Aug 01, 2023

Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs’ Lawyers and U.S. Government Are Finalizing a Global Management Order to Move Cases Toward Resolution

Posted by : Irvin Jackson

Parties asked for an extension in individual case deadlines, as they near completion of a Global Case Management Order that will address the filing of a master complaint, responsive pleadings, and a discovery schedule.

As a rapidly growing number of Camp Lejeune lawsuits continue to be filed by U.S. military veterans and their family members poisoned by contaminated water on the North Carolina base, lawyers for the U.S. government and plaintiffs indicate that they are nearing completion of a proposed Global Case Management Order, which will help move the massive litigation towards resolution.

Tens of thousands of claims have been presented under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CJLA) of 2022 since it went into effect last year, opening a two-year window for lawsuits to be filed against the U.S. government by individuals injured by water on the base, which was known to be contaminated with toxic chemicals for decades.

As more U.S. military veterans and other individuals exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune continue to retain lawyers over the next year, it is widely expected that the litigation will become the largest mass tort in U.S. history, involving dozens of different injuries allegedly caused by chemicals in the water at the base, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, and other injuries.

Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 caused cancers, birth defects, miscarriages, and other side effects for U.S. Marines and their family members.

The new law requires all Camp Lejeune lawsuits to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where four separate federal judges are presiding over claims, including Judges Richard E. Myers II, Terrence W. Boyle, Louise W. Flanagan and James C. Dever III.

Last month, the Court appointed a group of Camp Lejeune plaintiffs’ lawyers to leadership positions to take certain actions during discovery and pretrial proceedings that benefit all claimants, as well as coordinate with the U.S. government to establish a proposed plan to manage the growing litigation.

Proposed Camp Lejeune Case Management Order To Be Submitted

In a joint status report (PDF) submitted on July 28, attorneys for the U.S. government and plaintiffs lead counsel reported that they have formally met twice over the past two weeks, and anticipate submitting a proposed Global Case Management Order by August 28, 2023.

This proposed order will address the filing of a master complaint, deadlines for master responsive pleadings, and other deadlines pertaining to the completion of discovery and commencement of bellwether trials. However, in the meantime, the parties are under varying court-ordered deadlines in individuals, which require responsive pleadings to be filed within a certain amount of time after each complaint is filed.

“To allow the government to conserve its limited resources and focus on quickly moving this litigation forward on a global basis, the Parties respectfully request that all responsive pleading deadlines, discovery deadlines, and all other deadlines in individual CLJA cases in this district be briefly extended through September 1, 2023, pending submission by the Parties of a proposed Global Case Management Order that will establish a deadline for filing a master complaint, short form complaint and master responsive pleadings, among other things,” according the joint status report.

During the extension, the parties indicate that rather than devoting time to answering individual complaints, they will focus on global issues and negotiate a framework to move forward with the resolution of large numbers of claims, including establishing a global database to help manage the growing litigation.

August 2023 Camp Lejeune Water Poisoning Lawsuit Update

Estimates suggest more than a million Marines and their family members were exposed to contaminated Camp Lejeune water between the early 1950s and late 1980s, with some reports suggesting that toxic chemicals from Camp Lejeune may be responsible for more than 50,000 cases of breast cancer, 28,000 cases of bladder cancer, and 24,000 cases of renal cancer, as well as thousands of cases involve Parkinson’s disease and other health complications. It is also believed Camp Lejeune water caused birth defects and wrongful death for thousands of unborn children exposed in utero.

While the U.S. government passed this landmark legislation, the law does not include any automatic right to settlement benefits for veterans and their family members. Rather, each claimant must file a lawsuit and establish that they were exposed to Camp Lejeune water for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 31, 1987. It is also necessary that they present expert testimony or support to establish that there is a causal relationship between the Camp Lejeune water and injury, or that such a relationship is at least as likely as not.

At this time, Camp Lejeune lawyers are reviewing claims for a wide variety of cancers and other complications that may have been caused by the chemicals in the water, including:

Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuits:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Brain Cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Central Nervous System Cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon Cancer/Colorectal Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Hodgkins Lymphoma
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Rectal Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Other Side Effects Eligible for Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Benefits:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal Toxicity/Kidney Disease
  • Kidney Damage
  • Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Scleroderma
  • Birth defects
  • Miscarriage
  • Female Infertility
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Immune Disorders
  • Nerve Damage
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS or Pre-Leukemia)
  • Neurobehavioral effects (tremors, lack of coordination, movement or motor problems or other symptoms consistent with undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease)

Tags: Camp Lejeune, Cancer, Military, North Carolina, Veterans, Veterans Affairs, Water Contamination

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Irvin Jackson