More than 200 Camp Lejeune water contamination claims have been filed in a North Carolina federal court. Service members, families, and civilian employees have filed personal injury lawsuits alleging the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is responsible for injuries, including cancer, birth defects, and autoimmune disorders. Additional Camp Lejeune lawsuits are expected in federal court as more claims exhaust the administrative requirement set forth by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
200 Camp Lejeune Personal Injury Claims Filed in North Carolina
As of March 2, 2023, roughly 200 Camp Lejeune federal lawsuits are pending in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Federal cases have dramatically increased following the expiration of the waiting period outlined in the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of 2022.
On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022. This act expanded healthcare benefits and eligibility for veterans affected by toxic exposure during service and included the long-awaited CLJA.
However, the CLJA stipulated that individuals must submit an administrative claim to the Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Navy before filing a lawsuit. The Navy has six months to consider accepting liability and offering compensation for the presented claim. Only after the claimant exhausts the administrative requirements can they file a Camp Lejeune action in court.
February 10, 2023, saw the end of the six-month waiting period for administrative claims, paving the way for the first wave of Camp Lejeune lawsuits eligible for filing in federal court. By February 13, more than 100 Camp Lejeune lawsuits had been filed in North Carolina court.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Expected to Increase
These 200 lawsuits are only a fraction of the administrative claims awaiting eligibility. In February 2023, a JAG spokesperson revealed the office had received over 20,000 administrative Camp Lejeune claims.
An estimated 1 million people may have been exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. While the total number of Camp Lejeune claims that will be filed in the 2-year window under the CLJA is unknown, experts suggest we could see anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000.