Lawmakers Give Navy JAG A Deadline To Comply With The Camp Lejeune Justice Act Claims
Not a single one of the nearly 50,000 Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims has been addressed to date
Sunday, May 21, 2023 - US Lawmakers are incensed at the Navy JAG's lack of action and are pressing the agency to take immediate action to remediate Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims that have been made against them. About 50,000 claims have been received by the JAG and none of them, to the best of anyone's knowledge, have been paid. Thousands of CLJA claims have passed the six-month expiration date that the Navy had to address them and now qualify to file lawsuits in the Eastern District of North Carolina. 1000 lawsuits have already been filed and thousands more are in the works and may be expected. There are only four judges available to hear the lawsuits and no effort to date has been made to consolidate the claims in multi-district litigation. Sources also say the Navy will not address any of the claims until an online portal website is launched in late June at the earliest. According to news.BloomberLaw.com (BL), top US lawmakers are now pressuring the Navy to take immediate action. " The government must move quickly to adjudicate these cases, Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) said in a letter being sent today to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Attorney General Merrick Garland. "Anything less is an injustice," the letter said. "What is the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice's plans to process these claims in a timely manner?" BL reported. Lawmakers are rightfully concerned that stalling on paying CLJA claims denies veterans with water contamination cancer the funds needed to seek life-saving medical treatments and that many may have died and others will continue to die as a result. The Navy has been given a June 9, 2023 deadline to answer why the claims have been largely ignored and also what the department intends to do to immediately address the claims. "It is imperative that the Navy Judge Advocate General and Department of Justice act expeditiously to ensure these individuals receive the justice they deserve without undue delay," the lawmakers wrote." According to McLatchyDC.com.
Toxic, carcinogenic chemicals were found to have contaminated two out main water treatment facilities at Camp Lejeune starting in 1953 and lasting through 1987. There were numerous alleged sources of contamination including leaky underground fuel storage tanks, toxic contamination from improper underground chemical weapons disposal, run-off from cleaning solutions used to clean and degrease military weaponry and machinery, a lastly, improper disposal of dry cleaning chemicals from a facility located off-base into local storm drains. Chemicals found in the water at levels thousands of times greater than what the FDA designated as safe were trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, benzene, and vinyl chloride. These chemicals were ingested by women on the base during their pregnancy and resulted in elevated levels of miscarriages, birth defects, cancers, and childhood leukemia. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed by Congress last August in an attempt to make good on the military's promise to protect soldiers at home and abroad. About 1 million individuals may have developed a disease directly as a result of their exposure to these and other Camp Lejeune toxins.