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Camp Lejeune Act 2022 Update: Time Is Running Out to File a Water Contamination Claim

Camp Lejeune Act 2022 Update

The deadline to file a water contamination claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is August 10, 2024. Are you or a loved one eligible to submit a claim?  

Background of Water Contamination Lawsuit   

Background of Water Contamination Lawsuit

From August 1952 through December 1987, the groundwater at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including, but not limited to, industrial solvents known as trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). Although the contamination was identified in the 1980s and the levels of these VOCs may have exceeded 3,000 times the safe exposure levels, the United States Government took no immediate action to remedy the situation or advise the Camp Lejeune residents and/or military members of the health risks associated with contaminates. In fact, it was not until 1987 that the water at Camp Lejeune was deemed completely safe and 1999 when the Marine Corps identified the former residents of the known health risks.   

Although victims of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune began filing lawsuits against the Government in 2009, such cases were dismissed as North Carolina has a ten-year statute of repose –  meaning that because the contamination was a result of construction defects, any victim of such defect, had ten years from the date the construction was completed, rather than ten years from the identification of their illnesses.   

Obtaining justice for the victims of the contamination was not forgotten, however. In 2012, the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 was passed which allowed service members and their families to receive health care benefits from Veterans Affairs so long as they met the eligibility requirements. In addition, in 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed which provided a federal cause of action for individuals who resided, worked, or were otherwise exposed to the water contamination for not less than 30 days to the water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Although the Act of 2022 now allows individuals to come forward, the statute requires any and all claims to be submitted within a window of two years, or from August 10, 2022 to August 10, 2024. Any claims submitted after the August 10, 2024 date will be barred.    

The Claim Submission Process

The Claim Submission Process

Before filing a lawsuit regarding the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, the Act of 2022 requires individuals to first file an administrative claim with the Department of the Navy. All claims in this stage must be filed by August 10, 2024.  

The administrative claim process requires all claimants to submit information related to the residency requirement under the Act of 2022 as well as their diagnoses and health issues. This process of obtaining such information is not a simple one however as for some of these cases, the medical and military records needed to prove the diagnoses and residency requirements are decades old and take significant time to acquire. Another hurdle arises when the victim is deceased and unable to assist with the location of the records or provide the information needed to obtain them. Because of this, it is imperative that the claim process be initiated as early as possible.  

Upon receipt of all of the required documents and information, the claim is then uploaded to the Claims Management Portal provided by the Navy JAG Corps. After submission, the claim can either be approved/settled or denied. If the claim goes unanswered for a period of six (6) months, the claim is deemed denied. From the date a claim is denied, a claimant has until August 10, 2024 or one-hundred and eighty (180) days, whichever is later, to file a lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Should a filing extend beyond August 10, 2024 or the one-hundred and eighty day period, the claim will be barred.  

The Best Lawyers for Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit  

With the filing deadline quickly approaching, if you have questions regarding you or your loved one’s eligibility under the Act, the filing process, or if you would like to start the claim process simply reach out to our team here at Plakas Mannos. Our team of experienced attorneys is representing the veterans, civilians, and loved ones who were injured by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Together we can get you and your family the justice you deserve. Contact us today to find a Camp Lejeune lawsuit lawyer to help with your claim.



About the Author

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Brooke Meneses is an associate attorney at Plakas Mannos, where she practices personal injury, employment litigation, family law, divorce, dissolution, child custody, and spousal support.

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