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Camp Lejeune Claimants: What You Need to Know

By: Anapol Weiss

In our pursuit of justice for our Camp Lejeune claimants, we have talked to thousands of veterans and their loved ones who have been diagnosed with devastating and life-altering diseases caused by contamination at Camp Lejeune. Sadly, many have already lost their battle and their loved ones are forging forward to hold the government accountable on their behalf. Anapol Weiss is determined to obtain justice for the victims of this horrific contamination.

In this post, we will delve into frequently asked questions regarding the current legal proceedings for Camp Lejeune and the ongoing fight to obtain compensation for our clients.

What is the purpose of the Court’s Track 1 and Track 2 designations in the Camp Lejeune litigation and which diagnoses are included? If my diagnosis is not listed, does that mean I do not have a case?

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has already designated Track 1 and Track 2 diagnoses. Track 1 diagnoses include Parkinson’s Disease, Kidney Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Leukemia, and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Track 2 diagnoses include Prostate Cancer, Kidney Disease, Lung Cancer, Liver Cancer, and Breast Cancer. The Court is expected to designate Track 3 diagnoses shortly.

It is important to note that the Court’s selection of Track diagnoses does not exclude other non-designated illnesses from eventual consideration/resolution. The Court created a Track approach in the hopes of expediting the litigation based on common illnesses (the diagnoses that were seen most frequently in filed and administrative cases).

Within each diagnosis, the Court will pick bellwether cases. Bellwether cases are a small group of cases selected for trial as a representative of the larger group. The Court has already picked Track 1 bellwether cases that are scheduled to begin trials in the Fall of 2024. We expect Track 2 bellwether cases to be selected in the next 30-60 days.

2. What is the difference between filing a complaint in the Eastern District of North Carolina and submitting an Administrative Claim to JAG? Will filing my case lead to a quicker resolution?

Currently, there are approximately 1,700 cases filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina and approximately 177,000 cases with Administrative Claims submitted to the JAG.

Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, your statute of limitations is protected once an Administrative Claim is properly submitted to the Department of Navy/JAG. If the Administrative claim is denied, you have 180 days to file the claim in North Carolina. To date, our office has not received a denial of an Administrative Claim. If such a denial is received, you have 180 days to file the claim in North Carolina. As the filing of the Administrative Claim currently protects your statute of limitations, the vast majority of claims are with the JAG. Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, all claims must either be properly submitted to the JAG or filed in North Carolina by August 10, 2024.

It is unlikely that filing your case in North Carolina will lead to a quicker resolution. The only settlement offer to date, the Elective Option (addressed below), was applicable to both filed and administrative claims.

3. What is the Elective Option? Are all claims eligible for the Elective Option?

The Elective Option is an initial settlement offer that was unilaterally created by the Department of Navy. Plaintiff’s counsel did not negotiate or agree to its terms. It is important to note that very few cases meet the requirements of the Elective Option. For those that do qualify, the potential settlement values are often inadequate. However, where claimants qualify and are interested in the Elective Option, we are submitting their claims for potential resolution.

Requirements under the Elective Option include, but are not limited to:

An Administrative Claim must be properly presented to the Department of Navy. The injury must have been diagnosed prior to August 10, 2022. Exposure on Camp Lejeune must have occurred between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. The earliest date of diagnosis must be not less than two (2) years after the claimant’s first exposure at Camp Lejeune and not later than thirty-five (35) years after the claimant’s last exposure.

The only diagnoses included in the Elective Option are:

o Kidney Cancer

o Liver Cancer

o Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

o Leukemia

o Bladder Cancer

o Multiple Myeloma

o Parkinson’s Disease

o Kidney Disease/End Stage Renal Disease

o Systemic Sclerosis/Systemic Scleroderma

Note: If you were diagnosed with more than one of the above, the Elective Option will only compensate one diagnosis.

The values under the Elective Option vary depending on the diagnosis and the length of time at Camp Lejeune but are generally between $100,000 – $550,000.

4. What is the estimated timeframe for resolution?

This is the million-dollar question. Unfortunately, we do not have a set timeframe for resolution. The first trial cases are set to begin in the Fall of 2024. The goal is that these trial cases will push the government toward an appropriate global resolution.

The Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation remains a critical battleground for justice, transparency, and accountability. We continue to seek redress for our clients who are true heroes.