Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in Eastern North Carolina.
Countless Marines, their families and civilians who lived and worked at the base from August 1953 to December 1987, were exposed to the deadly contaminated water supply. As a result of this exposure these people developed numerous cancers and other serious conditions making them below may be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Mr. DeMayo along with the DeMayo Law Group, PLLC (DLAW Group*), a team of lawyers and staff dedicated to working exclusively on the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Litigation have been active participants in this litigation since before the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed on August 10, 2022. DLAW Group are members of a large, strategic group of notable national Mass Torts Law Firms and Attorneys who have been leaders in and participated in some of the largest national Mass Torts and Class Action cases in the country. In addition, Mr. DeMayo and Mr. Carl Solomon participated on behalf of DeMayo Law Group, PLLC clients early in the evaluation and initial conversations with the DOJ in efforts to present settlement models and grids to effectuate resolution. Our strategic group collectively represents over 100,000 individual cases. DeMayo Law Group represents many thousands of Marines and their family members that are currently being litigated in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Currently, there are approximately 129,000 individuals who have filed claims with the Department of the Navy seeking help for their Cancers, Health Conditions and in some instances, deaths caused by contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. As our clients and others have been waiting for decades for their plight to be acknowledged, much less addressed. Until the Justice Act, many victims had no recourse or ability to get the answers they long deserved. Now that there is a remedy and an allocation of resources to make the victims whole, the Navy has short-changed the victims yet again with a proposal that does not provide adequate compensation for their service and health.
Everyone agrees that our Veterans need to be treated fairly and not as second-class citizens. The Marines and other victims deserve to have their medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses covered on what they have already spent on their health and will likely have to continue to spend for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the continuous high level of pain and suffering that they have and will continue to endure from the different cancers and health conditions caused by the toxic water supply at Camp Lejeune.
What is Fair?
When Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) in 2022, it required the Navy to set up a claims administration process to compensate the victims as the first step to let victims settle their cases without the need of going to court. Currently, the Navy has settled 3 total cases using the Elective Option (EO) out of 129,000 cases that have been administratively filed!
There is a two-year time Statute of Limitations on all of these cases. While progress has been made on a Master Complaint and Short Form Complaint, time is quickly ticking away. The Master Complaint was filed on October 6, 2023. Discovery has been organized into specific “tracks” based on the types of diseases involved. Specifically, Track 1 focuses on bladder cancer, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The selection of diseases to be litigated in Track 2 and Track 3 will be proposed by the parties and determined by the Court at a later date. DLAW Group is actively reviewing our cases for potential bellwether cases.
The Elective Option. A quick settlement opportunity offered by the Navy.
The Justice Department and Navy recently announced a voluntary Elective Option (EO) to “quickly resolve” Camp Lejeune cases through expedited payouts. While a fast track has some appeal, at the end of the day, it’s anything short of fair and reasonable compensation. The victims who have waited for more than 30 years will be extremely disappointed in this “option”. First, we must clearly recognize that the Elective Option is a greatly reduced offer to settle in exchange for a “quick payment” and waiver of some but not all the government liens. There still could be outstanding private insurance coverage liens and potential Medicare Advantage, State Medicaid, and Medicare Part C plan liens that would have to be deducted from this quick hit settlement offer. Beware, this offer is specifically targeted at people who are desperate or just tired of this case.
In addition, the claim requirement still requires certified medical documentation that goes back over 60 years which can be difficult, especially when the Navy has all the records. There is currently a 120-day backlog on requests for Military records, and sometimes can take even longer to obtain this information.
Significantly, the elective offer does not use any of the traditional measurements of loss or damages that a jury would be allowed to consider including pain, suffering, out of pocket medical care, lost earnings and earning capacity, and children or dependents, among others. There is an additional death benefit if the victim’s death was related to toxic exposure, but $100,000 is not an adequate measure or compensation for the Value of a Lost Life. The damages offered in the elective option fails to account for the severity of the injuries sustained by the victims, and it ignores the fundamental concept of damages that our court system and law provide. It is a quick hit offer, much like what insurance companies offer at the start of a big case to “buy off” a case/claim cheap if the victim is uneducated or unrepresented by a lawyer. It might be a good start but, in our opinion, it is inadequate to compensate the victims that it covers and while there will be some victims who elect to accept this low and quick payment, for whatever reason, we will not recommend it to our clients.
At this time, the offered elective option values are disappointing, and do not work towards a successful resolution of a group of cases without some significant but reasonable adjustments. DLAW Group will continue working on our cases, accepting new cases, and working towards a reasonable resolution, while the litigation continues onward.
Should you have any questions, require additional information, or wish to discuss specific client cases, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Your continued support and collaboration in these important cases is greatly appreciated.
DeMayo Law Offices, LLP and DeMayo Law Group, PLLC
In addition to the DLAW Group’s Camp Lejeune cases, DeMayo Law Offices continues active representation of victims in their cases for:
* Hernia Mesh
* Boy Scout Abuse Cases
* Other Mass Torts (see DeMayoLaw.com for a full list of our Mass Tort cases).
*(Mr. DeMayo and the DLAW Group have scaled a separate law firm to handle the largest and most important North Carolina litigation in our lifetime: the Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Cases. DLAW Group is uniquely positioned to handle this inventory of individual cases because of our experience and location in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. DeMayo has assembled an infrastructure or uniquely qualified lawyers, and the right personnel for each stage of this litigation. We have taken painstaking efforts to ensure that every detail and step of the process and procedure has been mapped out to maximizes recovery for each individual claimant.)