A Firm of Service — A Letter from Attorney Calle Mendenhall
Posted on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 at 3:51 pm
The PACT Act (“Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act”), recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, garnered media attention at the national and local levels. While a significant portion of the news focused on the military’s toxic exposure from burn pits and its harmful, long-lasting effects, the Act also included a pathway for Marines and their families who trained and lived at Camp LeJeune from 1953 to 1987 to recover for certain illness and health conditions caused by the government’s failure to provide safe, healthy water.
This Act and Farris, Riley & Pitt’s involvement in representing those affected is about accountability and protecting our country’s veterans and military families. Our firm has always valued the importance of keeping families safe. It is the reason we publish this magazine. The stories and resulting injuries from Camp LeJeune are heartbreaking.
Camp LeJeune is located near Jacksonville, North Carolina. The story of Camp LeJeune’s toxic water crisis begins back in 1985 when it was discovered that the Marine Corps base camp’s water supply was contaminated with toxic volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”). These compounds have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, fertility issues, birth defects and other serious health conditions. After years of investigation, it is now believed that the VOCs were present starting around 1953. This means any Marine or family member living at Camp LeJeune between 1953 and 1987, over three decades worth of time, was subjected to toxic water without ever knowing it.
During this thirty-year timeframe, the government failed our military by neglecting to conduct thorough water testing; thus, allowing the contamination to continue. For decades, anyone who lived at Camp LeJeune during this time frame and has since been diagnosed with cancer or other serious injuries had no legal path to hold the government responsible because the government has always been immune from being held liable for these types of claims. However, the Camp LeJeune Justice Act, part of the PACT Act, eliminates this immunity from liability; thereby, allowing victims to seek relief for the losses they have suffered due to toxic exposure. This is a significant step forward in protecting those who have fought to protect us.
We are proud to serve our military and their families impacted by the harm at Camp LeJeune. If you would like to know more, please visit our Camp Lejeune webpage.