Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. We specialize in Personal Injury trial litigation and focus our energy and efforts on those we represent.

Camp Lejeune Cancer and Serious Illness

Camp Lejeune Cancer and Serious Illness. In this article, I am going to address the history of Camp Lejeune water contamination, the rise of Camp Lejeune cancers and serious illness, the inertia by the Federal Government’s Departments of Justice, (DOJ) and the Navy, and finally address the status of the litigation.

Camp Lejeune Cancer

Camp Lejeune Cancer linked to water contamination at the Marine base. Served at Camp Lejeune and developed Cancer? Call Dr. Shezad Malik at 214-390-3189

What is the History of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina, is a significant environmental and public health issue that spans several decades. The history of this contamination involves the discovery of hazardous chemicals in the base’s water supply, impacting military personnel, their families, and civilian workers.

Here are the key points in the timeline of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination:

Early 1950s to 1987: The contamination period is officially recognized as having occurred between these years. During this time, people living or working at Camp Lejeune were exposed to contaminated drinking water.

Contaminants Identified: The primary contaminants found in the water were volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. These substances are associated with a range of health issues, including cancers, birth defects, and other serious chronic diseases.

Sources of Contamination: The contamination was traced back to several sources, including leaking underground storage tanks, industrial spills, and an off-base dry cleaning firm. These sources contributed to the high levels of VOCs in the groundwater, which then entered the base’s water supply system.

Discovery and Response: The contamination was first discovered in the early 1980s through water quality testing. However, it took until the late 1980s for the affected water treatment plants on the base, specifically the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment plants, to be shut down and for the issue to be addressed publicly.

Health Studies and Legislation: Since the discovery of the contamination, numerous studies have been conducted to understand the potential health impacts on those exposed to the contaminated water. In 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Janey Ensminger Act, named after the daughter of a Marine who was born at Camp Lejeune and died of leukemia. This act provides medical care for people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period and suffered from certain diseases.

Ongoing Efforts and Compensation: Efforts to provide compensation and health care to affected individuals continue. Lawsuits and compensation claims have been filed by veterans and their families seeking restitution for the health impacts of the contamination. The Department of Veterans Affairs has established specific criteria for service members to receive benefits related to the contamination.

The Camp Lejeune water contamination case highlights the importance of environmental oversight and the potential health risks associated with chemical pollutants. It remains a subject of ongoing concern, research, and legal action as efforts to address the consequences of the contamination and support the affected individuals continue.

Camp Lejeune Serious illness linked to water contamination at the Marine base.What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is significant legislation passed as part of the larger Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, which President Joe Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022. This act specifically addresses the long-standing issue of water contamination at Camp Lejeune, a United States Marine Corps base in North Carolina, where individuals were exposed to hazardous chemicals in the drinking water from the 1950s through 1987.

Key aspects of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 include:

Eligibility for Legal Action: The act allows veterans, their family members, and civilian workers who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 consecutive days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, to file claims and seek compensation for harm caused by the exposure. This is a significant shift, as previously, many legal hurdles prevented these individuals from suing the federal government due to various immunity and procedural defenses.

Venue and Waiver of Immunity: The act provides that these claims can be brought in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. It effectively waives the government’s immunity to being sued for this specific issue, allowing affected individuals to pursue justice and compensation through the legal system.

Scope of Compensation: Individuals affected by the water contamination can seek compensation for health issues to be linked to the exposure. This includes a range of conditions, such as several types of cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders, and other health problems associated with the contaminants identified in the water supply at Camp Lejeune.

Filing Deadline: The act specifies a deadline for filing claims, which is two years from the date of the enactment of the law until August 10, 2024.

Why didn’t the DOJ and the Navy act sooner?

The delay in action by the DOJ, the Navy, and other government entities regarding the water contamination at Camp Lejeune is a complex issue, with multiple factors contributing to the slow response. While specific motivations and decisions can vary, several key reasons are commonly cited for why these organizations did not act sooner:

Lack of Awareness and Understanding: Initially, there was a significant lack of awareness about the extent and seriousness of the contamination. The understanding of the health impacts associated with exposure to VOCs, such as TCE and PCE, was less developed in the early years of the contamination period. It took time for the scientific and medical communities to fully recognize the dangers posed by these chemicals.

Regulatory and Scientific Limitations: The environmental regulations and standards for drinking water quality have evolved over time. During the early years of the contamination at Camp Lejeune, there were fewer regulations governing water quality and less sophisticated methods for detecting contaminants. As a result, the contamination might not have been detected as early or as clearly as it would be with today’s standards and technologies.

Bureaucratic Challenges and Prioritization: Large organizations, including government entities like the DOJ and the Navy, face bureaucratic challenges that can slow down response times. Issues such as budget constraints, competing priorities, and the need for interagency coordination can hinder the ability to act swiftly on environmental health matters.

Legal and Liability Concerns: Concerns about legal liability and the potential financial implications of admitting fault or negligence may have contributed to a reluctance to fully address or acknowledge the contamination issues. The government may have been cautious in its approach to avoid opening itself to extensive compensation claims.

Inadequate Communication and Documentation: There have been criticisms regarding the level of communication between the military, governmental agencies, and the public, as well as the adequacy of record-keeping related to the contamination. This lack of effective communication and documentation may have contributed to delays in addressing the issue.

Political and Institutional Inertia: Like many large-scale environmental and public health issues, the situation at Camp Lejeune may have been subject to political and institutional inertia. Acknowledging and addressing the problem required overcoming significant inertia within the military and government to initiate action.

Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm Investigating Camp Lejeune Cancer and Death Cases Nationwide

Did you or a loved one experience serious injuries or deadly cancers after service at Camp Lejeune? Dr. Shezad Malik law firm based in Dallas, Texas is now reviewing injuries and wrongful death claims from Camp Lejeune nationwide. Please call 214-390-3189 or email us for further information.

What Medical Illnesses and Cancers are linked to Camp Lejeune?

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune, has been linked to various medical illnesses and cancers due to the exposure to hazardous chemicals in the drinking water. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have identified several conditions associated with this exposure. As part of the benefits and compensation for veterans and their families, the VA recognizes specific illnesses as presumptively connected to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. These include:

Adult Leukemia: A type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, characterized by the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells.

Aplastic Anemia and Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes: Conditions that occur when the bone marrow stops producing enough healthy blood cells.

Bladder Cancer: A type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder.

Kidney Cancer: A form of cancer that originates in the kidneys, the organs responsible for filtering waste from the blood and producing urine.

Liver Cancer: A cancer that starts in the liver, an organ involved in detoxifying the body, metabolizing drugs, and processing nutrients.

Multiple Myeloma: A cancer of plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow that helps fight infection.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: A diverse group of blood cancers that include any type of lymphoma except Hodgkin’s lymphomas. These cancers affect the body’s lymphatic system.

Parkinson’s Disease: A neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, causing tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Additionally, research and studies have suggested possible links between exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and other health conditions, including various other cancers, birth defects, and reproductive issues. However, the list above includes the conditions for which the VA provides presumptive service connection benefits to veterans and their family members who were exposed to the contaminated water.

Any accountability over the water contamination at Camp Lejeune?

The issue of accountability for the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, including why no military commanders have faced jail time, is complex and multifaceted. Several factors contribute to the lack of criminal charges or direct accountability in the way that some might expect. Understanding these requires considering legal, procedural, and historical contexts:

Legal and Regulatory Framework: At the time the contamination occurred (from the 1950s through 1987), the legal and regulatory frameworks governing environmental pollution and the handling of hazardous substances were less developed than they are today.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund, which provides a Federal “Superfund” to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous-waste sites as well as accidents, spills, and other emergency releases of pollutants and contaminants into the environment, was not enacted until 1980.

Even after such laws were in place, applying them retroactively to actions taken before the laws existed is legally challenging.

Attribution of Responsibility: Determining direct personal responsibility for the contamination has been difficult. The contamination resulted from systemic issues, including inadequate environmental regulations at the time, lack of awareness regarding the dangers of certain chemicals, and failures in oversight and management practices. These factors make it challenging to attribute the contamination to the actions of specific individuals, especially in a criminal legal sense that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Military and Governmental Immunity: Members of the military and government officials often have a degree of immunity from prosecution for actions taken in the course of their official duties. While this does not absolve individuals of all responsibility for wrongful acts, it does complicate efforts to hold them criminally accountable in court.

Challenges in Prosecuting Environmental Cases: Environmental contamination cases, particularly those involving long-term exposure and impacts, are notoriously difficult to prosecute criminally. Establishing clear causal links between decision-makers’ actions and the harm caused by contamination requires extensive evidence and often faces significant legal hurdles.

Public and Political Will: The appetite for pursuing criminal charges in cases like this can be influenced by public and political will, which can vary widely. In many cases, the focus has been on remediation, regulation improvement, and victim compensation rather than criminal prosecution.

Camp Lejeune Cancer and Serious Illness Lawsuits

All Camp Lejeune lawsuits have to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where four separate judges are working together to coordinate and manage the proceedings, including Judges Richard Myers, Terrence Boyle, Louise Flanagan, and James Dever.

There are two groups of trials scheduled as bellwether trials, the first group of cases involves bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A second group involves claims of prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, and kidney disease.

About 150,000 injured people have filed claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022, allowing a two-year window for lawsuits to be brought by anyone injured by contaminated water at the base between the mid-1950s and late-1980s.

Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm Investigating Camp Lejeune Cancer and Death Cases Nationwide

Did you or a loved one experience injuries after service at Camp Lejeune? Dr. Shezad Malik law firm based in Dallas, Texas is now reviewing injuries and wrongful death claims from Camp Lejeune nationwide. Please call 214-390-3189 or email us for further information.

Read More Here

The History of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

How to File a Camp LeJeune Lawsuit in Texas

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