Feb 13, 2023

Marine Files Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Over Death of Daughter, After Fighting For Justice Over Water Contamination

Posted by : Irvin Jackson

The daughter’s death led to the passage of the Janey Ensminger Act in 2012, which resulted in a presumption that certain cancers and ailments contracted by those living on base were caused by water contamination.

Retired U.S. Marine Jerome Ensminger filed a lawsuit this week against the federal government over the death of his daughter from leukemia in 1985, after fighting for years to pass new legislation that now allows former service members, their families, and other individuals to pursue settlements for water contamination at Camp Lejeune between the 1950s and 1980s.

The complaint (PDF) was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Division of North Carolina on February 11, seeking damages as personal representative of the Estate of Jane Ensminger, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia caused by contaminated tap water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where she was conceived and born in 1976.

The water at Camp Lejeune was plagued with toxic chemicals between the mid-1950s and late 1980s, exposing millions of individuals living or working on the base to contaminants that are known to cause a number of different types of cancer, neurological disorders, and other diseases. However, for decades the U.S. Government has denied benefits and coverage for injuries under qualified immunity defenses and the North Carolina Statute of Repose, which was already expired by the time problems with the Camp Lejeune water supply were detected.

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed new legislation promoted by Jerome Ensminger, which was known as the “Janey Ensminger Act”, providing access to healthcare benefits for family members of veterans who lived at Camp Lejeune while the water was contaminated, and created a presumption of service connection for certain illnesses associated with chemicals in the water supply. However, Ensminger’s family was still denied financial compensation for the death of his daughter years earlier.

Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 Allowed New Lawsuit

Jerome Ensminger and other veterans’ groups continued to advocate for the U.S. government to take financial responsibility for injuries caused by contaminated water on the military base, which was eventually included as part of the “Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022” signed into law by President Joe Biden in August 2022, opening a two-year window for former Marines, family members who lived on the base or other individuals working on the base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 to bring a lawsuit seeking financial compensation and settlement benefits.

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.

Jane Ensminger was born on Camp Lejeune in July 1976 and was diagnosed with leukemia in 1983. She died three years later, and was the only one of the Ensminger children to develop leukemia. There was no history of leukemia in her family. However, it was not until about 1997 that the family learned of the rampant water contamination which had poisoned the water on the base for decades.

According to allegations raised in the recently filed lawsuit, the Ensmingers, and other military families were unable to discover the water contamination for decades, due to a lack of transparency on behalf of the U.S. government about problems at the base.

“Plaintiff was unable to mitigate his damages as the result of Defendant’s failure and refusal to provide its full knowledge of the historical facts and information concerning the scope and breadth of the drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune,” the lawsuit states. “As a result of these failures, the Camp Lejeune community was unaware of the health consequences from exposure to the contaminants found in the drinking water at the base.”

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

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.

Although the U.S. government has acknowledged that toxic chemicals contaminated the water at Camp Lejeune for decades, the new law still places the burden of proof on individual plaintiffs to produce evidence showing that there it is at least as likely as not that a relationship exists between exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune and the injury suffered.

“The water supplied to Plaintiff, Jerome M. Ensminger’s daughter, Jane Ensminger, by or on behalf of [the U.S. government] was polluted and contaminated… with chemicals including but not limited to TCE, PCE, vinyl chloride and benzene,” according to the complaint. “A causal relationship exists between [Jane Ensminger’s] illnesses, including her leukemia, and the contaminants that Jane Ensminger was exposed to in the Camp Lejeune water supply. The causal relationship is at least as likely as not.”

Injuries Caused by Camp Lejeune Water

Since the new law went into effect about six months ago, tens of thousands of former service members, family members, and civilian employees who worked at Camp Lejeune have provided notice to the U.S. government that they intend to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. The claims allege that a wide range of injuries was caused by the Camp Lejeune water:

Camp Lejeune Cancers:

  • 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 from Camp Lejeune Water:

  • 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)

Ensminger’s Camp Lejeune lawsuit was among the first filed, after waiting for a 180-day administrative period to expire after providing notice of his intent to bring this lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

In the coming weeks and months, it is expected that hundreds of thousands of similar Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which has been granted exclusive jurisdiction over the claims.

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

The post Marine Files Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Over Death of Daughter, After Fighting For Justice Over Water Contamination appeared first on AboutLawsuits.com.

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