The Camp Lejeune water contamination case continues to be a major point of contention for lawmakers as claimants continue to file. Since the signing of the PACT Act on August 8, 2022, there have been an estimated 14,000 cases filed concerning the contamination of drinking water at Camp Lejeune, a former U.S. Marine Corps base near Jacksonville, North Carolina. The contamination spanned decades starting in the mid-1950s and lasting all the way until 1986 due to a range of activities such as fuel storage, dry cleaning services, and industrial solvents used by contractors on base.
The effects of this toxic exposure have been widespread; exposure triggered an array of illnesses including cancer, liver disease, and neurological disorders that resulted in death or permanent disability for many. In a final effort to prevent these claims from moving forward, Senate Republicans sought to limit attorneys’ fees to 2 percent of any award obtained from a Camp Lejeune case. Advocates and plaintiffs say this potential cap would eliminate any real possibility for survivors and claimants to be represented correctly and receive an adequate award for damages incurred.
Single-Digit Cap on Fees Amounts to Sabotage
Senators claimed that the 2 percent cap was intended to prevent predatory law firms from claiming the lion's share of claimants' money. However, federal tort claims already put a cap on attorney fees: 25 percent, a figure both reasonable and precedented. A 2 percent cap would prevent any law firm from being capable of taking on these cases, which demand significant resources and manpower to properly handle.
At least two claimants interviewed by Roll Call agree. A former Marine drill sergeant at Camp Lejeune who lost his 9-year-old to cancer and a woman whose mother died of two different kinds of leukemia both saw the single-digit cap as a roadblock to justice, not a protective measure. Both claimants say there are far more law firms offering to stick to the federal tort cap than 'predatory' firms, unlike the Senators' claims.
Thankfully, these amendments proved unpopular enough for the minority grouping of lawmakers to back down.
Our firm is representing survivors and victims of cancer, liver disease, and other life-changing conditions who lived at Camp Lejeune from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s. Call us at (888) 498-3023 to learn your legal options.