The Tennessee Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, a dark chapter in U.S. Marine Corps history, has left a trail of distress and disease over the decades, affecting numerous lives.
This environmental calamity has led to serious health issues among military personnel, their families, and civilian employees who resided or worked at the base. Understanding your rights and navigating the legal landscape can be critical in seeking justice and compensation for the harm endured.
If you or someone close to you has been harmed due to exposure to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, rest assured that the devoted team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands ready to offer the help you need.
As a law firm with a national reputation for handling plaintiff’s cases, our primary mission is to ensure you receive the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.
Table Of Contents
- Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
- The Cause Of the Contamination in the Groundwater at Camp Lejeune
- Who Qualifies For A Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement?
- Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Settlement Amounts in Tennessee
- Filing a Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
- Get Your Free Consultation From Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Attorneys
Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
Located in the core of Onslow County, North Carolina, Camp Lejeune has functioned as an important Marine Corps base and training facility, including a Marine Corps air station, since its inception in 1942.
However, beneath the facade of military discipline and camaraderie, a toxic secret was brewing. The camp’s water supply, meant to sustain life, was gradually poisoning its inhabitants.
Environmental testing in the 1980s revealed a sinister reality. The water supply to Camp Lejeune residents and employees was severely contaminated, leading to the grim discovery of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Thousands of military service members, their families, civilian employees, and contractors who resided or operated at the base during the contamination period from 1953 to 1987 were left vulnerable to the toxic effects of the contaminated water, many becoming victims of the contamination.
Tennessee residents who developed certain types of cancer and lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Individuals from Tennessee who have been exposed to contaminated drinking water from Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days and have later developed cancer could qualify to submit a claim. The members of this individual’s family may also be eligible to start such a suit.
Also Read: Toxic Water Served for Decades
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Justice Act of 2022
Plaintiffs filing a Camp Lejeune water lawsuit under the CLJA face a comparatively low burden of proof. Plaintiffs may fulfill their burden of proof with scientific and medical evidence demonstrating a potential correlation between their claimed injury and exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
The CLJA outlines:
- Who is eligible to file a suit
- The deadline for filing
- What victims may be able to seek in a settlement
- The criteria for receiving a payout
The Act has paved the way for Camp Lejeune victims to seek justice and compensation for the suffering they have endured due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates
The process of justice is moving forward slowly yet steadily in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. The plaintiffs have argued against the government’s limited defenses in the court, and the Camp Lejeune lawsuits are progressing steadily.
The new law provides an opportunity for victims who resided or worked near Camp Lejeune between 1953 and the late 1980s and have been diagnosed with cancer or neurologic disorders to file a claim and potentially receive a Camp Lejeune settlement payout or jury award for the harm they have endured.
The origin of the PCE contamination at Camp Lejeune was attributed to a dry cleaning company in the vicinity. As of mid-November 2023, $850,000 has been paid out in settlements to three individuals.
The Cause Of the Contamination in the Groundwater at Camp Lejeune
Revealing the cause of the catastrophe at Camp Lejeune is like peeling layers from an onion. Each layer reveals a new facet of the contamination. The contamination at Camp Lejeune was attributed to:
- Toxic waste disposal and dumping, resulting in the presence of hazardous chemicals in the groundwater
- Divisions on the base utilizing harsh chemicals for cleaning military gear
- An off-base dry-cleaning facility in the vicinity
- A substantial fuel leak estimated at 800,000 gallons from underground fuel tanks at Camp Lejeune.
The contamination of the camp’s water supply attained distressing levels. The Camp Lejeune water supply was found to have a TCE (trichloroethylene) concentration of up to 1,400 parts per billion (ppb), a figure that sends shivers down the spine.
The silent poison had seeped into the life force of the camp, turning the water supply into a lethal cocktail of toxic chemicals.
What Toxic Chemicals Were Found in the Groundwater at Camp Lejeune?
Toxic chemicals TCE and PCE penetrated the groundwater at Camp Lejeune, each possessing its own set of detrimental effects. TCE is a toxic chemical linked to kidney cancer. Classified as a carcinogen, it poses a potential health risk regardless of the route of exposure .
PCE, commonly known as tetrachloroethylene, is a clear liquid chemical. It is widely used in industrial dry-cleaning operations. It has certain effects on the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys. It can be stored in fat cells for a long period. More alarmingly, it can cross the placenta and distribute to the fetus, potentially leading to birth defects.
The toxic substances found in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune have been linked to a heightened risk of various cancers, including bladder and kidney cancers, as well as other health issues.
Health Issues Due To Exposure to These Chemicals
Contact with the harmful chemicals present in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune may result in various health complications, including cancer, congenital disabilities, and neurological disorders. The Bove Study confirmed that the water system at Camp Lejeune had higher levels of toxins.
The JAMA Neurology study revealed that marines who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease . This was in comparison to individuals not exposed to the toxic water.
The victims’ lawsuits have been moving forward slowly, increasingly transforming into wrongful death claims. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes several forms of cancer impacting individuals in Tennessee, including:
- Reproductive Issues
- Birth Defects
- Multiple Myeloma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Bladder Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Renal Toxicity
- Esophageal Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Prostate Cancer
- Miscarriage Fetal Death
- Neurobehavioral Effects
- Lung Cancer
- Aplastic Anemia
- Cervical Cancer
- Wrongful Death
Who Qualifies For A Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Settlement?
Individuals who worked at Camp Lejeune and experienced health problems due to water contamination qualify for a Tennessee Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement.
Those affected by the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination will need to demonstrate that they resided or were employed at Camp Lejeune and experienced health issues as a result of the water contamination.
Individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 meet the eligibility requirements for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
These initial criteria help identify those affected by this Act. The path to justice can be arduous, but with the right guidance and legal support from Camp Lejeune attorneys, you can seek the compensation you deserve.
Damages That You Can Recover From a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
In a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, victims may qualify for compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Other associated costs
Specific medical expenses, including past and future medical care related to the contamination, are eligible for recovery.
Aside from medical expenses and lost wages, victims can also claim for:
- physical and mental pain and suffering
- future medical expenses related to the contamination
- loss of consortium
- property damage caused by the contamination
- loss of enjoyment of life
- punitive damages
“It is important to understand that a Camp Lejeune settlement will not affect your benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).”- Camp Lejeune Claims Center
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Settlement Amounts in Tennessee
The quiet disaster of Camp Lejeune water contamination has led to an outspoken demand for justice. The potential settlement amounts for Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits in Tennessee may vary but could span from $10,000 to over $1,000,000, depending on the specifics of the case.
Settlement amounts for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits can range from $25,000 to $1 million or more per person, depending on the severity of the medical condition the claimant has been diagnosed with.
As of now, the maximum settlement amount for the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in Tennessee stands at $850,000 for three claimants of the contaminated water.
Filing a Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
The path to justice starts with understanding the process of filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in Tennessee. To start, individuals must meet the set deadlines, prove residency and exposure, and file an administrative claim.
Individuals and military personnel must have resided or been stationed at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days to file a lawsuit. After submitting a written claim to the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the JAG will have a period of six months to either pay or deny the claim.
If no response is received within this period, the claim will be deemed denied. Victims have been given 180 days to file a lawsuit in the District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. This deadline is effective immediately.
Deadlines and Requirements
It’s important to be aware of the deadlines and prerequisites for filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in Tennessee. Victims who wish to pursue a claim under the CLJA have a strict two-year limit, commencing August 10, 2022, to submit a claim.
To file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit in Tennessee, certain eligibility criteria must be fulfilled. These may include having illnesses or injuries associated with water contamination, such as various forms of cancer, including breast cancer, bladder cancer, or cervical cancer.
Proving Residency and Exposure
Establishing residency and exposure to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water is a fundamental element of a successful lawsuit. Military records indicating that you were stationed at Camp Lejeune during the applicable period can also serve as evidence.
Medical tests or diagnoses that could demonstrate exposure to contaminants at Camp Lejeune include Parkinson’s disease, adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, and other myelodysplastic syndromes, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, and liver cancer.
Filing an Administrative Claim
To file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy for Camp Lejeune water contamination, you must obtain the Standard Form 95 (SF-95) from the Department of the Navy or download it from their website.
This form must be filled out completely and accurately, providing detailed information about the contamination, the damages suffered, and any supporting documentation.
Once the form is signed and dated, it can be submitted to the Department of the Navy either by mail or electronically through their online portal, if available. It is advised to keep a copy of the submitted form and any supporting documentation for your records.
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Get Your Free Consultation From Tennessee Camp Lejeune Water Attorneys
The team at Schmidt and Clark, LLP is ready and willing to lend you a helping hand in these challenging times. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the contamination at Camp Lejeune, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team is well-versed in cases like these and stands ready to guide you every step of the way.
It’s your right to be fully informed about your legal rights and potential eligibility for a lawsuit. We assure you that our consultations are always complimentary, and you won’t face any charges unless we achieve a successful outcome for your case.
Contact Schmidt and Clark today for a thorough analysis of your case. Allow us to be your reliable ally in this journey.