Camp Lejeune toxic water claims window closes in August 2024

Posted On: Friday, 31 May 2024

Although the window of opportunity to file a CLJA claim closes Aug. 10, litigation is finally moving forward. Attorneys say the first trial could be as early as May for individuals who allege they contracted bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Currently, more than 164,000 administrative claims have been filed with the U.S. Navy and approximately 1,500 lawsuits have been filed in federal court.
On Feb. 6, the court surprisingly sided with the U.S. Department of Justice and said victims could not have their cases heard by a jury but would have to be heard by a federal judge. Attorneys are advocating for bundled trials for individuals with similar diseases because this would be more efficient in hearing the cases in court.
The CLJA does not list specific covered diseases, and anyone could sue if they resided or worked aboard Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987, as long as they can show they suffered harm as a result of their exposure. However, many law firms are drawing a line on what claims they will file.
In addition to the lawsuit, the Veterans Administration is now reopening and reviewing claims that were previously denied due to the CLJA considerations. One of the most common questions asked by veterans is whether filing a claim under the CLJA will put their current or prospective VA benefits at risk. The VA has stated in official guidance that “if you are awarded a relief from a CLJA lawsuit, your VA benefits will not be reduced, and your eligibility for other VA benefits will not be affected.” If a veteran is already receiving benefits or other compensation for injuries caused by the water at Camp Lejeune, the act still gives them the right to sue — and the benefits will not be lost even if an action is brought under the act. 
With the Aug. 10 deadline approaching, Legionnaires and family members are urged to reach out in advance of the deadline in order to have their case reviewed with plenty of time. With the plethora of law firms vying for veterans and family members to represent, many are charging exorbitant rates that include costs up to 20 percent in addition to attorney fees.
Bergmann & Moore has been selected by The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary to assist their members in filing CLJA claims. They have agreed to handle the CLJA claims for 33.3 percent to include all fees and costs. Claimants who believe they were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune may speak to an intake specialist by calling (800) 898-9450. Callers are encouraged to mention the Legion when they call. If you have questions prior to filing a claim, call retired U.S. Marine Annita Best, Bergmann & Moore’s CLJA spokesperson, at (301) 290-3148. The firm Beasley Allen, Bergmann & Moore’s co-counsel, serves on the plaintiff’s executive committee for the CLJA litigation.

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In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.