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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base located on 156,000 acres in Jacksonville, North Carolina. For 30 years of its history of operations, military personnel and their families were unknowingly drinking, bathing in, and using contaminated water. Those exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 face an elevated risk of developing serious health conditions, including cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and neurological disorders. These types of health outcomes may be compensable with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.

What Happened to the Water at Camp Lejeune?

Starting as early as 1953, industrial solvents perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) were improperly disposed of by the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water treatment plants. The contamination at both water-treatment plants affected:

  • Barracks for unmarried service members
  • Enlisted family housing
  • Base schools
  • Base administrative offices
  • Recreational areas

Hadnot Point also supplied treated water to the base hospital, Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune.

The primary contaminant that affected the wells used by Tarawa Terrace was PCE, which came from spills and the improper disposal of the chemical by a dry cleaner located off the Marine Corps base, but nearby. This contamination is believed to have begun in 1953, which is when the dry cleaner first began its operations. Additional contaminants found in the wells used by the Tarawa Terrace system came from sources on the base, but are believed to have had a much less significant impact.

The Hadnot Point water treatment plant had several sources of contamination, including industrial site spills, improperly stored chemical drums, and leaking underground storage tanks. The main contaminant found in the wells serving Hadnot Point was TCE, although it is unclear whether the contamination began as soon as it began operations in 1953 or in the following years.

It was not until 1982 that the Marine Corps learned of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contaminating the water at Camp Lejeune. Between Nov. 1984 and May 1985, contaminated wells serving both Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace were shut down. By 1987, the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant was closed permanently.

What Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?

Multiple VOCs were found to have contaminated the drinking water used by Camp Lejeune. The following were some of the most toxic chemicals found in the wells serviced by Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water treatment plants:

  • Perchloroethylene (PCE) – Commonly used as a solvent for dry cleaning purposes, this man-made chemical is also used in products such as paint removers, printing inks, water repellants, sealants, glues, lubricants, and polishes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges that PCE is a neurotoxicant, reproductive toxicant, and likely human carcinogen.
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) – Another man-made chemical, TCE is most commonly used in refrigerants, and as a solvent for degreasing metal equipment. It is also used in carpet cleaners, tool cleaners, paint removers, spray adhesives, and more. Unlike some carcinogens that may only be toxic through one form of exposure (such as ingestion or inhalation), TCE has been found to be carcinogenic via all forms of exposure.
  • Vinyl chloride (VC) – This is a colorless and flammable gas that is produced as a byproduct of PCE and TCE as they break down. VC is a known human carcinogen and can cause a number of cancers, including blood cancer.
  • Benzene – Although benzene can be found in nature, that does not mean it is safe for humans. Widely used in synthetic fibers, plastics, resins, rubbers, dyes, lubricants, detergents, and pesticides, long-term exposure to benzene can cause cancer in humans.
Did you develop a serious health condition after serving at Camp Lejeune? Let the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices help you fight for compensation. We serve areas nationwide, so distance is never a problem.
Call us at 502.473.6540 or fill out this form.

What Illnesses Are Caused by the Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?

PCE, TCE, and the other VCOs found in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s water between 1953 and 1987 are known to have toxic and carcinogenic effects on humans. This effect is clearly seen in the active-duty members, veterans, and family members who have developed serious and even fatal health conditions after working at or living on the base.

Exposure to PCE, TCE, VC, and benzene are strongly linked to the development of the following cancers:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Soft tissue cancer
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

Other serious health effects related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune include the following:

  • Cardiac defects
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Scleroderma
  • Choanal atresia
  • Eye defects
  • Major malformations
  • Oral cleft defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Neural tube defects
  • Low birth weight
  • Fetal death
  • Impaired immune system
  • Neurobehavioral performance deficits
  • Decreased blink reflex
  • Mood effects (including confusion and depression)
  • Neurological effects
  • Generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Liver cirrhosis

Who Was Exposed To Contaminated Water?

Anyone who worked at or lived on Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 was exposed to contaminated water. Exposure levels are higher for those who were there for a period of at least 30 days. Exposure to the contaminated water took place both in base work facilities as well as family housing and the barracks, and occurred by:

  • Dermal contact (touching)
  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Dishwashing
  • Showering and bathing

Anyone who was exposed to carcinogenic substances is at risk for developing cancer and other serious health conditions. Thomas Law Offices believes that the men and women who choose to serve our country deserve better than to be exposed to toxic substances during their service. Our Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyers are standing by to discuss how exposure to contaminated water affected your life.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021

The Honoring Our PACT Act was introduced to the House in March 2021, and then later passed on March 3, 2022. The Honoring Our PACT Act included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act provision. This provision allows both members of the U.S. Armed Forces as well as their families to sue if they were harmed by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987. The bill further protects affected victims by prohibiting the U.S. government from claiming specified immunity against such lawsuits.

This act seeks to right the wrongs committed against service members and their families while living and working at Camp Lejeune. While a lawsuit filed under this act will not undo any physical harm or illnesses, resulting compensation can address the financial damages suffered as a result of exposure to contaminated water.

What Is the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?

To be part of the Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, you must first file your own injury claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Your individual claim will ultimately be consolidated with other claims like in a personal injury mass tort, and then heard in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Don’t take on the burden of filing a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit on your own. Thomas Law Offices provides unrivaled support to veterans and their families who have been wrongfully harmed by contaminated water.
Call us at 502.473.6540 or fill out this form.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit Deadlines, Documentation, and Requirements

Since claims made under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act are going to be consolidated, you must meet the deadline to be included. You have only two years from the date the act was passed to file your case. While this might seem like a long period of time, any current or former member of the military, or their family members, can attest to how quickly two years can fly by. The sooner you contact a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawyer, the sooner you can set yourself on the path toward justice.

Your Camp Lejeune water contamination attorney will help you prove that you were present at Camp Lejeune for a period of at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, and how it has affected your life. To do this, they will use some of the following documents that you provide:

  • Military service records
  • Proof of residence in family housing or the barracks
  • Travel records
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills

You should also provide documentation related to any disability benefits you receive through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), even if you do not think they are relevant. Your attorney can evaluate the information contained in your disability rating to determine whether it might support your claim for compensation.

Eligible Compensation in a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit

If your life was permanently altered by exposure to toxic and carcinogenic substances in the water while stationed at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible for compensation that covers the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Disability or deformity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional or psychological trauma
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

You can pursue compensation for the above damages in a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit without risking your eligibility for VA disability or other benefits.

VA Benefits for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Victims

Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1953 and Dec. 1987 may also qualify for benefits through the VA. In addition to serving at Camp Lejeune during this time period, you may qualify for VA disability benefits if you are a veteran, reservist, or guardsmen, were not dishonorably discharged at the time of your separation from the military, and you have at least one of the following health conditions:

  • Leukemia
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Liver cancer

VA disability benefits will cover health care and provide compensatory payments. For the men and women who put their lives on the line to serve the United States, these VA benefits may be insufficient to cover the full breadth of their injuries. Filing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 can help you secure additional compensation that will allow you to more fully address your condition, income, affected life circumstances, and more.

The Janey Ensminger Act

The Janey Ensminger Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012. Named after Janey Ensminger (the daughter of retired Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger), who died at the age of 9 from cancer, this act authorized medical care to both military members and their families who had lived on Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 and subsequently developed certain health conditions. Specifically, the act covers the following 15 health conditions:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Scleroderma
  • Breast cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Female infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Renal toxicity

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers

We believe that anyone who has taken time out of their lives to serve our country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. With the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices are prepared to take on the fight for service members and their families who were exposed to contaminated water and suffered serious injuries and health outcomes as a result.

The clock is already ticking, contact us today to learn about your options for pursuing compensation with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. If you choose to work with Thomas Law Offices, you’ll find that you have a tireless advocate on your side.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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