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Military personnel and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for decades drank and took showers in water that was tainted with a number of cancer-causing chemicals. Deaths occurred. They were hurt. Women experienced miscarriages. People who drank this polluted water experienced neurobehavioral consequences. At Camp Lejeune, injuries to newborns were common, and many of them were fatal. Other victims underwent lengthy periods of agonizing medical care, and they still do.
Even worse, relatively few plaintiffs have been successful in obtaining compensation for the injury they endured as a result of a tainted water supply because of a procedural obstacle in North Carolina law. But because of recent laws that Congress passed, this injustice might soon end.
At Camp Lejeune’s military base, hundreds of thousands (and maybe a million) of servicemen and women, their families, and civilians were unintentionally exposed to contaminated water. The water was eventually discovered to be tainted with industrial solvents and other poisons, which were unknown at the time. Ex-residents still experience the following severe health concerns as a result of exposure to these toxins:
The illnesses and symptoms connected to the Camp Lejeune water contamination are not all listed here. Sadly, and unfairly, victims no longer have the option to submit medical claims for their injuries through the Veteran’s Administration. Additionally, victims of hazardous water exposure are prohibited from pursuing legal remedies for the pain and harm they have endured due to a procedural restriction in North Carolina law.
President Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act back in 2012. The daughter of retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger is honored by the name of this legislation. At Camp Lejeune, he thinks she contracted leukemia while still in the womb. At the age of nine, Janey passed away in 1985. Although the Act gives some Camp Lejeune veterans access to health care, it does not offer any assistance to dependents who have been hurt by carcinogens and other toxins in the water system.
MSgt Ensminger served in the Marines for almost 25 years. He just revealed to The Hill, “The entire first trimester of Janey’s pregnancy was there on the base. We’ve got more documented evidence of what happened at Camp Lejeune than they have for Agent Orange.”
The VA simply cannot afford to cover these enormous costs due to the unprecedented number of victims, even though the federal government agreed to pay out roughly $2.2 billion in disability benefits in 2017 for a specific list of diseases and conditions (which does not include all the ailments Camp Lejeune veterans suffer from). Existing North Carolina law precludes any further legal action even with current statutes in place because of a legal doctrine known as a “statute of repose.”
According to The Hill, a statute of repose is distinct from a statute of limitations, “North Carolina is among the few states to have a statute of repose on polluters that prohibits plaintiffs from launching cases if more than 10 years have passed since the contaminating event.”
Now that the PACT Act was passed, everything is about to change.
But there’s some good news coming. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was just passed by Congress as part of the PACT Act, may offer relief to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been exposed to toxic and poisonous water. When the legislation first passed the House, Representative Greg Murphy had the following to say:
“When we send our men and women overseas, we make a promise to care for them when they come home. We failed our veterans when they were exposed to toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune, and it is up to us to make it right. My bipartisan bill, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, eliminates burdensome red tape to ensure that those exposed to toxic chemicals, including service-members, Marine dependents, civil servants, and contractors, can receive their day in court. As the proud representative of more than 89,000 veterans, I am honored to lead the effort to make sure our Camp Lejeune community gets the care and benefits they’ve earned.”
Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, anyone who has come into contact with tainted water, including unborn children, may sue in federal district court for damages. The Act will finally remove the legal barriers in the way of justice for victims. Anyone with one of the several illnesses connected to the contaminated water who was stationed or on base at Camp Lejeune for more than thirty days would be covered by this Act.
The lawyers of Kenneth S. Nugent, P.C. wish to aid the members of our armed forces who have been damaged by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. To find out how to submit your possible claim, complete our form or call 1-800-CALL-KEN. We assist veterans and their families who have been harmed by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune around the nation. Let us fight for you since you fought for our nation.