all cancers compared to those not exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune . 

The Bove study has established a connection between the chemicals present in the water supply of Camp Lejeune for more than four decades and severe health conditions, such as several types of cancers, birth abnormalities, and neurological disorders. Scientific research conducted by the ATSDR and other bodies has demonstrated that prolonged exposure to TCE and PCE, known for their high toxicity, is linked to increased incidences of various cancers, including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. These findings highlight the severity of the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune and are the result of meticulous research.

ATSDR studies

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the CDC, has conducted extensive research into the health effects of water contamination at Camp Lejeune over the period of several decades. The outcomes of numerous of these investigations demonstrate a clear link between water pollution and elevated cancer and mortality rates.

2023 status

Almost 100 lawsuits have already been filed as of February 2023 as a result of the earliest Camp Lejeune claims finishing their six-month administrative term. When other claims finish their administrative periods, thousands more lawsuits are anticipated to be filed.

Up until this point, around 20,000 claims have been submitted, according to a Department of the Navy official. In the upcoming weeks, more lawsuits are expected to be filed as the six-month administrative time for additional Camp Lejeune claims comes to a close. Although the Department of the Navy has pledged to process CLJA claims in a fair, thorough, and timely manner, none of the roughly 20,000 claims that have been submitted so far have been settled. It is anticipated that by bringing legal action under the CLJA, the Department of the Navy will uphold its promise to settle CLJA claims swiftly and fairly.

There haven’t been any concrete developments yet, despite speculations that Camp Lejeune settlements will start in 2023. It is conceivable that the lack of development is the result of a calculated move by defense lawyers, who typically want to delay the resolution of claims until the statute of limitations has run in order to avoid scheduling trial dates.

2024 trajectory

It is possible that this delay is part of a strategy to push for a resolution of the Camp Lejeune cases by August 2024. If successful, this would enable the government to determine the number of claims and offer settlement amounts accordingly, without having to worry about the possibility of additional claims being filed later on. It is anticipated that by bringing legal action under the CLJA, the Department of the Navy will uphold its promise to settle CLJA claims swiftly and fairly.

The postponement might be a ploy to hasten the Camp Lejeune cases’ conclusion before August 2024. If successful, the government would be able to estimate the number of claims and offer settlement sums without worrying about additional claims later on. It is anticipated that the Department of the Navy will uphold its duty to swiftly and fairly address CLJA allegations by starting legal action under the CLJA.

At this time, there have been no reported settlements between plaintiffs and defendants in these pending lawsuits. The parties are in active discussions toward a settlement. 

Moreover, there is no Camp Lejeune class action case. There won’t be a Camp Lejeune class action case like a Multidistrict litigation, in contrast to the majority of lawsuits of this sort that are class action lawsuits (MDL).

After fulfilling the consolidated discovery requirements, the Camp Lejeune plaintiffs will have to wait for the government to propose a settlement offer. The information obtained during discovery will help government lawyers identify cases with legitimate claims. They will then establish a settlement valuation matrix or formula to determine the value of each case. This valuation will be based on the tier in which each case falls, with plaintiffs in higher tiers receiving larger settlement offers, much like the settlement tiers seen in global mass tort settlements.

Who qualifies for the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Qualifying diseases:

You may qualify to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit If you meet these criteria:

  • Worked or resided at Camp Lejeune between 8/1/1953 and 12/31/1987; and
  • You were diagnosed with one of the following cancers:
    Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Bladder cancer, Brain cancer, Breast cancer, Central Nervous System cancer (CNS), Cervical cancer, Esophageal cancer, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Kidney cancer, Leukemia, Liver cancer, Lung cancer, Multiple myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Ovarian cancer, Prostate cancer, Rectal cancer, Colon / Colorectal cancer, or Thyroid cancer

Other qualifying diseases:

The following serious diseases were also linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination:

ALS, Aplastic anemia, Cardiac birth defect, Epilepsy, Fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis), Female infertility, Immune disorders, Kidney damage, Miscarriage, Multiple Sclerosis, Myelodysplastic syndromes, Nerve damage, Neurobehavioral effects: Delayed reaction times, Memory problems, Motor function issues (e.g., hand tremor, postural sway), Parkinson’s disease, Renal toxicity/disease, Scleroderma. 

Excluded diseases:

Please take note, we are not accepting the following injuries:
PTSD, Depression or Anxiety, Stroke, Heart Failure, or Stent.

Note: Personal representatives only

Again, North Carolina only allows the estate’s personal representative to file a Camp Lejeune wrongful death claim. Should the wrongful death claim be successful, the settlement money or other damages are given to the decedent’s heirs (not just the personal representative).

veteran desires filing a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
weighing the benefits of Camp Lejeune lawsuit

How much are the legal fees if your lawyers take my Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Foremost, we reiterate that a claim before the U.S. Navy within the mandatory deadline is a required pre-requisite to filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

Secondly, if you qualify to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit and our leading Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers take your case, you do not have to make any upfront payment.

Instead, the representing law firm only requires a contingent fee. This means that the law firm defending you will pay for all fees and expenses related to filing your Camp Lejeune lawsuit.  Consequently, the settlement or award you get will be charged to cover your legal fees.

Hence, in the unlikely event that your matter is not settled or won against the corporate defendant, you won’t have to pay anything. 

How much is the Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Each plaintiff in mass tort cases frequently obtains compensation in the tens of thousands or even millions of dollars as a result of very large dollar settlements.

Our leading Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers provide the following estimates per individual:

Half-million dollars and up

  • Birth Defects (Major) $1,500,000
  • Brain Cancer – $900,000
  • Parkinson’s Disease – $900,000 
  • Wrongful Death $625,000

 

Below half-million dollars

  • Liver Cancer – $370,000
  • Lung Cancer – $325,000 (non-smoker projection)
  • Esophageal Cancer – $325,000 (non-smoker projection)
  • Kidney Cancer – $250,000
  • Breast Cancer – $250,000
  • Cervical Cancer – $202,500
  • Bladder Cancer – $182,500
  • Colon Cancer – $150,000
  • Lymphoma – $290,000
  • Ovarian Cancer – $290,000
  • Leukemia – $250,000
  • Infertility $175,000
  • Scleroderma $125,000
  • Anemia $159,500
  • MDS $150,000

 

Nevertheless, note that these are mere estimates. Less serious injuries will, of course, have a proportional compensation. 

celebrating a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit settlement
lawyer counseling about Camp Lejeune lawsuit

Do I owe you if you assessed that I Qualify?

You absolutely have NO obligations to Lawsuit Help Desk or our Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyers if you’re qualified.

If we assessed that you are eligible, and you wish to proceed with the mass torts firms we have provided for you, the lawyers will discuss the retention agreement with you.

is the Camp Lejeune lawsuit legit?

Yes, Camp Lejeune lawsuits are legitimate and real!

When should I file my Camp Lejeune claim before the U.S. Navy?

Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act signed into law in 2022, the deadline to file a claim is  a hard two-year deadline from August 10, 2022. Further, the general statute of limitations to file suit for claims by Lejeune victims was initially two years following the date on which “the injury occurred or was discovered.”

So, to claim the compensation you and your family deserve, act now, even if it’s not with us. Why? Statutes of limitations could prevent you from filing your claims. Also, you could miss important settlement opportunities. 

That’s why it’s very important to secure legal representation as soon as possible. In fact, one of our lawyers’ first actions for you will be to check your state’s statute of limitations and repose. 

There are statutes of limitations (SOL) and statutes of repose (SOR) that vary in each state. These statutes bar recovery or enforcement of claims after a prescribed period of time. After these periods pass, even if a lawsuit is filed, it will be dismissed and you will collect nothing. 

Yes. This is why you need to act now and talk to our Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer.

Scientific studies take time to establish facts. Therefore, you should take advantage of the current scientific link currently established between the Camp Lejeune water contamination and the diseases enumerated above. 

Talk to our leading Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer now.

You will lose your settlement opportunities if your Camp Lejeune lawsuit is filed late.

Defendants in mass torts lawsuits usually settle cases with thousands of defendants at a time. But in order to qualify as a recovery victim, your lawyer must have already filed your lawsuit. on leading and reliable scientific research.

So, call us immediately. Do not miss your settlement opportunity!

lawyers sprinting to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit
client contacts lawyer about Camp Lejeune lawsuit

How to make a claim with the U.S. Navy or file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit?

Again, as mentioned above, a claim with the responsible government agency, i.e., the U.S. Navy, must first be made before a lawsuit could be filed.

Equally important, the claim must be made within the deadline as required under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (see above).

In making a claim, it is best if our top lawyers assist you to expedite the filing with the U.S. Navy. They could also do it through attorney multi-claim filing or electronic filing.

And, should you find the compensation from the U.S. Navy insufficient, you may thereafter file your Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

When you contact us, our attorneys will provide you with a lot more information.

Why Choose Lawsuit Help Desk

We offer you instant access to nationally renowned mass torts attorneys with expertise in PFAS litigation.

We are not a third-party middleman. We offer you immediate access to the top 1% of mass torts lawyers in the U.S. They will assess whether you have a case or not. 

We give priority to transparency and honesty in all our interactions with clients.

Our mission is to assist and inform the public about different lawsuits and thereafter provide direct access to a team of leading and active mass torts lawyers. 

We won’t spam you with unsolicited emails, as we only send informative updates on case status and research.

We do not consider ourselves a marketing firm. Do not expect robocalls from us. Our emails simply provide you with relevant information, such as case status and ongoing research.

Our leading mass torts lawyers have the expertise to provide you with the best advice possible.

A key distinction is that we have active attorneys and litigators on our staff. We know what we are doing. You can count on us!

In fact, Lawsuit Help Desk founder, Cameron Tousi, is a visionary in the world of complex litigation with decades of experience. He has received the highest distinctions in peer reviews and awards from America’s leading legal publications. If you’d like to speak with Cameron, just let us know, and we’ll make it happen! 

Monthly Status Updates: Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

February 22, 2023

As a February 22, 2023 update, the Department of Veterans Affairs encouraged Camp Lejeune victims to file claims for VA disability benefits. The VA’s Office of the General Counsel assured veterans that their benefits will not be reduced or denied if they file a claim under the CLJA. Further, the VA clarifies that VA disability benefits are still available to those pursuing Camp Lejeune lawsuits under the CLJA.

Currently, it is unclear whether there will be an offset for these benefits. Also, the Camp Lejeune settlement is likely to include a global settlement deal that resolves all claims with the U.S. government. If liens are waived, the plaintiffs are likely to pay lower attorney’s fess which is based on the settlement amount.

February 16, 2023

Nine additional civil lawsuits related to Camp Lejeune were filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina on February 16, 2023. These lawsuits bring the total number of cases filed under the CLJA to 112, after the six-month administrative claim deadline expired four days ago. It is likely that at least half of the 20,000 administrative claims related to CLJA received by JAG will result in civil lawsuits.

Similarly, litigation related to the Camp Lejeune incident started with an update on February 13, 2023. The deadline for JAG administrative claims under the CLJA passed last week, resulting in an anticipated surge of civil lawsuits filed by the victims. The Eastern District of North Carolina received a total of 79 CLJA cases since the previous Friday. Hence, it is expected that this week will see an even higher volume of new case filings as more CLJA claimants become eligible to file six months after submitting their administrative claims to JAG.

February 7, 2023

A large number of Camp Lejeune victims are about to file civil lawsuits in North Carolina, as reported in an update on February 7, 2023. Several thousand victims filed administrative claims under the new CLJA law with the Navy JAG within the first few weeks of the bill’s passing on August 10, 2022. The CLJA imposed a strict 6-month deadline on JAG to take action on these administrative claims before the claimants could file a civil lawsuit in North Carolina federal court.

The earliest CLJA admin claims’ 6-month deadline is set to expire on Friday. However, JAG has not settled any of the initial claims or collected supporting documents for the claims. Therefore, all of these claimants are now eligible to bring a civil case in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

February 1, 2023

As of February 1, 2023, JAG received over 15,000 claims from Camp Lejeune victims since the CLJA was passed in August. Bloomberg News suggests that there could be as many as 500,000 CLJA claims. However, this number is not supported by evidence. Based on ATSDR studies, the total number of people exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 is only around 1 million, with no more than 200,000 developing cancer and serious health conditions. Therefore, a more realistic estimate of the total number of CLJA claims is around 100,000 to 200,000.

January 30, 2023

In an update on January 30, 2023, it was reported that lawyers and lead generation companies have spent an astronomical amount of $145 million on Camp Lejeune advertising, according to a recent report from Bloomberg News. Of this amount, approximately $112 million was spent on television advertising alone. This amount is significantly higher than any other mass tort advertising expenditure during the same period.

However, the gold rush seems to be fading quickly as most victims have already hired a lawyer. It is important to note that our firm has not spent any money on Camp Lejeune advertising.

January 24, 2023

As of January 24, 2023, there has been little progress in the Camp Lejeune litigation, causing frustration among many, including veterans. JAG and the DOJ have faced criticism for the delay in handling compensation claims under the CLJA. It has been almost six months since the first group of claims was filed, but nothing has happened. Recently, politicians, such as Congressman Matt Cartwright and activist Erin Brockovich, have spoken out about the situation, calling on the government to take action. Although we do not believe the delay is intentional, we urge the government to allocate more resources to process these claims efficiently.

January 11, 2023

On January 11, 2023, an update was provided regarding the Legacy Cases. Four more cases related to Camp Lejeune were dismissed due to the failure of the claimants to re-submit an administrative claim to JAG before filing a civil suit. This is the same reason why over a dozen legacy cases were dismissed by a different judge last month. Hon. Louise Flanagan from the Eastern District of North Carolina also followed suit and dismissed the legacy cases assigned to her. Only a few legacy cases remain with a 3rd judge, and they are likely to be rejected soon for the same reason.

In practical terms, this means that the Eastern District judges are showing consistency in their rulings. However, this update has little significance to anyone other than the litigants involved. Further details about this matter were discussed in the December 29, 2022 update.

January 9, 2023

As of January 9, 2023, a Navy JAG spokesperson reported that 14,000 claims have been filed by victims of Camp Lejeune . It is anticipated that this pace of claims will persist in the coming months, resulting in a total of 75,000 Lejeune claims by the end of 2023.

In the January 1, 2023 update, Bloomberg News reported that the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost of CLJA claims to be $6.1 billion over the next ten years, based on the CBO cost analysis issued in February 2022. However, the CBO subsequently revised its estimate and even assuming around 20,000 claims. Hence, the average payout per claim would be $305,000. This estimate is likely underestimated as 20,000 claims are much lower than the expected number of settlements. Therefore, the $6.1 billion estimate is now outdated.

December 29, 2022

On December 29, 2022, a court ruling announced that eight (8) of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases were dismissed. The basis for the dismissal is the failure to refile the administrative claims with JAG after the CLJA was passed. Judge James C. Denver concluded that the CLJA created entirely new legal claims that could not be related to the previous lawsuits filed by the legacy plaintiffs. This court ruling only affected eight of the 22 legacy cases. But this could create a pattern for other judges.

Although this ruling creates a disadvantage for those plaintiffs, it could still be viewed as beneficial for all plaintiffs. Consequently, the cases that were dismissed were largely not the best cases to push forward, according to attorneys who specialize in Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Therefore, most lawyers are bringing their best cases first, which will set the tone for Camp Lejeune settlements and verdicts. As a result, the dismissed cases might not have resulted in the best outcomes for plaintiffs anyway.

December 28, 2022

On December 28, 2022, we have addressed the queries as to when Camp Lejeune settlements are likely to begin. Although lawyers cannot predict an exact timeframe for a successful settlement, we updated a page that provides insights into when settlements might start. We also provided estimates about average settlement amounts in specific types of claims.
On December 26, 2022, the risk of inconsistent verdicts in North Carolina was highlighted as the government filed identical motions to dismiss all Camp Lejeune legacy cases. These were the cases where the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit without re-submitting a claim to JAG first. However, at least two judges in the Eastern District of North Carolina are set to rule on these identical motions. While some motions have been referred to Judge Terrence W. Boyle Jr., others will be decided by Judge Louise Wood Flanagan. This situation creates the possibility of multiple inconsistent rulings on the same matter.

December 14, 2022

As of December 14, 2022, the estimated settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune lung cancer lawsuits have been revised. The revision is based on further reflection on how the equipoise standard of proof unique to Camp Lejeune will impact those claims. Particularly, the revision specified the plaintiffs with a smoking history.

On December 13, 2022 update, it was noted that the court clerk has submitted the government’s motion to dismiss. The basis of the motion is the failure to re-file administrative claims to District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. It’s presumed that this decision will be applied to all cases to ensure consistency and avoid conflicting rulings. However, no additional information or hearing date has been provided.

December 1, 2022

A report released on December 1, 2022, reveals that the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit has received 14,000 compensation claims from Camp Lejeune victims under the CLJA. The report predicts that this number could double in the coming months. However, no significant action has been taken by the JAG to address or assess these claims. As of now, claimants are still waiting for a claim portal to be established, which will allow them to submit the necessary documents to support their claims.

November 28, 2022

As of November 28, 2022, the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit has received thousands of administrative claims from Camp Lejeune since the CLJA was passed in August. However, despite JAG having a 6-month deadline to act on these claims, no action has been taken yet.

The development of an online electronic claim portal is currently causing a delay in the process. This portal will allow claimants to submit supporting documents for their claims. Substantiating records, such as military service and medical records will be requested for individual claims. However, only after the launch of the electronic portal. The portal is expected to function similarly to the ECF system used in federal courts. Conveniently, this enables claimants to log in and upload supporting documents when prompted.

November 24, 2022

As of November 24, 2022, the government’s legal team submitted another brief in support of their motion to dismiss Camp Lejeune legacy cases that were refiled after the enactment of CLJA without re-submitting new administrative claims to JAG.

According to the DOJ lawyers, pre-CLJA administrative claims do not hold weight. Clearly, the government’s liability assessment on such claims was based entirely on the CLJA’s abrogation.

However, legacy plaintiffs argue that the government can reassess the previously filed administrative claims based on the current post-CLJA landscape. Although the legacy plaintiffs may have strategic reasons to win this argument, the outcome of this legal battle will have minimal impact on the majority of Camp Lejeune cases.

November 18, 2022

Veterans can obtain their military service records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These are crucial in Camp Lejeune lawsuits. However, due to the recent influx of requests from veterans, NARA is now facing a significant backlog, causing a strain on its resources. 

A new notice regarding the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has been added to NARA’s Military Service Records webpage. It states that the Navy JAG does not require service records to support an initial claim but may request them at a later date. This warning implies that obtaining military records for a CLJA claim may take a long time and be frustrating. While waiting for the records, your lawyers can still proceed with your toxic water claim. For more news on Camp Lejeune legislation, visit our website to keep updated on the entire history of the path to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

Lawyers across the nation are actively representing clients and preparing to file claims on their behalf. Evidently, Camp Lejeune claims continue to be filed at a steady and significant rate.

The Navy JAG’s handling of the filing process remains unclear. However, it is expected that these matters will be resolved in due course. The statute of limitations for filing Camp Lejeune claims is either two years. This is reckoned from the date of the PACT Act’s signing into law (August 10th, 2022), or six months from the date a claim is denied.

The federal judge in charge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has dismissed the request for a class action lawsuit. The victims of water contamination at the military base filed this lawsuit on August 14th. Unfortunately, it was rejected even before the pretrial phase could begin. 

More than 5,000 claims have already been filed with the Navy JAG. Clearly, this is indicative of the widespread issue of water contamination at Camp Lejeune for over three decades. Therefore, if you or someone you know lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days between 1953 and 1987, you may qualify for a claim. Contact us now.

President Biden has signed the PACT Act into law. Victoriously, this brings veterans closer to receiving their deserved benefits, and allowing individuals exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune to file claims for compensation. 

July 28, 2022

PACT Act did not pass in the Senate with a vote of 55-42. It fell short of the required 60 votes needed for the bill to pass. However, the bill is not considered a complete failure as it may still be revisited after Congress’s summer recess set to begin on August 8th.

July 25, 2022

On July 25th, 2022, the Senate was scheduled to resume consideration of the Honoring Our PACT Act’s legislative vehicle, SS.3373, at 3 pm ET. In a previous update from July 19th, 2022, it was estimated that the Honoring Our PACT Act would be introduced in the Senate the following week.

July 14, 2022

In the update dated July 14th, 2022, it has been reported that the Honoring Our PACT Act. This includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which has been passed by the House with a vote of 342-88. The bill was reintroduced for budget adjustments and will now be sent back to the Senate for another vote before being presented to President Biden for final approval.

Although the process has been lengthy to ensure that victims receive the assistance they require, it is anticipated that the President will sign the bill into law in due course.

July 13, 2022

The presentation of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act to the House of Representatives floor is anticipated. Attorney advocates and legislators have reported that the PACT Act will be heard by House representatives within the next 24-48 hours or the following week. If Congress approves the bill, it will then be sent to the President for signing into law.

July 6, 2022

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is still making slow progress toward being approved into law. Due to Congress being on recess until July 8th, progress is anticipated upon their return. Despite encountering minor legislative obstacles from politicians who are against the PACT Act, substantial support from both parties remains an assurance.

June 16, 2022

Congress, with 86 to 14 votes, passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This bill is a part of the Honoring PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act which will enable veterans who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to file claims against the U.S. Government for their injuries.

June 7, 2022

The Senate passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act with a vote of 86 to 12. The bill is now set to return to the House.

The enactment of the bill took decades. It will provide victims of water contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base between 1953 and 1987 with legal remedies to seek justice and compensation. These victims have suffered from various health issues, including cancer. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will finally hold accountable the U.S. Government and any other responsible parties for the harm caused.

The leaders of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have reached a bipartisan agreement on the bill. Thus, it is designed to provide benefits to veterans who were exposed to hazardous chemicals. The House of Representatives already passed the component of the Honor Our PACT Act. 

Lawyers are examining the feasibility of claims to support a lawsuit related to Camp Lejeune.

Representatives of plaintiffs are currently waiting for action by Congress. Clearly, Congress should address issues such as sovereign immunity, qualified injuries, and statute of limitations.

News & Articles

Unveiling the Silent Tragedy: Inside the Struggles of Camp Lejeune Veterans and Their Families Post-Toxic Water Scandal

Unveiling the Silent Tragedy: Inside the Struggles of Camp Lejeune Veterans and Their Families Post-Toxic Water Scandal

Unveiling the quiet tragedy of Camp Lejeune, a prominent Marine Corps base in North Carolina, reveals an unsettling narrative that continues to affect veterans and their families long after the last drop of tainted water was consumed.

  • The invisible adversary: The Camp Lejeune water supply, tainted between 1953 and 1987 with harmful chemicals, including carcinogens such as trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene. Allegations swirl around base activities like vehicle maintenance, industrial dumping, and leaking storage tanks as the culprits of this contamination.

  • The response? Allegedly insufficient. Despite indications of contamination as early as the 1960s, the government's response has been marked by delays and half-hearted investigations. A crisis of accountability, with the Department of Defense accused of stonewalling efforts to fully investigate the issue, leaving victims in the lurch.

The stories of veterans and their families paint a heart-wrenching picture of the aftermath:

  • Sgt. Jerry Ensminger's relentless pursuit for truth and justice, sparked by his daughter's tragic loss to leukemia, believed to be linked to the contaminated water.
  • Maj. Thomas Townsend's rare form of breast cancer, potentially connected to his exposure to TCE and PCE.
  • Cpl. Kevin Shipp's battle with various health issues, including peripheral neuropathy, allegedly tied to the base's tainted water supply.

Shared struggles echo in their families' lives:

  • The Jones Family, whose two children, born during their stay on the base, suffer from significant congenital disabilities, believed to be linked to the toxic exposure.
  • The Wilbur Family, whose daughter developed a rare neurobehavioral disorder, speculated to be due to their time on base.

As the silent tragedy continues to unfold, what's being done to address the aftermath and aid those affected?

  • The Janey Ensminger Act, signed into law in 2012, offering medical care to affected veterans and families, though not covering all diseases allegedly linked to the contamination, nor offering compensation for suffering and loss.

  • The legal pathway of mass tort litigation, a challenging route due to the complexities of establishing causation between exposure and specific illnesses.

Bright spots remain in the form of various organizations advocating for the victims, offering resources, and support.

The Camp Lejeune narrative underscores the pressing need for transparency, accountability, and protection for those who serve their country. It serves as a sobering reminder that environmental disasters can strike anywhere, even on home soil, and the price is often paid by those who can least afford it. The ongoing struggle for broader recognition and compensation continues, underpinned by research, public awareness campaigns, and the undying hope for justice and change.

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Uncovered: The Shocking Truth of Camp Lejeune's Toxic Water Scandal and the Fight for Justice That's Captivating the Nation

The Unveiled Truth: Camp Lejeune's Water Contamination Crisis
The story of Camp Lejeune's water contamination crisis is a tale of negligence, alleged cover-ups, and the fight for justice by those affected. It's a story that needs to be told, and one that we must never forget.
From 1953 to 1987, the residents of Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, were unknowingly exposed to contaminated water. The water was laced with harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are linked to several health conditions.
The contamination was discovered in the early 1980s, but the most contaminated wells were not shut down until 1985. The delay in action has led to allegations of a cover-up by the authorities.
The health effects of the contamination have been devastating. Veterans, Reservists, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period have developed serious diseases, including adult leukemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, and multiple myeloma.
The fight for justice for the victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination has been long and arduous. The PACT Act, passed in 2012, has provided some relief by allowing victims to file lawsuits against the parties allegedly responsible for the contamination.
However, the legal battles have been fraught with challenges. Lawsuits leading up to the PACT Act faced numerous hurdles, including appeals to the 11th Circuit and the Supreme Court. Despite these challenges, the victims have remained steadfast in their pursuit of justice.
In the aftermath of the PACT Act, new lawsuits have emerged. These lawsuits involve various parties, judges, and legal complexities. The status of these cases varies, with some still ongoing and others potentially nearing settlements.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis is a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of negligence and alleged cover-ups. It underscores the importance of accountability and the need for victims to seek legal redress.
For those affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination, finding experienced counsel and filing a lawsuit promptly is crucial. The current law permits victims to seek legal redress in court, and taking swift action can significantly improve the chances of obtaining justice.
The fight for justice for the victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination is far from over. But with persistence, resilience, and the right legal support, there is hope for a brighter future.
#CampLejeune #WaterContamination #JusticeForVictims #PACTAct #LegalRedress

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What Is Required Period Of Exposure To Qualify For Benefits?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 requires that the person who suffered the harm resided, worked or was otherwise exposed to the toxic water was exposed for at least 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953 and ending on December 31, 1987. The Act does not require that the 30 days were served sequentially or at the same time. For instance, if the person harmed was in Camp Lejeune for only 10 days in 1977, and another 20 days in 1983, the exposure would be covered under the Act.

Where Can Lawsuits Be Filed Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 gives exclusive jurisdiction and venue to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Any lawsuits under the Act must be brought there. The Eastern District of North Carolina is a federal court, with courthouse locations in Raleigh, Greenville, Wilmington, New Bern and Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Must The Person Harmed Have Been In Active-Duty Military To Qualify Under The Camp Lejeune Justice?

No. Under U.S. law, this is a question of who has standing, meaning the right, to sue. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 applies to anyone, whether serving in the military or not, who resided, worked or was otherwise exposed to the toxic water. Any individuals, whether active-duty military or not, such as civilian contractors, are included. In utero victims are also included, meaning an individual who was in his/her mother’s womb when she was exposed to the toxic water. The harmed individual may be alive or have deceased. In the case of an incapacitated or deceased victim, the lawsuit may be filed by the person’s legal representative. The exposure must have been for 30 days anytime between August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987 to qualify under the Act.

Is In Utero Exposure Covered By The Camp Lejeune Justice?

Yes, if the individual suffered as a result of water exposure by his/her mother while she was pregnant with him/her, the exposure would be covered by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. The victim may be alive presently or deceased, where a legal representative may file the legal action.

To What Must The Person Harmed Have Been Exposed Under The Camp Lejeune Justice?

The harmed individual must have been exposed to water at Camp Lejeune that was supplied by or on behalf of the United States. The exposure must have been for 30 days. Furthermore, it must have occurred anytime between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Because not all of the water supply necessarily contained the toxins, in your lawsuit you and your lawyer should trace your water exposure to one or more of the locations where contamination occurred.

Will The Trial For A Lawsuit Be A Jury Trial Or A Judge Trial Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 entitles the person harmed (plaintiff) to request a jury trial. In other words, the jury would be the fact finder and render decisions about whether there is liability by the U.S. government, and the extent of damages awarded. However, the plaintiff may request the fact finder to be a judge instead. The decision is up to the plaintiff.

Who Has Is The Burden Of Proof In A Lawsuit Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

The Act sets the burden of proof on the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the injured party.

The term burden of proof refers to the legal standard requiring the parties to provide evidence of their claim. Since the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, if they fail to establish their proof, the United States government as the defendant is automatically held not liable. That is because there is no burden of proof on the U.S. government defendant.

What Is The Burden On Proof Does The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Place On The Plaintiff?

To meet their burden of proof and establish the U.S. government’s liability, the plaintiff must provide evidence to show a causal relationship between the exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune and the harm suffered. Two types of causality are recognized by the Act. The first is if the evidence is sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists between the exposure and harm suffered. The second recognized causality is if the evidence is sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not, again between the exposure and harm suffered. The latter causal relationship sets a lower threshold and is therefore more beneficial to the plaintiff than the former.

Can Harmed Individuals Bring Legal Claims That Are Not Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

No. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 specifies that any individual or their legal representative that brings a lawsuit under the Act may not – whether in the same action or a subsequent legal action – bring another tort action for the harm. By way of examples: the individual may not sue the United States in the same suit or a later suit for negligence or another tort; the individual may not sue the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Claims Act, or any other federal law, or under any state law.

Are Legal Actions Brought Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Different Than Other Mass Tort Cases?

Yes. Claims may not be brought after the statute of limitations for the Act. The statute of limitations for the Act is the longer of (a) two years from the August 10, 2022 enactment date of the Act, namely August 10, 2024, or (b) six months from the date that Department of the Navy denies the claim. After the latter of these dates, claimants may not sue or submit claims for damages. The denial of the claim can be an actual denial by the Navy or a failure by the Navy to dispose of the victim’s claim within six months after it is filed.

Can Other Claims Be Brought?

No. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 specifies that any individual or their legal representative that brings a lawsuit under the Act may not – whether in the same action or a subsequent legal action – bring another tort action for the harm. By way of examples: the individual may not sue the United States in the same suit or a later suit for negligence or another tort; the individual may not sue the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the Military Claims Act, or any other federal law, or under any state law.

Why Are Lawsuits Brought Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Not Consolidated Into Multidistrict Litigations (MDL) Like Other Mass Torts? And What Is An MDL For Mass Torts?

It is true that mass torts are typically consolidated into Multidistrict Litigations (MDL) at a common court, whereas MDL is inapplicable to claims brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

By way of background, the “mass” in mass torts refers to the fact that the torts are suffered by many people. Claimants may bring claims in state or federal court depending on the causes of action implicated, and there may be dozens or even thousands of suits filed throughout the country. Claimants, through their lawyers, may opt to consolidate their cases with others at the same venue, or trial court, typically at a particular federal court.

Once there are many cases across the country, with many plaintiffs, to conserve judicial resources and promote consistent rulings among the many suits, a judicial panel called Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation will consolidate the many mass tort cases into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). The panel judges will decide the jurisdiction and judges who will preside over the litigation.

The MDL is done for the pre-trial part of litigation, as the procedures require the cases to be sent back to their original judges for trial. As it is not feasible for the vast number of plaintiffs to have their individual lawyers conduct their cases, plaintiffs will select as among them a few experienced lawyers to serve as lead counsel and on a steering committee.

The MDL presiding judges will conduct one or more bellwether trials, which serve as actual trials for the particular plaintiffs involved but serve as test cases to determine what would or could happen for the other plaintiff’s cases. The resulting damages awarded or settlements obtained in the bellwether cases help the many plaintiffs and private party defendant ascertain the relative strength of the many other actions. Accordingly, they incentivize a settlement between the defendant and the many plaintiffs. Each plaintiff will have the option of joining the settlement or opting out to pursue their own trial at the originating federal trial court.

On the other hand, lawsuits filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act may not be filed anywhere other than the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The exclusive jurisdiction and venue are requirements under the Act. Since the cases cannot be filed in numerous federal or state courts, they need no consolidation since they are already consolidated, and an MDL for the cases would not apply. However, because it is estimated that between 750,000 and one million victims may have suffered injuries as a result of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, the term mass tort is applicable.

Is It Significant That Most Mass Torts Are Against Private Parties But Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claims Are Against The U.S. Government?

Yes and yes. Mass torts are torts brought by many parties against one or few defendants. Typically, a product, medical device, pharmaceutical or source of toxicity caused by a single or a few defendants injured many individuals. The injured have no legal constraints against filing suits against the defendants because the law considers the defendants to be private persons.

However, the United States is not a private party but instead a sovereign power. Any sovereign power, typically a country, may immunize itself from civil actions brought in its own courts. In fact, the U.S. gave itself immunity from tort claims until 1946, when the Federal Tort Claims Act (28 U.S.C. § 2674) was passed. The Federal Torts Claims Act waived the government’s immunity to suit and liability for torts where, had government been a private party, it would have been liable. The applicable law would be that of the place where the act or omission happened.

Unfortunately for Camp Lejeune water toxicity victims, a North Carolina statute of repose bars suits filed 10 years from the last act or omission by the U.S. government that gave rise to claim. The federal government was able to use the statute of repose to dismiss the cases, and also won an appeal brought by the victims to a higher court.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act seeks to remedy this injustice by providing the victims a separate cause of action under its provisions.

Before The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, Were Any Lawsuits Filed By Camp Lejeune Victims? Under What Statute? Did They Win?

As noted, many Camp Lejeune victims and their representatives filed lawsuits under the Federal Tort Claims Act for Camp Lejeune water contamination. Despite that they were tort claims filed in a federal court, they were subject to the tort laws of the state where the injury occurred, namely North Carolina. The multiplicity of cases were classified as a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) by a Multidistrict District Judicial Panel, and sent to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

The district court was required to apply North Carolina law, and here, North Carolina had in-effect a 10-year statute of repose. But the statute barred suits filed 10 years from the last act or omission by the defendant that gave rise to claim. After much legal wrangling, the cases brought by the Camp Lejeune victims, plaintiffs in the cases, were dismissed by the district court. The district court’s opinion was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on appeal.

The holding by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and the subsequent appeal the 11th Circuit took away any remedies available to Camp Lejeune victims. Despite that up to one million people are estimated to have been injured by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune – the largest in the nation’s history – they were left with no opportunity to receive awards or benefits for their medical bills and other drastic impacts on their lives.

It is in response to these harsh rulings enforcing an equally harsh North Carolina statute of repose that Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 on August 10 of the same year.

The Act specifies that no statute of repose or statute of limitations apply other than the Act’s own statute of limitations. The Act’s own statute of limitations provides that claims must be brought before the later of: the Act’s 2-year anniversary of August 10, 2024, or six months from the date the Navy denies a claim, and no North Carolina statute of repose or limitations would be apply.

Are There Exemptions To Federal Tort Claims That Could Apply Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

No. The Act disallows exemptions that could conceivably apply to federal tort claims. While the Federal Tort Claims Act is inapplicable under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, Congress wanted to make it clear that exceptions would not apply. By way of explanation, the Federal Tort Claims Act has exceptions that disallow certain tort claims, including, among others, claims where a federal government employee exercises due care in executing a statute or regulation, or conducts a discretionary function. The exception is under 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a). The Camp Lejeune Justice Act specifies that these exceptions do not apply to lawsuits filed under its provisions. In other words, the federal government may not use these exceptions as a shield in the lawsuit.

What Damages Does The Camp Lejeune Justice Make Available To Victims?

Except for punitive damages, which are not permitted under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, other categories of damages are available. The broad category of damages that may be awarded is termed compensatory damages, because they compensate the victim, i.e., the plaintiff (versus punish the harm doer, i.e., the defendant).   

Compensatory damages include direct damages, which are directly caused by the plaintiff’s wrongdoing, which here is the U.S. government. Compensatory damages also include indirect or consequential damages, which are not directly caused by the plaintiff’s wrongdoing, but instead indirectly arise because of it.

Compensatory damages are categorized as either special, or quantifiable damages, or as general, or not easily quantifiable damages. Examples of special damages experienced by Camp Lejeune victims are: past, present and prospective medical bills for any reason dealing with the injury, such as for medication, chemotherapy, radiation, physical therapy and surgery; nursing and home-care costs for incapacitation; child care costs for inability to care for children; lost wages due to missed work during treatment and recovery; funeral costs in the event of patient death; transportation costs associated with health-related travel.

General damages, on the other hand, seek to provide financial compensation for the plaintiff’s quality and enjoyment of life. They are not necessarily easily quantifiable, and typically include dealing with physical, mental, social and emotional harm. Examples of general damages are: pain and suffering; mental anguish, such as depression, and anxiety; physical disfigurement and scarring; loss of future earning capacity; and loss of consortium from a loved one’s death or incapacity, meaning the plaintiff is deprived of a family relationship, including affection and sexual relations.

Are Punitive Damages Available Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Of 2022?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 does not permit awards of punitive damages.

What are such damages? Punitive damages are available for torts, including for injuries caused. Unlike compensatory damages, they are not awarded for the actual harm that was suffered by the plaintiff in a civil case. Instead, they are awarded to punish the defendant, and hence the derivation of the name. But punitive damages are also used to deter the behavior from happening again. There need not be equal treatment of defendants for punitive type damages; for instance, it is permissible that a wealthy defendant is required to pay higher punitive damages than an indigent one. These damages are also not fixed in amount by applicable law, and are subject to considerable judicial discretion. The judge or jury may choose whether to award these punitive damages, and at amount of their choosing. However, trial judges may reduce (or “remit”) the amount of punitive damages if they think the award is excessive, and appellate courts often reduce the amount on appeal.

Is There A Cap On The Damages That A Victim May Receive Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

No. While the Act disallows punitive damages, it has not set any cap on the compensatory damages that a victim plaintiff may receive.

However, an offset for any amounts already received may apply. As with any other tort claims, the damages awarded will be offset by, meaning reduced by, what the victim or his/her legal representative has already received relating to the water contamination harm. To be specific, under  the Act, the offset will be for the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit provided under any program administered by Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare, Medicaid, or other health care or disability relating to exposure to water at Camp Lejeune.

Will Your VA Benefits, Medicare And Medicaid Benefits Or Other Health Insurance Benefits Be Impacted If You File A Claim Or Lawsuit Under The Camp Lejeune Justice Act?

No. The Act will not in any way impact any benefits or awards individuals receive from Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare, Medicaid, or any other health care or disability care. The only impact is that if, and only if, an individual receives damages in a lawsuit or settlement under the Act, the benefits and awards already received will be used to reduce those damages dollar-for-dollar.

Lack Of Environmental Stewardship

Since its founding in 1941, Camp Lejeune has been one of the US Marines’ busiest and largest bases. Nestled on North Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the base is vital to the Corps’ operations.

However, like many other military bases of the era, environmental stewardship at Camp Lejeune has often lagged. The problems first came to light in the early 1980s when concerned parents whose children had been born with serious birth defects brought them to the attention of authorities.

An investigation revealed that a number of on-base facilities were contaminated with hazardous chemicals, including solvents and dry-cleaning fluids. The contamination affected both drinking water and soil at the base, exposing thousands of Marines and their families to potentially harmful toxins. While the full extent of the health effects is still not known, the problems at Camp Lejeune underscore the need for improved environmental management at all military bases.

Residents Complain

Residents of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina began complaining in the early 1980s about the taste and quality of their drinking water. Often foul-tasting and discolored, many people who used the water also experienced a range of health problems. The complaints led to an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which found that the water was contaminated with a range of chemicals, including benzene and vinyl chloride.

The EPA’s investigation led to the camp being recorded as a Superfund site in 1989. Thousands of documents from the EPA investigation tell the story of what some experts call the worst public drinking-water contamination in US history.

In recent years, there has been increasing public concern over the quality of the water supply. One significant source of water contamination is waste from dry-cleaning businesses.

For years, these businesses dumped wastewater containing chemicals used in dry cleaning into drains. These chemicals include perchloroethylene, or PCE, a suspected carcinogen. PCE is used in multiple industrial processes, and another solvent and suspected carcinogen. The contamination of the water supply with these dangerous chemicals was a major public health concern. We need to take action to prevent further contamination and protect our families from the health risks posed by these chemicals.

Denials By The Marine Corps

For the past twenty years, the Marine Corps has denied that any chemicals present in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water in the 1980s were regulated. The statement is simply misleading.

In the early 1980s, the EPA did not regulate organic solvents like PCE. However, the Department of Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery had regulations in place that did not allow for harmful substances to be present in the water.

The problem was that those regulations were not followed. A 1982 memo from a senior naval medical officer warned that PCE levels in the base’s water supply “exceeded acceptable limits” and posed a risk to human health. But nothing was done to address the problem, and for years, Marines and their families continued to drink water contaminated with PCE and other toxins.

Indeed, as early as 1974, the Marine Corps was aware of the dangers posed by organic solvents and took steps to ensure their safe disposal. The yet failed to share this data with officials studying water pollution at Camp Lejeune. Consequently, the complete pollution wasn’t detected until years later. By that time, it was too late for the thousands of Marines and their relatives who had been exposed to the water containing hazardous materials.

In 1980, military chemists at Camp Lejeune began testing the base’s drinking water for environmental pollutants. The tests showed trace levels of organic compounds, or solvents, in the treated water. However, it is unclear why the Marines did not get the results of the tests until 1982. The delay in notification may have had serious consequences for the health of those who drank the contaminated water. Studies have linked exposure to the contaminated water to an increased risk of cancer and other serious health problems.

Even when Camp Lejeune received the results, they did nothing to investigate the source of contamination. Furthermore, in October 1980 an Army lab started testing water from Lejeune’s Hadnot Point water system for a by-product of chlorination that could be harmful.

But other chemicals were interfering with the results. That was alarming because such interference is caused by organic compounds, as chemists understand. In fact, William Neal Jr., the chief of laboratory services for the Army lab doing tests, wrote in an Oct. 30, 1980 report that the water was highly contaminated. He mentioned “strong interference” by an organic chemical. The more Neal tested the water, the more his warnings increased.

Grainger’s Warnings

In 1981, Camp Lejeune began testing its water in the rifle range area to see if any hazardous chemicals had drifted over from a nearby waste dump. These tests were done on a different water system from the one Neal warned us about. A rifle range water well was found to be contaminated with some of the same compounds seen elsewhere on the base. Three months after increased health concerns were raised about the water at Camp Lejeune, engineers ordered the closure of one rifle range well.

The Corps failed to answer questions regarding why it closed off one well that contained unregulated chemicals, but kept others open.

In 1982, the Marines at Camp Lejeune hired Grainger Laboratories in Raleigh, N.C., to test their water. The results from the first tests showed high levels of “synthetic organic cleaning solvents,” which can be harmful to human health. These contaminants were found in water from two of the base’s largest living areas, where thousands of Marines and family members lived.

In fact, Mike Hargett, one of the co-owners of Grainger, told the Times that he and a base chemist urged an investigating officer to look into and fix water contamination issues. But they would not recognize the hazard and failed to react.

Grainger continued to report contamination in their water supply over the next two years. In August of 1982, a report stated that raw water from a treatment plant was contaminated with solvents. This could only mean that the wells themselves were contaminated.

The Marine spokesman said the report did not provide confirmation that there was groundwater contamination at Camp Lejeune. He noted that the Corps only tested wells directly in 1984 because evidence of contamination was inconsistent. Bruce Babson, the chemist testing base water for Grainger, said that the company’s warnings were not well received by the Corps. He said that many people put pressure on him to not include the evidence.

In April 1983, Camp Lejeune in conjunction with the Navy completed an initial study of hazardous waste sites on base that posed health risks. This project was conducted at other bases around the nation and copies of the report went to state regulators. The report said nothing about tainted water.

The assistant chief of staff for facilities at Camp Lejeune sent a review of water testing to North Carolina environmental officials in which he said nothing of contamination. Hargett was growing frustrated because his lab was warning the Corps repeatedly that there was contamination, but they weren’t listening. He notified North Carolina officials that the Corps was holding back Grainger’s original reports showing contamination, and the state demanded to see them. However, the Marines never sent them and the state eventually left the issue alone.

Public Awareness

The Marine Corps’ problems started when chemists began testing wells for contamination in 1984. In July of that year, a test of one well found a chemical found in gasoline at a level that was dangerously high. However, the well remained in operation until November. By then, news of the contamination was made public. Because of contamination, 10 wells would be closed in late 1984 and early 1985.

Some of the water that Marines, their spouses and their children were drinking, bathing and cooking with was believed to be some of the most contaminated water in the United States. Scientists from the federal government estimated that the water had been contaminated all the way back to the 1950s. As news gradually spread of Marines and their families living with tainted water, L.H Buehl (the commanding general at Lejeune during this time) attempted to calm residents with the falsehood that contaminants were trace in quantity. However, the levels of chemicals found were among the highest seen by scientists in a large, public system. For instance, the suspected carcinogen trichloroethylene was found at 1,148 ppb at an elementary school, 1,400 parts per billion at a base hospital tap and 18,900 ppb in a water well. The level of solvent found in tap water was up to 280 times higher than what is regulated by the EPA.

The EPA opened an inquiry into the contamination after it was made public, but one of the Marines’ first overviews to the agency provided inaccurate information, records show. Arthur Linton, an EPA official in its Environmental Assessment Branch, recounted a meeting with Corps officials in a Feb. 3, 1986, letter he sent to Camp Lejeune.

The EPA officials stated that the Corps had told them that it learned about contamination from unidentified pollutants in 1983 or 1984. However, the pollutants had actually been identified earlier and the chemicals were not unidentified. Furthermore, Linton wrote that the Corps had told the EPA that treated, potable water had not been contaminated; however, in fact, it had. The Corps would not comment on this letter. By 1988, neither the EPA nor North Carolina had yet been told about potentially one of the gravest threats to base water – storage tanks that had leaked thousands of gallons of fuel into the ground.

Marine Lawyer’s Comments

In a memo, A.P. Tokarz, a Marine lawyer based at Lejeune, said that he had been informed that 1,500 gallons of fuel were leaking each month. He noted that any fix was still “out-years,” or years distant. Tokarz explained that although the camp is legally required to inform the state, they hadn’t done so yet.

He wrote, “[f]rom an attorney’s perspective concerned with responding to potential litigation, it appears patently unreasonable to wait until out-years to replace the tanks,” arguing the delay would be a continuing potential threat to human health and the environment.

The Camp Lejeune fuel depot had been a longstanding problem, with up to 30,000 gallons of fuel spilling in 1979. In 1983, the Corps noted that it had told the state and EPA about the leak. After the depot was shut down in 1989, the state discovered that there were leaks. The Corps later told regulators that fuel wasn’t technically hazardous, which is shown in a document from the Marines.

A Legacy Of Pain And Redemption

The Marine Corps has since acknowledged its failure to properly handle the hazardous wastes and has taken steps to improve its water safety protocols. However, for those who were affected by the contamination, the damage has already been done.

Only after years of litigation and public outcry did the Marine Corps finally admit that the contamination was real and take steps to clean up the water supply. As a result, scores of Marines and their families have been left with debilitating health problems, ranging from cancer to birth defects.

The Marine Corps will likely never regain the trust of those it has harmed through its negligence, but it can take action to try to make amends.

Serious Consequences For Veterans And Their Families

Between August 1953 and December 1987, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. This had serious health consequences for those stationed at the base. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes this, and provides benefits to those who were affected.

The Honoring Our PACT Act was introduced in 2019 to provide these benefits to more veterans. The Act would expand the definition of “Camp Lejeune veteran” to include any individual who served at the base for 30 days or more, regardless of whether they were on active duty or not. It would also provide health care benefits to family members of veterans who have died as a result of the contamination.

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is considered one of, if not the most significant episode of water contamination in US history.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Health Impacts

The health impacts of the Camp Lejeune water contamination are well-documented. A number of studies have shown increased rates of cancer and other diseases among those who were exposed to the contaminated water.

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a variety of cancers and health issues, including: breast cancer, kidney cancer, adult onset leukemia, liver cancer, neural tube defects, Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.

There may also be other less-common diseases and health conditions linked to toxic exposure from the tainted water supply at Camp Lejeune during this same timeframe, including breast cancer, esophageal cancer, female infertility, hepatic steatosis, kidney cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, miscarriage, multiple myeloma, neurobehavioral effects, renal toxicity, and scleroderma.

Because it takes so long to develop, contaminated water may not show symptoms for years. Investigations are underway to determine all the health conditions caused by exposure.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has recognized that exposure to the contaminated water affects not only military men and women but also their family members, contractors, and civilian employees and personnel who were similarly stationed at the military base. Studies performed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (“ATSDR”) have created models to ascertain the full reach of the contamination.

If you served at Camp Lejeune or lived there for 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987,  you may be eligible for health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These benefits can include free health care, disability compensation, and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses related to treatment of diseases associated with the contamination.

The Camp Lejeune water contamination is a tragedy that affected many veterans and their families. If you served at Camp Lejeune during the time of contamination, it is important to be aware of these health risks. You may eligible for health care benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Furthermore, you may be eligible for significant compensation via lawsuits being brought right now on a contingent fee basis.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Of 2022

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, part of the Honoring Our PACT Act, is a law that was signed by President Joe Biden in 2022. The Act allows veterans and their families who were affected by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to file a lawsuit against the federal government.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which revolves around the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, is part of the comprehensive Pact Act. The main objective of the Pact Act is to improve access to health care and disability benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances around the world.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is an important step in ensuring that those who have been affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination have access to justice. This law will help to hold the government accountable for the contamination that occurred at Camp Lejeune and will provide compensation for those who were affected.

1. From 1953 To 1987, The United States Marine Corps (USMC) Operated A Base At Camp Lejeune In North Carolina With Contaminated Drinking Water.

The water at Camp Lejeune was discovered to be contaminated from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987. Tests have shown that the water was polluted with toxic chemicals, including perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene and numerous others. These chemicals can cause a variety of health problems, including cancer.

The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated because of the negligence of the United States Marine Corps. A dry cleaner’s waste disposal leached into the ground water. That water was not properly treated and as a result, it became contaminated with the harmful chemicals. The contamination was not discovered by veterans and others who lived on the Camp until years following the exposure.

2. During That Time, The USMC Used Two Water Treatment Plants To Supply Water To The Base.

The source of the contamination was the waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning firm. Two base water treatment plants have been determined as the main sources of contamination. These are the Tarawa Terrace water and the Hadnot Point treatment plants.

3. A Dry Cleaner And Two Water Treatment Plants Were The Principal Sources Of Water Contamination.

The federal government’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) used a data analysis and modeling approach to reconstruct historical contaminant concentrations. Using these approaches, ATSDR estimated that PCE concentrations exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb in drinking water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant for 346 months during November 1957-February 1987. The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985.

Water from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant was contaminated primarily by TCE (tricloroethylene). Using these approaches, ATSDR estimated that TCE concentrations exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb in drinking water from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant for 346 months during November 1957-February 1987. The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985.

4. The Main Contaminants Were Trichloroethylene (TCE) And Perchloroethylene (PCE) Which Are Know To Harm Humans.

PCE and TCE are both chlorinated liquid hydrocarbons that are primarily used as degreaser agents. Short term exposure to PCE can cause skin irritation, including redness, drying, cracking, and peeling. Dizziness, headache, and nausea are also some of the most common symptoms of exposure to PCE. The chemicals are also harmful to humans because they are neurotoxins and a carcinogens. Prolonged exposure to PCE may also cause liver and kidney damage, as well as menstrual problems and spontaneous abortions in women. Ingestion of high levels of PCE can cause central nervous system damage, unconsciousness, difficulty in walking and speaking, and death from respiratory depression.

5. TCE Is A Solvent That Was Also Used To Clean Equipment On The Base.

The solvent TCE was also used at Camp Lejeune because it is an effective degreaser and cleaner. It was used to clean the floors and equipment in the base’s garages and machine shops. The use of TCE was not hidden from the public, and it was even acknowledged in the base’s newsletter. However, the long-term health effects of TCE exposure were not acknowledged by the US Marine Corps.

6. PCE Is A Dry-Cleaning Chemical That Was Used To Clean Clothing On The Base.

It is believed that the PCE chemical was in the water supply at Camp Lejeune because they were used in a dry cleaning solvent by ABC One-Hour Cleaners.

7. Both TCE And PCE Are Known To Cause Cancer In Humans.

The chemicals TCE and PCE were found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. This was determined by studies which tested the water supplies for these chemicals. These studies showed that the levels of these chemicals in the water were high enough to cause cancer.

Many studies have been conducted on both TCE and PCE to determine their effects on human health. These studies have shown that TCE and PCE are both carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer. One such study was conducted by the National Cancer Institute, which found that exposure to TCE and PCE can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.

8. The Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune Was First Made Public In The 1980s.

The Marine Corps knew about the water contamination at Camp Lejeune but hid this information from the public for more than thirty years. The Corps was aware of the poisoned water supply as early as 1957, but failed to take action until the late 1970s. In 1984, after several studies confirmed the high levels of contamination, the Marine Corps finally issued a warning to residents living at Camp Lejeune. However, they withheld crucial information about the severity of the contamination and downplayed the health risks associated with it. The Marine Corps knew that the water was poisoning their troops and their families, but chose to keep this information hidden for fear of negative publicity.

9. In 2012, The United States Government Finally Acknowledged That The Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune Was A Serious Problem.

In 2012, after years of denial, the United States government finally acknowledged that the water contamination at Camp Lejeune was a serious problem. The Department of Health and Human Services released a report admitting that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with harmful chemicals for more than thirty years. The report also found that the Marine Corps was aware of the contamination but failed to take action to protect its troops and their families. As a result of the report, the government has set up a program to provide medical care for those who were exposed to the contaminated water.

10. The Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune Is One Of The Worst Cases Of Environmental Contamination In United States History.

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is one of the worst cases of environmental contamination in United States history. Thousands of Marines and their families were exposed to toxic chemicals for more than thirty years, and as a result, many have suffered from serious health problems. Some have even died from cancer. The Marine Corps knew about the contamination but failed to take action to protect its troops and their families. The government has finally acknowledged the problem and set up a program to provide medical care for those who were exposed, but it is too late for many of the victims. The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is a tragedy that could have been prevented, and its effects will be felt for generations to come.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 provides both the ability to apply for benefits from the exposure and also permits the government to be sued for its reckless behavior. This means that if you or a loved one was exposed to PCE at Camp Lejeune and have suffered any negative health effects as a result, you may be able to receive benefits from the government, as well as file a lawsuit against it.

A Legacy of Duty & Honor

Yes, there was awful malfeasance by top level officers and government officials that took a blind eye to the suffering of Camp Lejeune soldiers and residents. And before the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, our own laws and judicial system failed them too.

But let us never forget Camp Lejeune has a proud history because of the individuals who’ve risked life and limb to protected the nation. Those who have fought when the country and the world needed them, and helped us keep our peace.

It’s a legacy of dedicated soldiers, their families and supporters, who have earned the thanks and support of grateful nation.

What Is Camp Lejeune?

Established as the elite Marine Corps training of its day in 1942, Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps Base Camp with the largest concentration of marines and sailors in the entire world. The Camp occupies 153,439 acres in Onslow County, in the southeastern region of U.S. state of North Carolina. Presently, the active-duty population is about 38,778, in addition to 38,769 family members, a civilian population of 3,349 and retirees and their families approximating 18,719. 

The Camp provides both support and training for tenant commands, and operates a series of formal military schools, from entry level to career level. In addition to a Marine Corps Base, the Camp includes a major Navy command and a Coast Guard command.

The Base itself is extensive in units and personnel, including: II Marine Expeditionary Force; Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command; 2nd Marine Division; 2nd Marine Logistics Group; 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade; 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit; 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit; 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit; 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion; 2nd Intelligence Battalion; Marine Corps Installations East; Marine Corps Engineer School; United States Marine Corps School of Infantry; Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools; Reserve Support Unit; Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune; Field Medical Training Battalion (FMTB); Joint Maritime Training Center (USCG); Marine Raider Regiment; and Marine Special Operations Support Group.

The Base itself is extensive in units and personnel, including: II Marine Expeditionary Force; Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command; 2nd Marine Division; 2nd Marine Logistics Group; 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade; 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit; 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit; 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit; 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion; 2nd Intelligence Battalion; Marine Corps Installations East; Marine Corps Engineer School; United States Marine Corps School of Infantry; Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools; Reserve Support Unit; Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune; Field Medical Training Battalion (FMTB); Joint Maritime Training Center (USCG); Marine Raider Regiment; and Marine Special Operations Support Group.

Where Does The Name Of Camp Lejeune Originate?

The name of Camp Lejeune originates from the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, namely Major General John Archer Lejeune. The Commandant designates the highest-ranking officer of the Marine Corps. The designation honors happened upon the major general’s death in November of 1942. Among his numerous achievements, General Lejeune converted the corps from a colonial naval infantry fit for the 19th century to a 20th century expeditionary and amphibious branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

What’s The History Of Camp Lejeune?

In the early part of the 20th century, the Marines embarked on the amphibious assault doctrine, namely seizure of an area, and the establishment of advanced bases followed-up with naval and land campaigns.

The doctrine grew out of concerns by both the Navy and Marine Corps to deal with Japan’s rise as a naval power. The highest priority became the Pacific region, where Japan emerged as a military might in the early 20th century, and would come to increasingly challenge the West’s colonial hegemony following World War I.

The principal instrument for amphibious assault was the War Plan Orange, a series of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) plans for conceivable war with Japan commencing in the early 1900s. The Navy saw the Plan as its main impetus for future development by 1920, and urged the Marine Corps to have capability for launching an expeditionary force in the Pacific on short-notice from the U.S. West Coast. While the West Coast had highest priority, the Marine Corps was also recommended to establish a similar force on the East Coast, in this case for Atlantic and Caribbean campaigns.

Implementing amphibious assaults had proven a challenge as early attempts at amphibious landings on hostile shores had been unsuccessful, with World War I providing very few examples of successful operations. Between 1921 and 1941, the Marine Corps engaged in numerous maneuvers and operational exercises in cooperation with the Navy and infrequently the Army to develop its amphibious capabilities. Major General John Lejeune, the Marine Corps’ Commandant and Camp Lejeune’s namesake, set amphibious assaults supporting the Navy as the Corps’ principal focus in these years.

As a result of the exercises and continued refinement, by the early 1930s Marine Corps doctrine was committed to the new primary mission of amphibious operations in support of the fleet, which General Lejeune considered to be the raison d’être of the Corps, but there had been very few opportunities for the Corps to put their mission into actual practice. Emergence of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) in 1933, created by Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson’s general order, set a type command of the Marines under the operational control of Navy fleet commanders that paved the way for successful deployment.

Despite isolationist sentiment in both the populace and Congress, a remnant of the ravages of World War I, tensions rose as militaristic regimes took hold in Germany, Italy and Japan. In 1940, Germany invaded France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium, and Congress authorized a two ocean navy and an accompanying naval building program.

Major General Thomas Holcomb, Marine Corps Commandant, sought to find land for a Marine training center in the summer of 1940. The Camp Lejeune site was selected by Major John C. McQueen from aerial surveys, a site near the Onslow County coast featuring 14 miles of undeveloped beach that would be ideal for training, formation maneuvers and artillery exercises.

Base construction of the 11,000 acre tract started in April of 1941. Marine Barracks New River was established on May of 1941. Conditions for construction and habitation were harsh. Rather than an envisioned amphibious assault habitat, the hot and humid climate featured dense underbrush, thick forests and swamps, a jungle habitat made even less bearable by insects and snakes. Little did early Marine inhabitants guess it foreshadowed the Jungle warfare habitat they would shorty face in the Pacific. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, in December of 1941, and U.S. entry into World War II, the pace of construction was sped up, and by the end of the War, Camp Lejeune was the most modern base in the country. This first phase of initial construction went from April, 1941 to September, 1942. Except for the Beach Area, the main areas of the camp were either completed or commenced, and included Tent Camp No. 1, the Division Training Area, housing the regiments, and a naval hospital at Hadnot Point.

The second initial construction phase followed, from October, 1942 to March, 1943. Here, completion of roads, piers, recreational facilities and athletic fields were undertaken, and portions of the New River were dredged.

The third initial phase of construction went from March, 1943 to September of the same year. In this phase, 30 school buildings were completed and accommodations were made for the Women’s Reserves. In a nation still disgraced by its segregation of African Americans, facilities at Montford Point provided for a separate training and housing facilities for African-American Marines, and temporary segregated quarters were established for them as well.

The fourth and last final phase of initial construction extended till the final quarter of 1943. In this phase, training pools, utilities installations and additional cantonments were established. The camp hospital, a training school for canines used in war duty and recreational facilities, featuring a 36-hole golf course, a stadium and 9 movie theatres, were also built. By this last phase, the majority of World War II construction at Camp Lejeune had been completed, and the most comprehensive Marine Corps training base in history had been built. By the end of World War II, the base included recreational beachfront, a bird sanctuary and stocked fish ponds.

What Was The Status Of Minorities And Women At Camp Lejeune?

In June of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802. In addition to banning discriminatory employment practices by the federal government, the Order barred discrimination in defense programs. African American troops first arrived at the Montford Point area of Camp Lejeune by train in that year. Nevertheless, training was still segregated between 1942 and 1949, as camp at Montford Point trained some 20,000 African Americans Marines. In July, 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 (“there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin”), which ordered the complete integration of the armed forces, and Camp Lejeune finally desegregated its troops. Following the Order, the formerly segregated area of Montford Point was renamed Camp Gilbert H. Johnson for the accomplished African American sergeant major by the same name, and became the home of the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools.

The Women’s Reserve was originally formed in 1942, and plans were accommodated for women’s barracks, mess halls and other support facilities. And unlike other branches of the military, the Marine Corps kept admissions and training policies for women that were not vastly subpar to those for men. Except for combat, starting in February, 1943, women were trained at Camp Lejeune in all aspects of military service. Female marines held specialties ranging from transport personnel, cooks, mechanics and clerks. About 3,000 women were trained elsewhere and were shipped to Camp Lejeune when their facilities were completed. The Camp remained the principal location for female Marines during World War II, and some 20,000 women Marines were trained by the end of World War II. In fact, the camp namesake’s daughter Eugenia Lejeune was one of the female Marines trained there.

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