Lawsuits involving toxic water at Camp Lejeune have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation and transferred to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits will be presided over by Judge J. Owen Forrester.
For years, Marines who served at Camp Lejeune have blamed their families’ cancers and other ailments on tap water tainted by dry cleaning solvents, and many accuse the military of covering it up. From the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, an estimated 1 million people were exposed to water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune that was contaminated with benzene, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and vinyl chloride, which the Department of the Navy eventually blamed on an off base dry cleaner Many.
Many scientists have called the drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune the worst in the nation’s history.
Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits allege that the U.S. government knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune, while at the same time actively disseminating disinformation to those exposed in an effort to minimize the significance of the exposure.
The lawsuits further allege that exposure to the toxins in Camp Lejeune water caused numerous health problems including cancers, reproductive disorders, and birth defects, among other maladies.
Advocates for victims of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water say they support legal actions against the Marine Corps as a way to find the answers it seems unwilling to provide.
In a Transfer Order dated February 4, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuits in MDL 2218, entitled the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Water Contamination Litigation. “It is undisputed that these actions share factual questions arising out of alleged death or injuries due to contaminated drinking water on the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina,” the panel wrote in its order. “Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”
The panel chose the Northern District of Georgia as the venue for the Camp Lejeune litigation because, among other things, several governmental agencies based their investigations of Camp Lejeune in Atlanta, Georgia. The panel also cited Judge Forrester’s “experience to steer this litigation on a prudent course,” in tapping him to preside over the litigation.