Camp Lejeune litigation progresses forward as leadership positions are now appointed by the overseeing judges in the multidistrict litigation (MDL). Chief Judge Richard E. Myers II, District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, District Judge Louise W. Flanagan, and District Judge James C. Dever III. who are overseeing the Camp Lejeune litigation regarding contaminated water that has caused severe illnesses among veterans and their families have appointed attorneys from various law firms in leadership positions in the MDL. These lawyers appointed to Camp Lejeune MDL leadership roles include Lieff Cabraser, Keller Postman, Bell Legal Group, and four others, to form a seven-member leadership team representing the plaintiffs.
Camp Lejeune lawsuits are still being filed across the country at astonishing rates as veterans injured by the contaminated water on the base from 1953-1987 continue to come forward. It is not too late to seek compensation if you too have been injured by contaminated Camp Lejeune water. If you believe you have a case then do not hesitate to contact a Camp Lejeune lawyer as soon as possible.
The Leadership Appointments in the Camp Lejeune Multidistrict Litigation
On Wednesday, July 19th, an order was issued by the four judges presiding in the Eastern District of North Carolina that designated the following J. Edward Bell III from Bell Legal Group as the lead counsel. Furthermore, they appointed Zina Bash from Keller Postman, Elizabeth Cabraser from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, Mike Dowling from The Dowling Firm, Robin Greenwald from Weitz & Luxenberg, James Roberts III from Lewis & Roberts, and Mona Lisa Wallace from Wallace & Graham as co-lead counsel.
What Are The Roles of The Camp Lejeune MDL Leadership Team?
The camp LeJeune leadership roles serve as positions of guidance and management for the plaintiff's side of the multidistrict litigation. The lawyers that have been assigned to these leadership roles will handle the coordination of various aspects of the Camp Lejeune MDL such as pre-trial processes like discovery, choosing bellwether cases, settlement negotiation, and making decisions that decide the course of the litigation on behalf of the many plaintiffs.
In addition to the leadership they provide in managing the Camp Lejeune MDL, the appointed lawyers in leadership positions will also have financial responsibilities that come with their positions. According to the order filed July 19th, the co-lead counsel and their respective firms will be responsible for the majority of the expenses for work performed for the common benefit of the plaintiffs. Typically, plaintiffs' attorneys receive payment and reimbursement for their expenses upon resolution of the case through judgment or settlement.
Zina Bash was also chosen to serve as a government liaison where she will assist with the representation of plaintiff interests while meeting with government officials. Bash expressed her commitment to resolving these claims and believes her role will significantly expedite the progress of the MDL and help get plaintiffs the compensation they need.
What Happened At Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base located in North Carolina, became the center of a significant environmental and health crisis spanning several decades. From 1953 to 1987, the base's water supply was contaminated with hazardous chemicals, including volatile organic compounds and industrial solvents, leading to severe health repercussions for military personnel, their families, and civilian workers stationed at the facility.
The contamination at Camp Lejeune went largely unnoticed for many years, but in the early 1980s, evidence of health problems and unexplained illnesses began to surface among those who lived and worked on the base. It wasn't until the late 1990s that the extent of the contamination and its impact on human health came to light. Investigations revealed that the exposure to the toxic chemicals in the water was linked to an increased risk of various health conditions, such as leukemia, birth defects, and numerous types of cancer.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
A major source of harmful chemicals was found to be a nearby dry cleaning business. Dry cleaning businesses use a chemical called Perchloroethylene (PCE) to clean fabrics, and PCE from the cleaner in the area leaked into the adjacent groundwater.
The contaminated water was then distributed by the camp's own well system that was constructed to provide Camp Lejeune with water in 1951. As the scale of the problem became evident, a flood of legal claims emerged from affected individuals seeking accountability and compensation for their suffering.
Injuries Caused By Camp Lejeune Water
Multiple investigations into these contaminants have found that the toxic chemicals PCE and TCE are absorbed through the skin, ingestion, and inhalation, making it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent exposure while living or working on the base at Camp Lejeune. Injuries caused by the contaminated water include:
- Brain tumors
- Neurological issues
- Birth defects
- Parkinson's disease
- Spina bifida
- Breast Cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Adult leukemia
Among the most vulnerable demographics on the base were pregnant women, infants, and children, who were exposed to the highest risks of enduring long-term health implications. In response, the government and military authorities undertook comprehensive initiatives to tackle the issue head-on. Measures were implemented to offer medical care and support to those affected by the contamination, with a particular focus on protecting and aiding these vulnerable groups.
Lawsuits Regarding Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water
Camp Lejeune lawsuits have been pouring in from across the country as many veterans and their families are taking legal action to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered. Those that serve in the United States armed forces are often expected to make sacrifices and put themselves in danger but the water contamination at Camp Lejeune and the resulting widespread harm it caused to veterans and families has been widely condemned by many.
In response to the damage and controversy surrounding Camp Lejeune's contaminated water, President Joe Biden signed the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) in 2022. This provided a claims process for those injured by Camp Lejeune contaminated water from 1953-1987 and helped kick off the litigation that is ongoing to this day.
Under the PACT Act, a special administrative claims process was created for individuals seeking compensation from the Navy. If these claims remain unresolved, individuals are allowed to file lawsuits in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
J. Edward Bell III, who played a role in drafting the legislation, estimates his firm has filed more than 30,000 administrative claims and around 85% of the federal lawsuits related to Camp Lejeune. He views the ongoing litigation as a "unique experiment" due to the government's prior admission of water contamination. Bell mentioned plans to meet with the U.S. Department of Justice in the coming weeks, following which the leadership team will collaborate on drafting an order to manage the cases moving forward.
Contact a Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Lawyer Near You
If you or a loved one have suffered from injuries due to being exposed to the contaminated water of Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney in your area to better understand your options.
Numerous individuals, including veterans and their families, have faced considerable hardships as a result of the Camp Lejeune water contamination, prompting the need for legal intervention to pursue justice, compensation, and assistance. Given that there is a limited window of time to file claims, it is crucial that you promptly seek counsel from a seasoned attorney to protect your rights and explore your legal options. Camp Lejeune lawsuit plaintiffs can seek compensation to not only deal with their damages but also to ensure that their voices are heard.