Over 100 water contamination lawsuits focused on Camp Lejeune have been filed in a North Carolina federal court by U.S. military veterans and their family members, who allege that tainted water at the Marine Corps base between 1953 and 1987 caused them to develop serious health problems, Reuters reported

This first wave of lawsuits—105 as of Feb. 13—follows the expiration of a waiting period set forth by federal law that governs claims made by military service members against the U.S. federal government. 

Plaintiffs allege that they developed cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, kidney damage and other complications, allegedly as a result of being exposed to contaminated water. According to estimates from The Department of Health and Human Services, as many as one million people may have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. 

In August 2022, President Joe Biden passed a veterans’ benefits and healthcare bill known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. Also known as the PACT Act, it allows military veterans and their family members to file civil lawsuits against the U.S. Government for harm caused by at least thirty days of exposure, including in utero, to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987.

Before filing a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina, plaintiffs must have their claims filed via an administrative process. If a plaintiff chooses not to have the administrative process of the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) tort claims unit in Norfolk, VA, they must wait six months to file a federal lawsuit. 

Approximately 20,000 veterans or their family members have filed a claim with the JAG; none have been decided. Under the PACT Act, the federal government can no longer deny claims based on sovereign immunity.