The Camp Lejeune toxic waters have caused ample hazards in the lives of people who resided and worked in this region between 1953 and 1987. There has been a sharp rise in lawsuits filed by civilians, veterans, and their relatives who developed cancer or other fatal ailments because of the polluted waters. Some judges are asking for a fast resolution and settlement so that the judicial system doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Each of the claims comes under the CLJA (Camp Lejeune Justice Act) of 2022, which offers two years for victims to file their complaints. Here, the litigation comprises various injuries that have been caused due to harsh chemicals present in the water at Camp Lejeune. Some ailments include birth defects, liver cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. The final date for filing the claim is August 2024.
An increasing number of U.S. veterans and many other people who consumed contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are filing a complaint. As a result, one can anticipate the litigation to become the largest mass tort in the entire history of the United States during the contamination period.
In this article, we will look into the views of different judges that will help determine the course of the settlements and payouts.
What Does Judge Dever Have to Say?
At a press conference held in April 2023, Judge Dever stated that it was rather impractical for the court to offer every claimant their time. He also encouraged lawyers to ask the Navy to resolve single claims because each of these claims was yet to be settled at the time of the 180-day administrative period before the lawsuit was brought to court.
Going ahead, Judge Dever has also asked the lawyers of the plaintiffs to choose the representatives so that they can work with the U.S. government about finalizing a structure for settling the Camp Lejeune lawsuits. After several days, it was seen that the Court had created a master docket for litigation related to Camp Lejeune and welcomed the lawyers of the plaintiffs for multiple leadership roles.
In May, a bipartisan team of lawmakers who belonged to the U.S. House and the Senate requested an update on the Camp Lejeune lawsuit settlements, trying to find reasons for the delay. During this period, the government admitted its fault to the veterans and civilians who were suffering from multiple kinds of cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
According to the lawmakers, several claimants are currently witnessing a deterioration of health and need compensation at the earliest. This made Judge Dever and others ask the lawyers to speed up the settlements.
What Are The Federal Judges Up to?
According to a news report by Bloomberg Law, the District Judge in the United States isn’t the only person who is placing pressure on the parties for a quick resolution. There is also a federal judge who has asked the lawyers of the Justice Department, along with the potential victims of the Camp Lejeune legal claims, to put effort into solving thousands of claims.
Judge Terrence Boyle shared that it is a tad bit irritating to have this responsibility on their heads. He is one of the four judges in the district who presides over the cases. It was noted that he was the only one who requested a hearing to discuss the progress of the claim. He further said that his fellow judges agreed to the need to move fast in the claims process so that the veterans receive the monetary compensation and use it to treat their chronic ailments.
To date, close to 160,000 victims have filed their claims, asking for fair compensation because they got exposed to the harsh chemicals present in the drinking water of Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. The last date to file all the claims is August 2024.
A quick resolution program that was declared in September 2023 aims to provide eligible claimants with a settlement amount that ranges between $100,000 and $550,000. However, current data analysis suggests that less than 14% of claimants have the scope to qualify.
TorHoerman Law states that victims shouldn’t get discouraged because of the delays. Instead, they should file their complaints with the help of an expert lawyer and keep hoping for a timely payout. With expert lawyers walking into the scene and the ‘Elective Option’ being introduced, there is scope for the lawsuits to start getting resolved and the delays to get addressed as well.
In summary, the Camp Lejeune lawsuits have faced acute delay from the court, and that has made the victims upset. This is because several of the victims are elderly and might die without receiving compensation. Hence, the judges are urging lawyers to take swift action so that the victims can receive the legal assistance they need to pay for their medical expenses.