Master Complaint Filed in Camp Lejeune Litigation as Court Orders Bellwether Trials
Camp Lejeune litigation marches forward as Master Complaint is filed, giving future plaintiffs an opportunity to file Short Form complaints to expedite the process. Additionally, the Court recently ordered a series of bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma claims to be selected for bellwether trials.
A Master Complaint brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, or CLJA, was recently filed on behalf of military veterans and their families who allege injuries from contaminated water while on North Carolina Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The Master Complaint lists several locations on base where high levels of water contamination were found, and outlines the common illnesses and conditions that have been linked to the toxic water, including but not limited to leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, female infertility, miscarriages, and more.
The Master Complaint also allows for future lawsuits to be brought by what is known as a Short Form Complaint. This is an expedited process applying certain allegations from the Master Complaint to a plaintiff’s claim. This aims to streamline the process of the hundreds of thousands of claims that may be brought under the CLJA.
Signed into law in August 2022, the CJLA provides a means for injured individuals to seek justice against the government. Anyone who lived or worked on Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for 30 days or more (non-consecutively) and were harmed by exposure to contaminated water may be eligible to file a claim. This includes individuals who, at the time, were in utero and subsequently suffered an illness or health condition due to the exposure.
With many Camp Lejeune claims pending, four federal judges presiding over the litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina are working towards a plan to prepare a series of bellwether trials scheduled to begin in 2024. Presiding over the Camp Lejeune claims are Judges Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III. The discovery pool of bellwether trials will include 20 complaints per each of the five illnesses listed below, for a total of 100 cases overall:
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
For 35 years, approximately one million civilian workers, military service members, and their families lived on Camp Lejeune, unknowingly drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning with water that was contaminated with toxins such as:
- oil, petrol and industrial wastewater
- and other chemicals, such as industrial solvents used to clean military equipment
These contaminants were knowingly dumped into the water supply by the U.S. government. Other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were also detected in the base’s drinking water supply, including:
- tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene or PCE)
- trichloroethylene (TCE)
- vinyl chloride (VC)
Many VOCs are known to be carcinogenic chemicals, meaning they are known to cause cancer.
Contact Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Situation if You Believe You Have a Camp Lejeune Claim
If you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 and believe your cancer or other serious injury was caused by water contamination, call us today. Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. attorneys can evaluate your potential claim with you during a completely free consultation. Call us at (888) 984-7988 or fill out our contact form to speak with an attorney about your potential case.