Camp Lejeune Agreement Announced

Many contracted workers, members of the military, and their families may finally see the U.S. Navy and Department of Justice held accountable for deceiving them. A settlement agreement has been reached for thousands of people who have suffered illness or worse from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Though it will likely still be months before money is distributed, this is a tremendous step toward justice.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

A few years ago, our team at OnderLaw heard about a serious injustice that occurred at United States Marine Corps’ Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From 1953 until 1987, hundreds of thousands of contracted workers, service members, and their families were exposed to deadly toxins through the base’s drinking water. Infants and children died, and many more people were diagnosed with terrible illnesses related to the chemicals they were unknowingly bathing in, cooking with, and drinking from their faucets.

Not only did the U.S. Navy fail to disclose the dangers, but they also went to great lengths to hide them. Even North Carolina lawmakers were complicit; they enacted a law that kept anyone who had been injured or lost loved ones from toxin-related illnesses from suing for damages. Even the U.S. Department of Defense let soldiers down, refusing to treat the resulting cancers by saying there was “insufficient evidence of causation.”

We weren’t going to let our service men and women suffer without holding the government responsible. OnderLaw joined a small handful of law firms to draft the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was signed by President Biden last summer. We’re proud to have been part of the solution, and we’re even more honored to announce that a tentative settlement has been reached.

Camp Lejeune Settlement Agreement

September 6, 2023, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Justice announced a program to potentially settle certain Camp Lejeune Claims. Although there are still unanswered questions and details to be worked out, this program is an important first step in resolving the Camp Lejeune litigation.

What Diseases/Injuries are Included?

Only nine (9) diseases or injuries are included in this announcement. These injuries are divided by the Navy as “Tier 1” and “Tier 2.”

  • Tier 1 injuries are kidney cancer, liver cancer, NHL, leukemia, and bladder cancer.
  • Tier 2 injuries are multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease/end stage renal disease, and systemic sclerosis/systemic scleroderma.

People who suffered other illnesses believed to be linked to toxic water at Camp Lejeune may eventually be eligible for compensation as well. We have continued to file administrative claims on behalf of those victims and to file the necessary lawsuits to protect their rights. The Navy and DOJ may announce supplemental programs in the future that could include additional diagnoses.

Who is Eligible for this Settlement Program?

For any of these injuries to be considered, soldiers, contracted workers, or surviving family members injured by toxic water at Camp Lejeune must have an administrative claim filed with the Navy and have been at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.

They must have been diagnosed at least two years after the day they first arrived at Camp Lejeune and no more than 35 years after their final day there. They must be able to prove your presence at Camp Lejeune through military records or other documents.

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit FAQs

Q: Is Air Station New River included in this settlement?

A: The announcement defines Camp Lejeune as including both Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.

Q: What if I have a prior VA disability finding for one of these injuries?

A: If you have already received a VA disability finding based on one of these injuries, your finding will be used to support your claim.

Q: What if I have been diagnosed with more than one of these injuries?

A: The position of the Navy is that they consider the settlement on a “per-claimant” basis rather than a “per-injury” basis. This means that, if you have been diagnosed with more than one of these injuries, you may only recover for one of them — presumably the higher tier injury.

Q: Will my VA benefits be affected?

A: No. A settlement under this program will not be offset by VA benefits paid or by a VA lien.

What Happens Next

The Navy has not yet provided a timeline for compensation through this settlement. With more than 93,000 administrative claims already filed, we anticipate that this will be a slow process. We certainly do not expect the Navy to send out settlement offers by year’s end. We will continue to keep clients apprised of developments regarding time frames, as well as any other pertinent information.

It remains our honor to serve our military and contracted military clients in this lawsuit, as well as in military base firefighting foam cancer cases (AFFF) and 3M Earplugs cases.

Can I Still File a Claim?

You may still be eligible to file a claim in Camp Lejeune toxic water litigation. However, time is of the essence. If you or your loved one served at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and was diagnosed with one of the above cancers, please contact our OnderLaw team at 800-799-2824.