Bloomberg Law
May 17, 2023, 9:05 AM

Lawmakers Press Navy to Accelerate Camp Lejeune Poisoning Claims

Kaustuv Basu
Kaustuv Basu
Senior Enterprise Reporter

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding to know why the Navy has settled few if any cases of toxic-water poisoning at the Camp Lejeune Marine Base nine months after President Biden signed a bill setting up a process to resolve veterans’ health claims.

The ratcheting up of pressure follows a Bloomberg Law report that the Navy hadn’t resolved any of about 45,000 claims by the end of April and that an online portal to process them won’t be ready before the summer.

The government must move quickly to adjudicate these cases, Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) said in a letter being sent today to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Anything less is an injustice,” the letter said. “What are the Department of the Navy and the Department of Justice’s plan to process these claims in a timely manner?”

The Lejeune provision was part of a larger veterans’ bill that became law in August. It enables veterans and others who spent time at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, and were exposed to contaminated water there, to file an administrative claim for compensation with the Navy. If the claim is denied or not resolved within six months, they can file a lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Read the letter sent by lawmakers

About 900 lawsuits have been filed but thousands more are expected, potentially making Camp Lejeune cases one of the largest mass torts in history.

The delays have infuriated Camp Lejeune veterans and their families who’ve spent years trying to get compensated for diseases including Parkinson’s, leukemia, and cancers of the liver, kidney and bladder. Some veterans are dying before their claims are resolved, their attorneys say.

All administrative claims have to be filed by August 2024.

June Deadline

The lawmakers want answers by June 9 on the claims received by the Navy, the status of those claims, and the number and status of lawsuits filed in federal court. They also want to know how many individuals died with unresolved Camp Lejeune claims.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that 1 million people were potentially affected by water at Camp Lejeune, which had been poisoned by sources including a local dry cleaner. The government expects to spend as much as $21 billion on these claims.

Law firms and others have spent millions on advertising to attract Lejeune clients and lobby Congress to prevent a cap on contingency fees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kaustuv Basu in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at and John P. Martin at

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