Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
History and Legislative Updates 

If you or a loved one resided or worked at the US Marine Corp base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, and have suffered from any water-toxicity-related health conditions or died as a result, you soon may be eligible to receive compensation from the US Government.

The pending Honoring Our PACT Act includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which once enacted will permit thousands of individuals to finally seek the fair compensation they deserve from exposure to harmful water at the base.  If you believe that you have a claim for any water-toxicity-related health issues, inducing a wrongful death claim for a loved one, contact us today for a free consultation at 919-981-9914.

For a period of 30 years, the public water supply at Camp Lejeune contained some of the highest levels of carcinogenic chemicals. This water was used by service members, their families, and other civilians for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Exposure to these dangerous chemicals resulted in thousands of individuals developing a long list of health issues that included cancers, diseases, and birth defects.

CLJA Legislative Updates

Until now, many individuals have been denied the ability to proceed with lawsuits for their exposure at Camp Lejeune due to a legal loophole. However, a new pending federal law in Congress called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act [CLJA] as part of the Honoring our PACT Act, is expected to be passed very soon. This law will allow many victims and their surviving family members to file water contamination lawsuits.

Currently, everyone is eagerly awaiting the passage of the CLJA and closely monitoring its progress. As it stands now, in order for the CLJA to become law the Act needs to be approved by Congress and sent to President Biden for enactment. Below is a timeline of the progress the CLJA has made through Congress to date.

We expect the law to be passed by the end of the year and with that anticipation, our attorneys at DeMent, Askew & Johnson are happy to provide a free consultation to begin evaluating cases. If you or a loved one previously lived or worked at the base and have been subsequently diagnosed with any of the linked cancers, diseases, or neurologic conditions, or have lost a loved one as a result of the water contamination, don’t delay, contact us for a free case evaluation today at 919-981-9914.

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Jim Johnson

James T. Johnson

Senior Civil Litigator
North Carolina Trial Attorney

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July 29, 2022 There was not a vote today, however, Congress’ summer recess does not begin until August 8th, leaving one more week for the PACT Act to be passed.
July 28, 2022 The Senate vote rejected the cloture motion on the revised PACT Act by a 55-42 vote. They needed at least 60 votes to pass
July 26, 2022 The Senate heard debates on the PACT Act all day.
July 14, 2022 The House Passes the PACT ACT and it is back to Senate
July 1, 2022 The Congressional Budget Office issues a cost estimate for the PACT Act. the CBO calculated an estimated 10-year cost for the PACT Act of $667 billion.
June 24, 2022 The House’s approval of the revised bill is held up by a blue-slip objection over a constitutional technicality. The bill has to go back to the Senate to have minor provisions regarding tax credits for VA doctors to be removed
June 16, 2022 The Senate voted to pass a revised version of the CLJA 84 to 13; now the revised will go back to the House for reconciliation for a joint bill
Senate voted to pass the cloture motion on CLJA, limiting debates and “fast-tracking” the final approval
May 25, 2022 The PACT Act is read on the Senate floor and docketed on the legislative calendar
March 3, 2022 The PACT Act is passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 256 to 174 and sent to the Senate
February 28, 2022 THE CLJA is consolidated into the Honoring Our Pact Act  of 2021 “the PACT Act” to provide additional healthcare
January 25, 2022 The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is introduced to the US House of Representatives, sponsored by 10 democrats and 6 republicans from 8 states.
March 22, 2021 For the 1st time, The Camp Lejeune Act of 2021 is proposed in Congress but is sent to a committee
September 20, 2018 All appeals efforts by the 850 dismissed cases are exhausted, many left with no options for compensation
December 12, 2016 850 Camp Lejeune lawsuits for water contamination were dismissed by a federal judge due to North Carolina’s  Statute of Repose.

Illness Linked to Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

Fertility and Birth Defects related to Toxic Water 

In 2013 the CDC released the results of a study that determined that thousands of pregnant women were exposed to toxic water at the base over a 30-year period.  While infertility and miscarriages have been linked to toxic water, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry [ATSDR] found that maternal exposure resulted in a significantly higher rate of birth defects, specifically 5 times higher than normal.  

In utero exposure to contaminated water or fetal gestation, led to an increased risk of children having a wide range of birth defects, childhood cancers, and even the development of adult cancers and illnesses. Sadly, many children have suffered the tragic effects of chemicals found in the water and died very young. 

Non-Cancer Health Conditions and Diseases linked to Water Contamination

Cancer is not the only health illness that has been linked to the toxic compounds found at Camp Lejeune. PCE and TCE have also been known to cause various other health conditions and diseases such as: 

  • ALS [ Lou Gehrig's Disease] 
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurobehavioral effects 
  • Aplastic anemia and other bone marrow conditions
  • Cardiac defects 
  • Brain damage 
  • Infertility and miscarriages 
  • Epilepsy
  • Hepatic Steatosis
  • Fatty liver disease 
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Renal Toxicity
  • Scleroderma 
  • Immune disorders
  • As well as birth defects and injuries

Cancer Linked to Exposure to Water Toxicity

The VOCs found contaminating the water supply at Camp Lejeune for 30 years are known to be especially harmful to the body and linked to various cancers, diseases, neurologic disorders, and birth defects. 

Scientific and medical research has shown that exposure to TCE and PCE are directly linked to higher rates of certain cancers. The list of cancers directly linked to exposure and consumption of harmful chemicals from the Camp Lejeune water include: 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 
  • Leukemia
  • Bladder cancer 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Breast cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Esophageal cancer 
  • Lung cancer 
  • Kidney cancer 
  • Multiple myeloma

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

What is Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

The water contamination at Camp Lejeune is the worst public water supply contamination in US history. Approximately 750,000 individuals were exposed to water containing some of the highest levels of carcinogenic chemicals ever seen over a 30-year time span. Service members, their families, and other civilians working at the base were exposed to tainted water from 1953 to 1987. They unknowingly drank the water, cooked with it, bathed in it, and washed their clothes in it. This toxic exposure led to a long list of health issues such as cancer and birth defects for countless individuals. 


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What contamination was discovered?

The toxic volatile organic compounds [VOC] and carcinogenic chemicals that heavily contaminated the water supply at Camp Lejeune included: trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride (VC). The levels of these contaminants found were among the highest ever recorded for drinking water in US history. 

The most troubling of the VOCs are TCE and PCE, which are chemicals used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing, or for cleaning metal equipment and machinery. These two compounds have been recognized as “probable human carcinogens” with exposure being linked to the development of certain cancers. At Camp Lejeune, the levels of PCE were found to be 215 ppb, or 43 times the EPA’s maximum safe level of 5 ppb, and the levels of TCE were even higher at 1,400 ppb with a safe level of 5ppb.  


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Is there a Camp Lejeune Class Action Lawsuit?

Currently, there is not a class action lawsuit. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a pending new federal law that, when passed, would permit eligible persons to file a lawsuit to recover damages from being exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune.  Any lawsuit filed before the CLJA of 2022 is passed will be dismissed due to a North Carolina statute of limitations law. 

Both the U.S. House and Senate have passed the CLJA.  As of August 1, the Act is awaiting President Biden’s signature. Its passage will open the door for lawsuits to be filed in the U.S. District Court in North Carolina. Regardless of where you may currently reside, all lawsuits will be heard in North Carolina. Additionally, it is expected all the lawsuits filed will be consolidated in an MDL class action. However, the CLJA will likely have a deadline of 2 years for lawsuits to be brought from the time it is enacted.  


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Why is the CLJA different from prior lawsuits previously attempted?

The CLJA will supersede the North Carolina Statute of Repose that has prevented victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination from getting justice or compensation. The statute of repose prevented many from filing a lawsuit against the federal government as it limited the time frame to seek damages to a maximum period of 10 years regardless of whether victims knew of the injuries or their cause within the said time period. Effectively blocking those who were injured by the water at Camp Lejeune from filing suits. 

This is what happened in 2016 when approximately 850 former Camp Lejeune residents attempted to bring suit against the United States in a multidistrict class action litigation, Straw vs. United States. The lawsuits were dismissed due to the Statute of Repose in North Carolina.  These dismissals sparked outrage throughout the country and rightfully so as the claims were not dismissed due to lack of merit but rather a legal loophole. As a result, the CLJA was put into motion.   


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How do I prove eligibility for CLJA?

The CLJA defines who is entitled to file a suit seeking damages for exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and states  “those who can prove they lived or worked, or were otherwise exposed”. The “otherwise exposed” is a catch-all term to include those individuals who may not have lived or worked at the base but were exposed to toxic water.  

In order to prove exposure documentation would need to be produced showing that they lived or worked at the base during the relevant time period for at least 30 days. For those service members and their families, military service records would be sufficient to show the dates they were stationed at Camp Lejeune. For civilians, employment records such as social security employment history or other employment verification records should be sufficient. For those that are unable to provide documentation, it is critical that you contact an attorney to assist you in locating and securing documents. While a claim can still be filed, you will have the burden of showing eligibility without supporting documents.  

For individuals filing a wrongful death action for lost loved ones, it will still be necessary to provide the appropriate documentation showing that your loved one resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed to the tainted water for the designated time period. An attorney can assist you in locating the necessary documents. 


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What if I am receiving VA Benefits for the Camp Lejeune water contamination?

Many veterans and families have already sought benefits offered by the VA and rightfully so, however, these benefits are insufficient and don't replace a reasonable settlement due to victims.  Even if you have received, or are receiving benefits from the VA, please know that does not preclude you from filing a lawsuit under the CLJA. If you are receiving VA benefits for your exposure please contact us today to discuss your options for filing a lawsuit once the CLJA is passed.  For more information on the benefits offered by the VA, see our blog here. 


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Camp Lejeune North Carolina Water Contamination Lawsuits

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