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Timeline of events for Camp Lejeune toxic water contamination

October 2023 - The judges' order organizes the discovery and trials into different "tracks" to facilitate a comprehensive resolution of all claims. This involves the establishment of three separate tracks, namely Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3, to address specific categories of claims. So far, we know what is in track one: non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and Parkinson's disease. But what will be in Tracks 2 and 3, and when will that be established? We do not know this yet.

September 2023 - The U.S. Navy and Justice Department announced a new settlement offer to some of the tens of thousands of people who claim they developed terrible diseases as a result of exposure to toxic water decades ago at Camp Lejeune. Over 93,000 people have filed claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act until now. The new offer, known as the Elective Option, allows qualifying individuals to receive a certain payout faster than having to fight the government in court for several months or even years with no guarantee of success. The payouts range from $150,000 to $450,000, with $100,000 more offered if toxic exposure resulted in a death.

July 2023 - Since the first Camp Lejeune water contamination victims became entitled to file civil lawsuits under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in February, 1,067 cases have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

At least three different law firms are facing civil lawsuits accusing them of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) with unsolicited robocalls aimed at obtaining Camp Lejeune water contamination cases. Two law firms based in West Virginia were sued earlier this year, and their motion to dismiss the case has recently been denied. Another New York law firm was sued this week in a putative class action for TCPA violations concerning its Camp Lejeune marketing.

April 2023 - Judge James C. Dever, III stated that it would take the four U.S. District Court of Eastern North Carolina judges 1,900 years to get through all Camp Lejeune cases if each one was tried independently. He underscored that these cases must move forward quickly because water contamination victims cannot wait years while lawyers make legal maneuvers.

Furthermore, thousands of people have filed Camp Lejeune administrative claims, and hundreds of toxic water lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The DOJ has a lot of work to answer these lawsuits and, at some point, review these settlement claims. It filed a motion to extend the time to file answers to each plaintiff's complaint filed. A judge granted the DOJ an extension on filing individual answers until May 31, 2023.

March 2023 - Since the beginning of this month, 22 more water contamination victims have filed lawsuits under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. By the end of the month, roughly 260 lawsuits were filed since the first claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act had become entitled to bring civil cases one month ago.

February 2023 - Over 15,000 water contamination claims have been filed by veterans, family members, and civilians under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. It is estimated that there could be 500,000 claims until the deadline - August 2024. Furthermore, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry estimates that the number of people who lived at the military base and developed cancer and other health problems is approximately 200,000. The VA is encouraging Camp Lejeune toxic exposure victims to file disability compensation claims even if they are pursuing a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The VA's Office of the General Counsel issued a statement assuring former Marines "that VA is not going to reduce or deny your benefits" if you pursue a toxic exposure claim under the new legislation.

January 2023 - The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Camp Lejeune water contamination claims will cost "$6.1 billion over the next ten years," according to the CBO cost analysis from February 2022, when the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was introduced. Still, the CBO issued another report that revised its estimate. Even if we assume that the total claim number will be 20,000, that would equate to $305,000 per claim. By January 9, 14,000 Camp Lejeune toxic water claims had been filed since the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law. The total number of water contamination claims might easily reach 75,000 in 2023.

December 2022 - According to the Navy JAG Tort Claims Unit, the number of claims filed by water contamination victims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is 14,000. This number is expected to double over the next months. Moreover, in all Camp Lejeune legacy cases, the court clerk entered a note stating that the government's motion to dismiss for failure to refile administrative claims has been "submitted to District Judge Terrence W. Boyle." Finally, a judge dismissed eight of the Camp Lejeune legacy cases for failure to refile administrative claims with JAG after the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law.

2021-2022 - Proposed by Representative Matt Cartwright on March 26, 2021, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was thought out to enable certain individuals to file claims and recover damages for harm from toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune that occurred between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Nevertheless, this action is available only to people exposed to volatile organic compounds for at least 30 consecutive days. The bill prohibits the U.S. government from asserting immunity from litigation in response to these lawsuits. On August 10, 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden.

2016-2019 - The U.S. Navy performs additional cleanup activities at Camp Lejeune. A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in 2018 and referred to Site UXO-06 (OU24), which has a borrow pit formerly used as a target for military practice and three adjacent cantonment areas. The remedies, implemented in 2019, were institutional controls and munition surface clearance. A ROD was also issued in 2019 regarding Site UXO-24 and Site 37 (OU26). The sites include undeveloped property and a former surface dump. The remedy for Site UXO-24 was institutional controls.

2017 - Early this year, the VA released a rule granting veterans, reservists, National Guard members, and their surviving spouses access to over $2 billion in disability benefits. There are eight diseases for which the department says there is enough evidence to be connected to Camp Lejeune's toxic exposure to chemicals. Furthermore, Congress passed another statute that allows veterans to receive compensation on a presumption of exposure. A presumption of exposure means that the veteran has qualifying service, and as a consequence, the VA presumes that they were exposed to harmful chemicals.

2016 - This year, Marine veterans and family members filed 800 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits in accordance with the Federal Tort Claims Act. The act enables individuals to sue the government for personal injury or death caused by the negligence of a federal employee. These lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in federal court.

2010-2015 - Several sites at Camp Lejeune undergo cleanup by the U.S. Navy. The cleanup activities of the Navy referred to three removal actions at Site 6 (OU-2), UXO-01, and UXO-23. The remedy for Site UXO-19 was institutional controls to limit exposure to toxic soil.

2012 - In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act. This grants a series of benefits to the family members who were exposed to volatile organic compounds at Camp Lejeune. It also provides healthcare benefits to veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune, as well as to their family members. Moreover, this year, President Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act. This law, named after the daughter of a serviceman stationed at the military base who lost her life to cancer at only 9 years old, authorizes healthcare to veterans and their family members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and developed conditions associated with water contamination. This law could apply to over 750,000 people.

2001-2009 - The cleanup endeavors of the U.S. Navy at Camp Lejeune continue. Between these years, the Navy led a pilot-scale treatability study using electrical resistance heating to clean up the sites containing dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) and completed a removal activity using low-level heat to eliminate the contaminants in soil. Approximately 48,000 pounds of volatile organic compounds were removed from the soil during the study. The Navy completed cleanup at OU-7 (Sites 1, 28, and 30), OU-4 (Sites 41 and 74), and OU-16 (Site 93).

2008 - In January, President George W. Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act. The act includes a requirement that the Department of the Navy and the ATSDR conduct a health survey of people who were possibly exposed to harmful chemicals at Camp Lejeune.

1992-2001 - The U.S. Navy carried out the first cleanup activities at Camp Lejeune. Under the supervision of the EPA, the Navy began the cleanup at Camp Lejeune. During this time, it removed and disposed of the following from areas across the military base: contaminated soils, above-ground storage tanks, drums, underground storage tanks, batteries, and waste liquids. Furthermore, the Navy installed a bio-treatment cell for contaminated soil.

1989 - Camp Lejeune and ABC One-Hour Cleaners are named Superfund sites. On October 4, the EPA listed Camp Lejeune and the site of the former dry-cleaning firm ABC One-Hour Cleaners as Superfund sites and added both to the National Priorities List.

1982 - Located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Camp Lejeune was established in 1942. While contamination with toxic chemicals began occurring at the military facility after 1953, it was only in 1982 that volatile organic compounds were found lurking in the drinking water of the installation by the Marine Corps. Two of the eight water supplies of the military base were heavily contaminated with harmful chemicals. At Hadnot Point, the trichloroethylene level exceeded the safe exposure limit by 280 times, while at Tarawa Terrace, the perchloroethylene level eclipsed it by 43 times. Benzene and vinyl chloride were also present in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

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