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Poisoned troops encouraged to submit legal claim against US military

Australian troops who spent time at a US military base for over 30 years are being encouraged to submit legal claims to an Australian plaintiff law firm.

user iconLauren Croft 19 June 2023 Big Law
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A class action could be on the horizon, as Shine Lawyers is now actively accepting and submitting claims in relation to cancer-causing contaminated wells at US Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Former military lawyer Dan Mori is currently in Australia raising awareness of the site — where the water was allegedly contaminated for more than 30 years, meaning that Australian troops who spent time there between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to the toxins.

In 1982, the presence of toxic chemicals was discovered in two of the eight wells, which supplied drinking water to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune community, including residential housing, childcare facilities, schools and hospitals as well as troops.

 
 

In August 2022, the US government passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which established a process and encouraged those harmed by exposure to the contaminated water and suffered serious illnesses to seek justice.

The US government has not capped compensation for potential claims — and while they haven’t processed any claims as of yet, 60,000 claims have been filed so far.

Mr Mori, who is world-renowned for challenging the US military commission system, is currently consulting with Shine Lawyers on the claims.

“Any service member, Australian or other, who was exposed to this poisonous water for 30 or more days between 1 August 1953 and 31 December 1987, and suffered a serious health condition, including some cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory illnesses, should apply,” he said.

“Close to 1 million service members were exposed to contaminated water over three decades. Nearly 60,000 claims have already been filed with the US military.

“The bill was proposed to allow those who were affected by the water contamination to seek justice for their injuries, including partners and children who were also exposed to the contaminants. The clock is ticking as claims must be submitted by August 2024.”

Mr Mori estimated that hundreds of former Australian troops could be eligible to make a claim and just need documentation that demonstrates that they were based at Camp Lejeune for 30 or more days as well as health records citing the illnesses suffered.

“Shine Lawyers intends to support all claims to completion, which may include litigation if they are rejected at first pass,” he added.

We are certainly encouraging any dependants to submit. No service member or their family deserved to be poisoned by this contaminated well. The cost of contamination was far too high for these soldiers who put their lives on the line for our safety.”

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