Starting in the 1950s, dozens of highly toxic chemicals contaminated Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s drinking water supply. The contamination exposed hundreds of thousands of military and civilian personnel to dangerous substances, causing countless cancers and other life-threating diseases. The water contamination continued until 1985. Since then, victims of the toxic water have had no avenue to recover the compensation they deserve.

On August 2, 2022, Congress passed a bill called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022(opens in a new tab). The President plans to sign this into law, authorizing veterans, contractors, and their family members who suffered any illness from drinking or bathing in Camp LeJeune’s toxic water to seek compensation.

If you or one of your family members served, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune for any 30-day period between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you may be eligible. Camp Lejeune’s water contamination may have caused you and your children to suffer several types of cancer, severe kidney diseases, birth defects, infertility, and other illnesses.

Quick Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates

  • The trials for Camp Lejeune are scheduled to start in 2024
  • In November 2023, the first 3 individuals agreed to settlement amounts totaling $850,000, and two were paid. This is all according to the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Any person (military or civilian) who spent more than 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987 may be able to file a claim for compensation.
  • If your loved one passed away years ago from an illness caused by Camp Lejeune water, you may still be able to file a claim on their behalf.

The Ruth Law Team Will File Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claims

If the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) becomes law, The Ruth Law Team will be ready to advance your claim for the compensation you deserve for the years of illness caused by the Marine camp’s polluted well water.

The CLJA could open the door for thousands of veterans and contractors to file a claim for the illnesses they suffered because of exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. For many years, lawsuits seeking justice for the victims of Camp Lejeune’s chemically contaminated water were blocked by a North Carolina statute of limitations disallowing legal claims filed more than 10 years after the event causing the injury.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

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Frequently Asked Questions About Camp LeJeune Water Contamination

Do I have a medical condition covered by The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA)?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) represents a significant development in addressing the long-standing issue of water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Spanning from 1953 to 1987, this contamination has been linked to a variety of serious medical conditions affecting countless veterans, their families, and others who lived or worked at the base. Understanding whether your... read more?

What should I do if I have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune?

If you were exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water while serving or living on base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, you can contact The Ruth Law Team to find out whether you or your family member may qualify for benefits or compensation under the CLJA.  Exposure to contaminated water alone does not necessarily mean that someone will develop adverse medical conditions or... read more?

Do I need a lawyer for a Camp Lejeune claim?

The law does not require you to be represented by a lawyer to file a Camp Lejeune injury claim. However, a professional licensed attorney studies, trains, and practices for many years to acquire expertise in preparing, filing, and fighting for their client’s legal claims.  Injured parties who file their own claims without a lawyer’s assistance sometimes omit required documentation,... read more?

What Happens Next?

At The Ruth Law Team, we understand that this may be your first time seeking legal counsel and how intimidating that decision might be. This is why we have simplified the process to help you make the right decision for your circumstances. This 3-step process includes:

Complete Our Case Evaluation Form

This quick survey will help us better understand what happened and which attorney is the best fit for your situation.

Speak with One of Our Attorneys

The best way for you to have a clear idea your options is to speak with an attorney who specializes in your area of need.

Submit Your
Claim

Once you decide that The Ruth Law Team is the right option to represent you, we will begin the process of submitting your claim.

The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Story

Discovery of Toxic Contamination

In 1982, a disturbing discovery was made at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, located on the picturesque coast of North Carolina. The base’s drinking water was found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals, raising immediate concerns about the health risks to those residing and working at the base.

Source of Contamination: Water Treatment Plants

The contamination was traced back to two out of eight water treatment plants serving Camp Lejeune. These were identified by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as:

  • Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant
  • Hadnot Point Treatment Plant

Nature of Contaminants: Volatile Organic Compounds

The primary contaminants found in the water were specific Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other hazardous chemicals. VOCs are a group of chemicals known for their high vapor pressure and low water solubility, making them a serious concern for water safety.

Potential Health Impact

The presence of these chemicals in drinking water is particularly alarming due to their potential to cause a range of health issues. While the impact can vary, the long-term exposure to these toxic substances has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers and other serious health conditions, affecting individuals of all ages.

What Toxic Chemicals Were Found in the Water At Camp Lejeune?

The water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with various Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), posing serious health risks. These VOCs, present in the water serving base housing and numerous other buildings, included a concerning array of substances.

The water contamination was characterized by the presence of:

  • Dry Cleaning Solvents
  • Degreasers
  • Over 70 Other Hazardous Chemicals

Scientific and medical research has established a connection between these chemicals and several severe health conditions. The risks are multifaceted, affecting various aspects of human health.

While the sources of contamination at Camp Lejeune are diverse, the origins of certain chemicals have been pinpointed:

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC): 

Predominantly found in the water from the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant, this chemical’s presence was largely attributed to a nearby off-base dry cleaning business. PCE is used in:

  • Dry cleaning fabrics
  • Degreasing metal machinery
  • Manufacturing other chemicals
  • Producing paint, and more

Health Impact: Exposure to PCE is linked to bladder cancer and other health conditions.

Trichloroethylene (TCE): 

Utilized as a metal machinery degreaser, TCE exposure, whether ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, has been associated with:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Other cancers
  • Cardiac effects

Vinyl Chloride: 

An odorless gas used in the production of plastic products, including PVC pipes and wire coatings. Previously used in products like makeup, refrigerants, and household aerosols.

Health Impact: Vinyl chloride is heavily linked to liver cancer and other cancers.

Benzene: 

A commonly used organic compound in industrial chemical operations. Consumption of water contaminated with benzene has been linked to:

  • Leukemias
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Potentially multiple myeloma

CDC and ATSDR Assessments of These Chemicals

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have provided vital information on the sources and potential health impacts of these contaminants, offering a clearer understanding of the gravity of the situation.

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Camp Lejeune’s Water Could Have Caused These Diseases and Illnesses

These toxic chemicals are shown to cause severe disease in humans who ingest them or are exposed to them for an extended period of time. Some of the life-threatening illnesses you might have suffered after being exposed to these chemicals include the ones on this list:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Leukemias
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Cardiac defects
  • Multiple myeloma
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Scleroderma

At least one study shows that exposure to TCE, PCE, and benzene could also cause the following health conditions:

  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Soft tissue cancer
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Fetal death
  • Low birth weight
  • Eye defects
  • Major birth malformations
  • Miscarriage
  • Cleft lip and other oral cleft defects
  • Autoimmune related disease and impairment
  • Neurological interference with vision, memory, and attention
  • Depression, confusion, anxiety, and other mood disorders

What is The Camp Lejeune Act?

In August 2022, President Biden signed a pivotal piece of legislation, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, marking a significant advancement in recognizing and addressing the challenges faced by those affected by the toxic water contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

Purpose and Scope of the Act

This act represents a crucial development for veterans, their families, base workers, and others who have endured health issues due to the contaminated water. It empowers them to seek compensation, an acknowledgment of their suffering and a step towards justice.

Legal Provisions of the Act

Venue for Filing Claims: The Act permits individuals to file claims in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, specifically targeting damages resulting from exposure to the contaminated water between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.

Eligibility Criteria: A key provision of the bill is the allowance for any individual exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune for a cumulative 30 days to pursue legal action. This 30-day threshold can be accumulated non-consecutively, thereby broadening the scope of eligible claimants.

For instance, family members who visited the base sporadically and accumulated a total of 30 days during the specified period are eligible to file a claim.

Legal Implications and Overrides

Governmental Immunity: One of the groundbreaking aspects of this bill is its prohibition of the United States Government from asserting certain immunities against litigation in these cases.

Overriding State Law: Additionally, the Act supersedes a North Carolina state law that previously rendered such legal actions challenging, clearing the way for these lawsuits to proceed.

Origins of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The inception of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act can be traced back to critical findings by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Department of Defense. Their investigations revealed that over a million individuals at Camp Lejeune were exposed to water contaminated with substances capable of causing severe health issues.

Early Legal Efforts and Challenges

Initial Lawsuits: Prior to the development of the Act, numerous lawsuits were filed addressing the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune.

Consolidation and Dismissal: These lawsuits, over 850 in number, were consolidated into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL). However, they faced a significant legal hurdle – they were dismissed in 2016 based on a North Carolina law known as the statute of repose. This law precluded legal action on grounds that the alleged contamination occurred more than three years before the lawsuits were filed.

Public Response and Legislative Action

Public Outrage: The dismissal of these lawsuits, despite the gravity of the situation, sparked considerable public outrage. This collective discontent highlighted the need for legislative intervention.

Proposition of the Act: In response to this public outcry and the apparent legal impasse, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was proposed years later. It was aimed at addressing these legal challenges and providing a path to justice for those affected by the water contamination.

Who Can File A Camp Lejeune Claim?

As stated in the Veterans Administration release document and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act signed by the President, any person who lived, worked or resided at the military base for at least thirty (30) days, while the Camp Lejeune water contamination was occuring, may be eligible to file a claim.

This includes active duty and former service members, family members living on base, non-military staff, families of deceased, and even individuals who were not yet born when their mother was residing at Camp Lejeune that have incurred birth defects.

It’s important to note that if you were dishonorably discharged, you may not be eligible for disability benefits or compensation.

Families of dishonorably discharged military personnel are also not eligible to file suit or apply for compensation.

What Should A Person Do When They Want To File A Claim?

There are several steps a person or family can take if they want to file a claim in the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

Hire a Quality Attorney

Contact The Ruth Law Team to discuss your situation and how the Camp Lejeune incident has impacted you (or your family). We will help you navigate this unique situation and guide you toward a fair outcome. Our team will also help you with:

  • Refining Your Case: Our attorneys expertly evaluate and organize your evidence, strengthening your case. We understand the legal nuances of the claims and can effectively articulate your experience and its impacts within the framework of the law.
  • Assessing Damages: A crucial part of any claim is the assessment of damages – the quantifiable and non-quantifiable losses you have incurred. Our experienced legal team can accurately estimate these damages, ensuring that you seek appropriate compensation.

    Damages refer to the losses, both tangible and intangible, suffered due to an injury or harm for which you were not at fault. In the context of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, damages can be diverse and significant.

Gather Necessary Evidence For Your Case

Effective and undeniable evidence are the cornerstones of an effective injury case like the one with Camp Lejeune. Evidence relating to water contamination can include a number of documents relating to your or a loved one’s time spent at the marine corps base.

Here is a list of common (but not all-inclusive) documents that may help in the lawsuit:

  • Documents proving residence at Camp Lejeune
  • Military service records such as the DD214, indicating dates and locations served
  • Medical records and diagnoses
  • Medical bills
  • Travel records
  • Health care information
  • Records on disability benefits or VA compensation benefits

Please note, there is currently a 10-month delay for attorneys ordering military files. The more documentation you have, the better.

Determine Liability For Damages

The Camp Lejeune Lawyers will also establish liability in this case. For many instances, liability has been established. However, some instances exist with some illnesses that require more evidence that the illness was at least as likely as not to be caused by the water contamination.

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Contact Our Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Attorneys

If you feel that you or someone you love has been impacted by the toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune, please contact The Ruth Law Team at (888) 783-8378 and one of our experienced attorneys will help you understand the options that are available to you. 

You don’t have to suffer alone. The Ruth Law team is here to fight on your behalf during this time of need.

Camp Lejeune Attorneys

About The Ruth Law Team

For over 40 years, The Ruth Law Team has been helping those who were injured due to an accident, defective product, nursing home abuse, and more. If you or someone you love was wrongfully hurt, The Ruth Law Team will guide and support you through the legal process.

Our team of passionate and experienced personal injury attorneys will fight for what you deserve. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys and have your case evaluated, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 783-8378. Our lines are open 24/7.

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