- Water treatment plants that supplied water to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina were contaminated with toxic chemicals for over 30 years. Toxic chemicals leaked into the water from several sources, including illegal chemical dumping and disposal.The contaminated water may have injured untold numbers of victims who had no idea that the water they were bathing in and using was contaminated.Studies conducted by multiple independent agencies of the US government have shown that the drinking water supply at Camp Lejeune was contaminated from 1953 to 1987. Toxic chemicals from several on base and off base sources leaked into the groundwater that was tapped to supply drinking water to the base.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is the lead federal agency currently conducting Camp Lejeune health studies.
ATSDR’s studies have shown that those who were exposed to the contaminated water developed serious health problems, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and kidney disease. Exposure of at least 30 days on base between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 has been shown to cause serious illness and birth defects.
Service members and others who worked on base and the families who lived on base before the contaminated wells were shut down could have bathed in and ingested tap water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals.
People did not know about the toxic water and the connection to their health issues because the government covered up the problem for over 30 years. Once the government did disclose the contamination issue, it was too late for injured people to file a lawsuit under North Carolina law. Any claims or cases that were filed prior to the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act were dismissed. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will be the only chance for those injured by the toxic water to be compensated for their injuries.
Please read our Reports for more about the water contamination on our website:
Many different diseases and health conditions are linked to the toxic chemicals found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune. Those conditions include:
- Kidney Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Multiple Myeloma
- Leukemia (all types)
- Liver Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Systemic Sclerosis/scleroderma
- Cardiac Defects (birth defects)
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Breast Cancer (male & female)
- Rectal Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Brain/CNS Cancers
- Hepatic Steatosis (fatty liver)
- Infertility (female)
- Aplastic Anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavior Effects
Other conditions are still being studied. Serious medical conditions not on the list above may be eligible for compensation.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is part of the Sergeant Heath Robinson Honoring our PACT Act of 2022. President Biden signed the bill into law on August 10, 2022.
The Act will allow those who were exposed (even in utero exposure) to water contamination at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 to file a lawsuit for compensation for injuries caused by the exposure. Marines, Naval personnel, civilians, and their families who can prove they spent at least 30 days on base during this period of contamination are eligible. Many potentially eligible claimants have sadly passed away prior the bill being signed. The personal representative of the estate of a deceased person will have a right to file a claim on behalf of a deceased person who was injured due to the contaminated water.
A lawsuit may be filed 180 days after the administrative claim is denied. Administrative claims that are not decided within 180 days of filing will automatically be deemed denied. Then a civil lawsuit can be filed in federal court. All lawsuits must be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
This is historic legislation that will help thousands of injured people finally be able to hold the government accountable and get compensation for their injuries.
The full name of the legislation is the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. It’s called the PACT Act or Honoring our PACT act for short.
This historic bipartisan legislation is one of the largest health and benefits expansions in the VA’s history. The bill overcame last-minute unexpected resistance by a group of Republican Senators and achieved final passage on August 2, 2022. President Biden quickly signed it into law on August 10, 2022.
The PACT Act expands disability compensation and health care benefits for millions of Veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service. The Act adds new presumptive conditions that are eligible for VA benefits and healthcare. The PACT Act addresses illnesses acquired by exposure to toxic burn pits, radiation, certain herbicides, Agent Orange, and other toxins that have been harming Veterans for decades.
This legislation expands healthcare for combat veterans who served after 9/11, creates a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service related to toxic exposure, expands the VA’s list of service presumptions, and improves resources to support the VA’s claims processing. The PACT Act also strengthens the VA’s workforce, facilities, and claims processing capabilities.
The Senate voted to name this legislation in honor of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who was deployed to Iraq and Kosovo with the Ohio National Guard. Sgt. Robinson died in 2020 after a 3-year battle with a rare form of lung cancer related to toxic exposure during his military service.
No. If you currently receive VA disability benefits, your benefits should not be affected. Your disability payments will remain the same. If you obtain compensation for a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim, the amount you receive can be offset by past amounts paid by the VA related to the injury that was caused by the Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure. The offset would not apply to benefits the VA paid for medical conditions that are not related to the toxic water exposure.
If I have disability benefits from the VA for a presumptive condition caused by exposure at Camp Lejeune, can I still get compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Yes, you can receive under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act even if you are already receiving VA disability benefits or any other benefits.
Compensation awarded to a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claimant would be offset by the VA disability payments only if those benefits are related to an injury caused by the toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune. Essentially, the offset ensures that a claimant is not paid a second time for the same thing.
You can still file a new claim after the bill passes.Victims have been barred from recovering money for any previous claims due to North Carolina’s statute of repose, which prevents claims from being filed after a certain period of time. North Carolina’s time limit requires claims must be filed within 10 years of the contaminating event. The government did not notify the public about the contamination until well over 10 years after the contamination occurred.
North Carolina is one of the only states in the country with such a strict statute of repose for toxic exposure. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act essentially overrides the North Carolina statute of repose and restarts the clock. Injury claimants will now have 2 years to file a claim after the date the bill was signed.
No. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims are not Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claims. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act creates a new statutory tort that is not part of the FTCA.
A statute of limitations is the time limit in which a person has to file a claim or lawsuit. A person can lose the right to file a claim or lawsuit if the statute of limitations has expired.
Cases filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act must be filed within 2 years of the denial of an administrative claim against the US government under the Act or 2 years after the law is enacted, whichever is later. This is a very short window of time, so if you believe you may have an injury that would qualify for compensation, you should contact us immediately for a consultation. The government has 6 months (180 days) to admit or deny an administrative claim. If the claim is denied, the claimant then has 2 years to file a civil lawsuit in federal court.
There is no statute of repose for cases filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Act eliminates the standard North Carolina 10-year statute of repose for these claims.
In addition to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act cases, the Nations Law Firm is proud to represent over 2,400 wounded warriors and their families in antiterrorism litigation against state sponsors of terrorism and those that aided them.
We are a Veteran-owned law firm. Lead attorney Howard Nations is a proud US Army veteran and Corky Smith is a proud member of the JAG Corps and serves as an officer in the Mississippi Army National Guard. All of our attorneys have been preparing for the Camp Lejeune litigation for a long time and are well-prepared to help bring long-awaited justice to those injured by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. We welcome the opportunity to help those who have suffered due to the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
The Nations Law Firm is a national law firm that handles cases all over the country. We have offices in Houston, Washington, DC, and New York. We routinely handle cases in courts nationwide and are well-equipped to handle Camp Lejeune Justice Act cases.
No. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act allows for individual claims. All lawsuits must be filed in the federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Each lawsuit must be prosecuted individually.
A client will not have to pay any fees out of pocket. The Nations Law Firm will only recover a fee if we recover money for you. We advance the costs for investigating and litigating a case. We can recoup those expenses only if we settle or win your case.
A claimant should have the right to recover financial damages for various categories of loss, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability and disfigurement
No. Even though the government’s conduct was willful and grossly negligent, punitive damages are not recoverable under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
The Nations Law Firm has been in operation for over 50 years. Howard Nations is a proud Veteran himself. He has been practicing law since 1966 and is one of the most highly honored trial lawyers in the country. The Nations Law Firm specializes in catastrophic injury cases. We are dedicated to helping Veterans and their family members and all those injured by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
Documents showing that the injured person or immediate family member was at Camp Lejeune for 30 days during the relevant time period and documents a medical diagnosis will be likely be helpful. If you have already obtained these documents yourself, please let us know when you contact us for a consultation.
For a deceased claimant, at a minimum, we need a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate to investigate a possible claim. We will be happy to discuss which additional documents will be necessary to prove a claim on behalf of a deceased person whose death was caused by their exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
For Veterans, a DD214 is the certificate of release or discharge from active duty that is given to the Veteran upon release or discharge from the military. This document is proof of military service and will show the Veteran’s dates of service, the branch of the military the Veteran served in, and the locations where the Veteran entered the service and was discharged. Some DD214s will show a Veteran’s service at Camp Lejeune but most do not list each place the Veteran was stationed or served.
If you are a Navy or Marine Veteran or family member of a Veteran, a DD214 is likely the best proof of service in the Navy or Marine Corps. We may need additional documentation to prove presence at Camp Lejeune. You do not need to obtain these documents yourself before you speak to our staff about a possible claim.
Veterans can obtain a lot or destroyed DD214s by requesting a copy from the Military Personnel Records Center or National Personnel Records Center. Service members can obtain free electronic copies of their military personnel file, including their DD214 through the VA and Department of Defense (DOD).
For civilians and family members, there is not one specific form that will prove that you were on base for 30 days. We may be able to prove your presence on base through affidavits or witness statements but the exact documents that we will need will depend on the situation. Those born at the base hospital at Camp Lejeune can provide their birth certificates, but a birth certificate only shows the location and date of birth. We will know more about what else is needed as this litigation continues.
Claims can be filed on behalf of deceased Veterans or deceased family members who were on base during the period of contamination. A legal representative will be able to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act subject to certain limitations. An estate administration will be required for these cases involving a deceased claimant.
The four most prevalent chemicals found in the water supply are TCE, PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride. These four chemicals are toxic to humans and can cause serious health problems. Small amounts of other chemicals were also found in the water. Detailed reports on these chemicals can be found on our Reports page.
Superfund sites are locations polluted with hazardous materials.
Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established by the EPA to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. Camp Lejeune’s designation as a Superfund site allows the EPA to clean up the contamination and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led clean-ups.
Yes, Camp Lejeune was designated a superfund site in 1989.The EPA designated Camp Lejeune as a Superfund site due to the hazardous toxic waste that had been dumped into vacant lots sourced for water on base. Most of these sites are abandoned. Camp Lejeune is unusual because it has been in continuous use since the 1940s and is still in use today.
The cleanup process started in 1992 and is still ongoing. The extent of the contamination is massive.
The ABC Cleaners location at 2127 Lejeune Boulevard in Jacksonville is a separate Superfund site. Like Camp Lejeune, it was designated as a Superfund site in 1989. Tarawa Terrace is directly south of this site. The cleanup efforts at this site began in 2000 and have continued off and on since then. The most recent cleanup project was scheduled to begin in January 2022.
In 2012 the Obama administration passed the Janey Ensminger Act giving Veterans of Camp Lejeune the ability to receive health care though Veteran Affairs (VA) for any presumptive conditions listed below that the VA has associated with the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Janey Ensminger was the daughter of Marine Jerry Ensminger. She was born at Camp Lejeune and died of leukemia at age 9.
The Janey Ensminger Act made it possible for non-military family members to qualify for VA healthcare if they have the following conditions linked to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune.
- Bladder Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Female Infertility
- Hepatic Steatosis
- Kidney Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Multiple Myeloma
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome
- Neurobehavioral Effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Renal Toxicity