Our law firm handles Camp Lejeune lawsuits for people in all 50 states who seek to file claims.
Matthews and Associates is committed to representing veterans and their families impacted by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. We began assembling a team months before the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 was signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022. We have developed a breadth of knowledge and robust systems since that time to help process administrative claims and prepare for federal lawsuits in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Our firm has teamed up with several prominent law firms in North Carolina, including Wallace & Graham, who have taken some of the largest verdicts in recent history in the very Court in which our cases must be filed. Currently, we are processing a significant number of administrative claim forms for the Department of the Navy Civil JAG division. Developing these claims so that they will satisfy the Act’s requirements requires, among other things:
- Obtaining medical and VA records for clients;
- Obtaining full Military Personnel Files, DD-214s and other information to substantiate service requirements;
- Confirming dates of exposure, locations on base, and honorable discharge from the Marines and sometimes Navy;
- Confirming diagnosis date and type for claimed injuries;
- Evaluating various illnesses and conditions with consulting epidemiologists and other experts to determine viability;
- Identifying any benefits, such as VA disability benefits, which may be impacted or factor into the Camp Lejeune claim;
- Drafting and organizing the signing of JAG-compliant claim forms for batch filing with the Navy; and
- Tracking filed claims and identifying candidates for immediate filing of a lawsuit if no response within initial 6-month period.
Having engaged the services of multiple consulting experts including epidemiologists, oncologists, and other medical professionals to help us review potential injuries, we are able to establish guidelines for retention based on supportive science.
For cases in which the potential client is deceased, the government requires us to show proof that the individual signing the Administrative Claim Form has legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased claimant. Specifically, the Administrative Claim Form states that “An authorized agent must provide evidence establishing express authority to act for claimant, showing title/legal capacity of person signing with evidence of authority to present a claim.” Evidence of that express authority must be attached to the Administrative Claim Form when it is filed. This means that:
- For deceased clients, an estate must be opened and an estate representative legally appointed;
- The legally appointed estate representative is the only individual who can file a claim with the Department of Navy Tort Claims Unit;
- If decedent left a Will naming an Executor but the Will was never probated, an estate must be opened to probate the Will and have the Executor legally appointed to act on behalf of the estate;
- If decedent’s estate was previously probated and an Executor or Administrator was appointed but the estate has since been closed, the estate will have to be reopened and updated or current letters of authority obtained;
- If the claimant was living when the Administrative Claim was filed but subsequently dies prior to an adjudication of the claim, an estate must be opened to have an estate representative legally appointed, and then the Administrative Claim Form will need to be amended to reflect a new agent for the claim and to add “wrongful death” to the claim, if applicable; and
- Failure to present evidence of the agent’s express authority to act on behalf of the deceased claimant will result in the Administrative Claim being rejected or not perfected by the Department of the Navy Tort Claims Unit.
Matthews and Associates has established a partnership with multiple probate lawyers, including inhouse and in North Carolina, to efficiently open low-cost probates to obtain the documents necessary for a legally appointed representative to file the administrative claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Finally, our attorneys have personally toured Camp Lejeune, giving them an important understanding of the base from the ground and the team has gathered tens of thousands of pages of historical documents on the site to help aid in proving exposure and causation.
Note: This material represents attorney marketing and is not to be construed as legal advice. Anyone interested in pursuing a Camp Lejeune litigation claim regarding contaminated water at the base is urged to contact legal counsel directly.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Settlement
Our attorneys cannot responsibly speculate about potential settlement payouts for any Camp Lejeune lawsuit. We can and will, however, work to maximize potential payouts for all of our clients. Our decades of experience in personal injury lawsuits has been the perfect preparation to tackle these claims for the people we represent who suffered injury from exposure to toxic Camp Lejeune water.
Call our lawyers today at 888-520-5202 or get a free online consultation if you feel you might have a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Updates
Our attorneys wish to bring Camp Lejeune survivors and victims the latest information in this large litigation.
March 28, 2023 Update – Lawsuit Count
Camp Lejeune survivors who filed administrative claims with JAG following passage of CLJA in August 2022 could then file civil suits six months later. Nearly eight months have passed since CLJA passed.
New Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits were recently filed. Last week saw 179 new Camp Lejeune civil suits filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. That was the largest week’s total of of new cases filed since JAG’s six-month deadline expired. That total almost doubled the number of pending CLJA civil cases.
March 27, 2023 Update – JAG Mentions Settlement
The Navy JAG was harshly criticized for its ostensible lack of action on the thousands of Camp Lejeune claims filed under the new law passed in 2022. Despite receiving more than 15,000 claims, JAG has still not created a system to review and/or resolve Camp Lejeune claims.
A JAG spokesperson said the group was reviewing claims. He said, “If the Navy determines the evidence substantiates the claim, the Navy, in coordination with the Department of Justice, may offer a settlement.”
Those were encouraging words, but they indicated no definite action to date, and they gave us no settlement offers. No Camp Lejeune survivors have been recompensed thus far for their injuries, and JAG failed to tender any timetable for any future settlement offer(s).
March 19, 2023 Update – 260+ Lawsuits
One month passed since the first Camp Lejeune survivors who filed claims under the CLJA became eligible to file civil lawsuits. Since that pre-set deadline time, 260 CLJA claimants converted their claims into civil lawsuits. All were filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Camp Lejeune lawsuit filings doubled under the CLJA each week after March 1. Roughly 180 cases have been filed thus far.
March 1, 2023 Update – New Case shows Camp Lejeune Personal Tragedy
Freshwater v. United States (7:23-cv-00167) — a CLJA civil lawsuit – shows the world the tragedy faced by many Camp Lejeune survivors. The female plaintiff lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days (the complaint doesn’t specify exactly) during the water contamination period (1953-1987). Her exposure to the camp’s toxic water devastated her health and her family. Two of her children died from birth defects, in 1977 and 1979, and the woman and her husband also suffered a miscarriage. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she died in 2013. A surviving daughter filed a wrongful death claim for her under the CLJA. Birth defects and leukemia are linked to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.
February 27, 2023 Update – Nearly 160 cases
The earliest CLJA claimants became eligible to file civil lawsuits on February 10, 2023. That date was the six months needed under the new law, following their JAG claim filings. Since that time, some 158 Camp Lejeune lawsuits were filed under the CLJA in the Eastern District of North Carolina. That number represents a small part of the total claims filed in the first two weeks after passage of the CLJA. The number of civil case filings is expected to dramatically rise in the next several months.
February 22, 2023 Update – Government encourages People to File Two Claims
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has encouraged Camp Lejeune survivors to file VA disability benefit claims even if they pursue a lawsuit under the CLJA.
“[The] VA is not going to reduce or deny your benefits,” wrote the VA’s office of the General Counsel,” even if you pursue a claim under the CLJA. The VA’s statements sought to clarify that VA disability benefits would still be available to those who bring Camp Lejeune lawsuits under the CLJA.
February 15, 2023 Update – Lawsuit Count
Nine Camp Lejeune civil lawsuits were filed today in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Total case filings number 112 under the CLJA following the 6-month administrative claim deadline’s expiring on Feb. 12. At the same time, a JAG spokesperson has noted the number of CLJA administrative claims received is roughly 20,000. At least half of these claims will likely end up being filed as civil lawsuits.
February 13, 2023 Update
A six-month deadline for JAG administrative claims under CLJA expired last week. As we anticipated, many Camp Lejeune survivors have filed civil lawsuits under the CLJA. A total of 79 CLJA cases have been filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina since late last week. New case filing numbers will likely increase this week as more CLJA claimants become eligible to file six months after submitting their admin claims to JAG.
February 6, 2023 Update – Camp Lejeune Lawsuits ready for North Carolina
After the CLJA was signed into law on August 10, 2022, many Camp Lejeune survivors filed administrative claims under the new law with the Navy JAG. Several thousand CLJA claims were filed with JAG in the first weeks following the bill’s passage. The CLJA gave JAG a six-month deadline to act on the administrative claims before claimants could file civil lawsuits in federal court in North Carolina.
That six-month deadline is set to expire Feb. 9 for the earliest CLJA administrative claims. None of the claims filed at first have been settled. JAG, in fact, never requested supporting documents for those claims. In any event, now all those plaintiffs can bring a civil claim in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
February 1, 2023 Update – Camp Lejeune Claimants file Cases
JAG has received more than 15,000 claims from Camp Lejeune survivors since the CLJA was passed in August 2022. As many speculate about how many claims will be filed under the CLJA before the August 2024 deadline, Bloomberg News has suggested the number could reach half a million CLJA claims.
We feel that total wildly inflated. According to the ATSDR studies, from 1953 to 1987, roughly one million people were exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. The ATSDR study estimated that perhaps 200,000 people of that one million exposed may have developed cancer or other serious health conditions. We expect the total number of CLJA claimants to exceed 100,000.
January 24, 2023 Update – Wheels of Justice Grinding Slowly
We share our clients’ frustration with the slow-going pace of the Camp Lejeune litigation.
Both JAG and the DOJ have faced criticism for what many feel is government foot dragging in these cases. Thousands of compensation claims from Camp Lejeune survivors hang in the balance as they await action from the CLJA. Nearly six months have passed since the first group of claimants filed cases following the CLJA becoming law. Since the government case handlers have not made any apparent progress so far, many veterans feel very frustrated.
However, some well-known public figures brought the delay to the public’s attention last week.
One of the first sponsors of the CLJA, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), pressed the DOJ and JAG to act last week, saying in a statement: “Now that the [CLJA] has been signed into law, we should not prolong the suffering of those who served our country.”
Erin Brockovich also weighed in for Camp Lejeune survivors, calling on the DOJ to “follow through with the spirit and the intention” of the CLJA.
While we don’t feel the government’s delay is intentional, we sincerely urge that the DOJ and DLJA put more resources into processing these claims.
Will there be an offset for accepting VA benefits?
Nobody yet knows whether there will be some offset for those accepting VA benefits as they also file a CLJA claim. Any Camp Lejeune settlement will likely come with a global settlement caveat which resolves all claims with the U.S. government. It may make sense to waive any lien and pay slightly smaller settlement amounts (which would also have the effect of the survivor paying less in attorneys’ fees due to fees coming out of the gross settlement amount).
Note: This material represents attorney marketing and is not to be construed as legal advice. Anyone interested in pursuing a Camp Lejeune litigation claim regarding injuries potentially caused by contaminated water at the base is urged to contact legal counsel directly.