Bell Legal Group Files Initial Lawsuits on Behalf of Camp Lejeune Victims Against United States Government for Toxic Water Exposure on Military Base
Represented by Bell Legal Group, Initial Victims in the Cases Include Jerry Ensminger and Michael Partain
Today, Bell Legal Group filed an initial wave of lawsuits against the United States government in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on behalf of those impacted by the toxic water exposure on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. These cases mark the first initiative by victims of Camp Lejeune to seek justice in the courts for debilitating and often fatal health conditions cause by toxic water exposure on the military base.
Today, President Biden signed into law the Honoring Our PACT Act, which included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (bill number H.R. 2192). This legislation allows those impacted - including veterans, their families and civilian staff - from living and working at Camp Lejeune to exercise their constitutional right to legal action against the U.S. government.
J. Edward Bell III, founder and senior partner of Bell Legal Group and president of Charleston School of Law, personally championed the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. For more than a decade, Bell worked with Camp Lejeune victims, including Master Sergeant J.M. Ensminger, USMC, Ret., the leading advocate for the cause, and Michael Partain, co-founder of the Few, the Proud the Forgotten, and elected officials to bring this legislation into law. It is the first time victims have the opportunity to seek justice for the unlawful exposure to contaminated water while on the military base.
From 1953 to 1987, water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known carcinogens at up to 280 times the standard safety level. Four core chemicals and 70 secondary chemicals were identified in the water including: trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and benzene. Exposure to these toxins through drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing water caused myriad health complications, including a variety of cancer diagnoses, Parkinson’s disease, stillbirths, infertility, miscarriages and more.
Due to an obscure North Carolina law that implements a strict 10-year statute of repose, thousands of impacted individuals were previously legally prohibited to file claims. North Carolina is the only state where such a statute exists and, despite recent amending for future cases, it does not apply retroactively and subsequently does nothing for Camp Lejeune victims seeking to file a claim outside the 10-year window.
Now, anyone who lived or worked at the base between 1952 and 1987 for at least 30 days and who was exposed to its contaminated water is able to file a claim against the U.S. government. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act prohibits the U.S. government from asserting specific immunity from litigation in response to any potential lawsuit.
These initial lawsuit filings represent the first batch of poisoned family members, civilians, and veterans who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune, of the more than one million who were impacted. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is adjudicated in the courts and paid out through a U.S. Treasury department called the Treasury Judgment Fund.
Bell Legal Group has assembled a team of attorneys that are passionate advocates for Marines and have been representing Camp Lejeune victims for nearly 15 years. For more information, please visit: https://www.belllegalgroup.com/.
About Bell Legal Group
Since our founding in 1983, Bell Legal Group has earned a reputation for getting results where others could not. Bell Legal Group is dedicated to helping people get through some of the most complex, difficult life tragedies they will experience. Our proven team is experienced and highly skilled. We are invested in finding the facts of each case and operate our own state-of-the-art Science & Research Lab dedicated to accurately recreating accidents or crime scenes. Our injury attorneys work hard to provide a high standard of legal services and our staff dedicates time and energy to respond to the individual needs of each and every client. We represent clients who have suffered serious personal injuries all across South Carolina and throughout the country. For more information, please visit: https://www.belllegalgroup.com/.
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