Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 8:00 AM CDT

Sweeping new Veterans health protection law expected to result in landmark Federal litigation

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Following passage this week of comprehensive Federal veterans' health legislation that includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky's team of national environmental mass and toxic tort lawyers announced it is now representing and seeking justice for client-survivors – mostly former Marines and their families - that lived on the North Carolina Marine Corps base and used its tainted water supply over nearly five decades.

 "We are preparing the legal filings that will detail in each and every instance the horrors survivors suffered."

"We are grateful and humbled to represent these courageous survivors who served their country with valor but until now were denied the basic right to just compensation for the devastating  injuries they unknowingly sustained as a result of being at Camp Lejeune and using its water supply for drinking, bathing and other purposes," said SMB's Lawrence R. Cohan, a Partner who directs the firm's national mass and toxic tort practice. "As the President prepares to sign this bill -  Camp Lejeune Justice Act - into law, we are preparing the legal filings that will detail in each and every instance the horrors survivors suffered, including a range of cancers, Parkinson's disease, miscarriages, and, tragically, premature deaths following childbirth. We have been extensively involved in similar mass toxic tort cases on behalf of thousands of those exposed to contaminated water supplies on and around military bases, including in Southeastern Pennsylvania (the former Willow Grove/Horsham and Warminster Naval bases), and we are honored to serve these individuals and their loved ones who lived, worked, and were stationed at Camp Lejeune."

Mr. Cohan noted that he and his team – including senior associates Josh Cohan and Alison Russell - have been preparing the first group of individual cases over the past several months in anticipation of passage of the new law that will allow claims to be filed in the U.S. District Court in North Carolina.

There is no dispute that the sprawling base's water supply was severely contaminated. Tests performed at Camp Lejeune revealed that the base's water sources were highly contaminated from at least 1953 through 1987; they revealed that the water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other carcinogenic chemicals. In addition to VOCs, Camp Lejeune's water supply was found to be contaminated with benzene and vinyl chloride. The contamination levels were so high that in 1989, the EPA designated Camp Lejeune a Superfund site and added it to the National Priorities List of known releases of hazardous substances.

SMB has represented in state and federal courts countless victims of contaminated water and other toxic chemical exposures; the firm also diligently advocates for safe, healthy clean water sources and supplies. Mr. Cohan serves on the executive committee for the class action lawsuit for medical monitoring on behalf of residents affected by PFAS contamination in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and also serves on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the Federal Court AFFF/PFAS Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in South Carolina, a litigation that includes thousands of lawsuits filed against the 3M Company, Dupont, and other manufacturers seeking damages for the widespread harm caused by the use of PFAS in firefighting foam (AFFF).

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