FEDERAL CAUSE OF ACTION RELATING TO WATER AT CAMP LEJEUNE, NORTH CAROLINA.
(a) Short Title -- This section may be cited as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
(b) In General -- An individual, including a veteran (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code), or the legal representative of such an individual, who resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) for not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that was supplied by, or on behalf of, the United States may bring an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to obtain appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.
(c) Burdens and Standard of Proof --
(A) sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists; or
(B) sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.
(d) Exclusive Jurisdiction and Venue -- The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any action filed under subsection (b), and shall be the exclusive venue for such an action. Nothing in this subsection shall impair the right of any party to a trial by jury.
(e) Exclusive Remedy —
(i) any program under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
(ii) the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act
(42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.); or
(iii) the Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act
(42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); and
(B) in connection with health care or a disability relating to exposure to the water at
(f) Immunity Limitation -- The United States may not assert any claim to immunity in an action under this section that would otherwise be available under section 2680(a) of title 28, United States Code.
(g) No Punitive Damages -- Punitive damages may not be awarded in any action under this section.
(h) Disposition by Federal Agency Required -- An individual may not bring an action under this section before complying with section 2675 of title 28, United States Code.
(i) Exception for Combatant Activities -- This section does not apply to any claim or action arising out of the combatant activities of the Armed Forces.
(j) Applicability; Period for Filing —
(A) the date that is two years after the date of enactment of this Act; or
(B) the date that is 180 days after the date on which the claim is denied under
section 2675 of title 28, United States Code.
3. Inapplicability of other limitations -- Any applicable statute of repose or statute of
limitations, other than under paragraph (2), shall not apply to a claim under this section.
From 1953 until 1987, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was toxic. Marines, their families, and civilian workers stationed at Camp Lejeune were exposed to water that was contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene, TCE (trichloroethylene), PCE (perchloroethylene), and vinyl chloride. These chemicals were found in 2 of the primary water treatment facilities on base – Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace.
The chemicals found in the Camp Lejeune drinking water have been found to cause many different cancers and illnesses including:
Will This Affect My VA Benefits?
No! Filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) will have no impact on your VA disability, widow or medical benefits. Similar to any other injury lawsuit, the law does allow for any amount of VA disability or Medicare/Medicaid benefits related to the illness giving rise to the CLJA claim to be offset from any award or settlement; however, the government could agree to waive that offset when that time comes.
What If A Potential Claimant Died Many Years Ago?
Deceased individuals, regardless of how long ago they passed away, can also qualify for a claim through their estate's personal representative. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act waives the statute of limitations defense, so a deceased's family may still recover if the death was related to the contaminated water.
How Long Do We Have To File A Claim?
The law will only allow individuals who qualify to file claims for TWO YEARS from the date this bill was signed into law (August 10, 2022). So, that means that your claim must be filed no later than August 10, 2024. Any claim filed after the deadline could be subject to dismissal, so please do not wait to act!
Is This Only For Marines?
No! This new law allows anyone who was exposed to the toxic Camp Lejeune water from 1953 to 1987 (for at least 30 days) to bring a claim. This includes Marines, their family members, civilian employees, and anyone else who was exposed.
Where Will The Cases Be Filed?
First, each claim must be filed administratively with the Department of the Navy's JAG office. If that office either denies the claim or fails to act on it within six months, it can then be filed only in federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Is This A Class Action Lawsuit?
No. This is an individual claim for you or your loved-one. A class action involves a group of plaintiffs who have a similar injury. In this case, there are many different situations - some have died, some have become disabled, and some have recovered. Each of our clients' situations are unique and we treat them as such.
How Will Cattie & Gonzalez Help the Victims of Camp Lejeune?
Cattie & Gonzalez’s role is not to represent the victim on the underlying claim. If a victim seeks representation for that purpose, we are happy to provide a referral.
Instead, Cattie & Gonzalez will help victims resolve liens and preserve government benefits post-settlement such as Medicare & Medicaid. Like resolving any other personal injury action, there may be liens to reimburse lienholders who paid a victim’s past medical expenses (date of injury to date of settlement) and there may be a need to protect future healthcare benefits post-settlement for those who wish to have access to Medicare and Medicaid. Failure to address liens and protect future benefits may results in actions such as denial of benefits or reimbursement actions pursued months or years after the case is resolved. Cattie & Gonzalez can also be put on retainer to answer any questions victims might have about future Medicare and Medicaid benefits once their case has been resolved.