Camp Lejeune Lawsuits: Judges Deny Jury Trial, Settlements Delayed

North Carolina judges deny motion for immediate appellate review, ruling out jury trials for Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. Settlement program faces criticism, with only $9 million reached for 36 cases, and 227,309 administrative claims pending.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Camp Lejeune Lawsuits: Judges Deny Jury Trial, Settlements Delayed

Camp Lejeune Lawsuits: Judges Deny Jury Trial, Settlements Delayed

In a significant development for the ongoing Camp Lejeune water, lawsuit, North Carolina judges have denied a motion seeking immediate appellate review of a previous ruling that struck down the plaintiffs' demand for a jury trial. This decision means that settlement amounts for victims will be calculated assuming there is no right to a jury trial, a situation described as "hardly seeming fair" by legal experts.

Why this matters: The denial of a jury trial and delays in the settlement program have significant implications for the thousands of victims seeking justice and compensation, and raises concerns about the government's accountability in addressing environmental hazards. The outcome of this case may set a precedent for future environmental contamination cases, potentially affecting the lives of many more individuals and communities.

The government's Elective Option program for settlement has also faced criticism, with only $9 million in settlements reached for 36 cases so far. Delays in the program are attributed to the government's inability to efficiently access and verify records. As one attorney stated, "The settlement program is not only inadequate in terms of the amount offered, it has made little progress in extending offers to the many thousands of claimants eligible for settlement."

The scale of the litigation continues to grow, with the number of administrative claims jumping to 227,309 and 1,764 lawsuits filed as of May 13, 2024. The government claims that a recent dispute over access to muster rolls, which contain important data for verifying claims, is a misunderstanding and that all relevant databases have been provided to the plaintiffs.

The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue dates back several decades, with many military personnel and their families exposed to toxic chemicals in the water supply at the North Carolina base. The denial of a jury trial and delays in the settlement program have added to the frustrations of victims seeking justice and compensation. As the lawsuits move forward, the ultimate resolution and impact on those affected remains to be seen.

Key Takeaways

  • NC judges deny motion for jury trial in Camp Lejeune water lawsuit.
  • Settlement amounts to be calculated without jury trial, deemed "unfair" by experts.
  • Government's settlement program criticized for slow progress and low offers.
  • 227,309 administrative claims and 1,764 lawsuits filed as of May 13, 2024.
  • Case outcome may set precedent for future environmental contamination cases.