Attorney Guidance Is Essential For Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuits and Settlements
Camp Lejeune water attorneys invest millions of dollars up front on behalf of clients who may not be financially able to pursue their claims without them
Thursday, September 21, 2023 - US Marines, civilian employees, and family members who developed cancer as a result of exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune may be eligible for lump-sum compensation as compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering by filing a Camp Lejeune Justice Act claim. New guidance has been proposed that could￼ limit attorney fees to 20 to 25% of the total settlement amount awarded to Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. ￼It is standard practice for attorneys to charge about one-third of the total settlement amount, contingent upon winning the award. The Navy told reporters that reducing attorney fees would result billions of dollars more going to marines and civilian employees and their family members￼ suffering from cancer￼. ￼"That new guidance, updated and posted on Friday, says plaintiffs' attorneys can collect only 20% of the administrative settlements and 25% of the payouts resulting from litigation," according to Bloomberg Law News. ￼Lawyers argue that limiting attorney fees is contrary to the logic that attorneys must bear 100% of the cost and take on the risks of producing a case to be brought to court since the fees are contingent on winning their case. Many individuals would not be able to afford the costs of litigation or would ask for far less than they were entitiled to if not for the advice of a Camp Lejeune water attorney.
The updated attorney fee schedule was announced in the wake of the Navy and Department of Justice offering settlement amounts that may be rejected by many of the 100,000 Camp Lejeune Justice Act claimants whose cases have been left unprocessed since being submitted more than one year ago. The Navy JAG has six months to address each claim. The military will offer Camp Lejeune Water cancer sufferers from $100,000 to $450,000 upfront, no further questions asked, and also a bonus of $100,000 if the person died from one of a list of illnesses presumed to have been caused by contaminated Camp Lejeune water. In addition, nearly 1100 claims have expired prompting lawsuits to be filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina where only four judges are available to hear the cases. Many lawyers are adamant about keeping their fees at around one-third of the total amount they win in court and say that their client's water contamination claims are worth ten or twenty times the amount being offered. "while the offers of between $100,000 and $550,000 from the Navy and the Justice Department to settle claims are likely to be accepted by some victims, many others and their attorneys are still pushing for action on more than 1,100 cases already filed in federal court. "I'm committed to vigorously advocating for trials to begin in 2024," Ed Bell of Bell Legal Group in Georgetown, S.C., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in an emailed response to questions. "The veterans, their families, and others that have suffered from the water at Camp Lejeune and, after decades of waiting, they deserve to have their day in court," RollCall.com reported.