After multiple years of litigation the Federal Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) has been signed into law. It allows injury claims to be filed with the US Navy (representing the US Marine Corp) for service men/woman, their families, and civilian employees, that were living, stationed, or working on base between 8/1/53 – 12/31/87. The individual must prove that they were physically on the property for 30 days or more in this timeframe, but those days do not have to be continuous.
The base includes all areas of Camp Lejeune, including Camp Geiger, Camp Johnson/Montford Point, Hadnot Point, Paradise Point, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Sandy Run, Tarawa Terrace, Holcomb Boulevard, Onslow Beach, Stone Bay, Courthouse Bay, Mainside, Hospital Point, and French Creek.
The injury must be for a “cancer or other serious illness”, these include, but are not limited to: bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, lung cancer, female infertility, miscarriage, hepatic steatosis, leukemia, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, heart defects, other kidney diseases, systematic sclerosis/scleroderma, aplastic anemia/myelodysplastic syndrome, neurobehavioral effects and renal toxicity. Again, this is not a complete list as of this date as the list is being expanded by the US Navy and Veterans Affairs.
The new law also adopts a new standard of proof, the “equipoise standard”, which means that even if you had other “risk factors” such as smoking, family history of cancers, or other risk factors, the “equipoise standard” says all you need to prove is that your exposure at Camp Lejeune could equally be the source of your illness as any of your other risk factors. You do not have to prove that it was the source to “a reasonable medical probability” which is the standard of proof normally required.
The CLJA establishes an Administrative claims process, and a lawsuit process. You must first file a claim with the US Navy JAG that sets out your claimed disease/illness and medical proof thereof, with evidence that you are within the persons protected under the CLJA. The US Navy JAG then is charged with reviewing your claim and making you a settlement offer. If you do not accept the offer, or they deny your claim, you are then free to file your suit with the Federal Court in the Eastern District of NC (which has exclusive jurisdiction to hear all claims), but must then do so within 6-months of being denied. Even if someone has died as a result of the above exposure, their Estate can still file a claim on behalf of that person’s estate.
Seufert Law Offices has a long history of supporting our troops, and there are more “kinks” to be worked out under the CLJA, but Seufert Law is available to assist you in any such claims.