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Justice for Our Veterans! President Biden Signs Camp Lejeune Act

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

Today, President Biden signed the Honoring Our PACT Act which includes the highly anticipated Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. Before reaching the President’s desk, the US Senate voted 86-11 to approve the wide-ranging legislation that will provide long overdue justice to military veterans and their families.

In an August 2, 2022 White House press release, the President wrote, “The bipartisanSergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022­ is the biggest expansion of benefits for service-connected health issues in 30 years and the largest single bill ever to comprehensively address exposure to burn pits.

I called for this legislation in my State of the Union address, as part of my Unity Agenda to help bring together our nation. Congress has delivered a decisive and bipartisan win for America’s veterans.”

Specifically, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act addresses the water contamination at Camp Lejeune where many military veterans served and were exposed to life-threatening toxins in the water.

Among its provisions, the bill will help veterans exposed to toxic burn pits used in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, used to incinerate environmental hazards and other refuse. The bill will remove the burden of proof from veterans seeking care for conditions related to burn pit exposure.

It will expand treatment eligibility and disability benefits for an estimated 3.5 million veterans, many of whom were exposed to toxins around the world while serving their country. The bill adds 23 additional diseases as presumed to be linked to military service, providing much quicker approval for benefits.

The PACT Act also will allow military veterans harmed by contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to file water contamination lawsuits against the federal government.

Under the law, the U.S. government will be precluded from asserting immunity at Camp Lejeune that otherwise would be available in response to litigation.

It also overrides the long-standing state law in North Carolina that prohibits the filing of claims after 10 years. Camp Lejeune water contamination has been identified as an issue for those on base from 1953 to 1987.

An estimated 900,000 people were potentially exposed to unsafe drinking water, which was contaminated by toxins such as trichloroethylene and benzene. They included active-duty military personnel and families, National Guardsmen, Army Reservists and civilians living nearby.

Our law firm is presently accepting cases from military veterans and their families who were exposed to these dangerous contaminants either from the burn pits or at Camp Lejeune. We are proud to support our brave and patriotic veterans!

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