Camp Lejeune – Part 7 – How to find the highest payout plaintiffs & potential settlement amounts
The Mass Tort Report on Camp Lejeune from LegalCalls.com by Attorney Jeff Keiser
To answer the questions readers of the Mass Tort Report are asking, we have assembled this 7 part “Deep Dive” series into the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Litigation.
This is Section 7 How to find the highest payout plaintiffs & potential settlement amounts
The Biggest Question
The question we all want to know is where the big settlement plaintiffs are, and the answers are relatively standard for this kind of case.
Due to the nature of military service, plaintiffs may be found nationwide, and potentially, even globally.
There are three primary factors to look for when it comes to making the best claim, and I would recommend looking at all three of them in conjunction with each other.
Factor 1: Exposure
First, exposure is key.
Many people will have been stationed at Camp Lejeune for years or even decades.
These plaintiffs will show a stronger element of exposure than those that only spent the 13 weeks of their military training at Camp Lejeune.
That is not to say that those plaintiffs are invalid, but the more exposure, the better.
13 weeks of boot camp clearly satisfies the statute, and I wouldn’t reject a claim on that basis alone.
However, I would try to avoid plaintiffs that have non-consecutive time on the base of 30 days over several years.
Factor 2: Diagnosis
The diagnosis is the second metric worth considering.
The VA has issued a list of eight conditions that are presumed to be causally connected to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune:
- Adult leukemia
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Aplastic anemia or other myelodysplastic syndromes
Outside of that list of presumed conditions, others can be claimed with an additional showing of proof, including:
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Lung cancer
- Renal toxicity
- Miscarriages, and others
An analysis of the conditions on this list show that they are serious and potentially terminal in nature.
But liver cancer is much more serious than hepatic steatosis (a.k.a. fatty liver disease), and as such, the payouts will be higher for the former and lower for the latter.
I would not reject a potential plaintiff just because they had a less serious condition, but combined with other factors, I would highly value claims with more serious diagnoses.
Factor 3: Age of Claimant at Onset of Condition
Finally, the age of the claimant at the onset of the condition should be a factor in this analysis.
If a plaintiff is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer at the age of 40, the case will hold much more value than a plaintiff diagnosed with the same cancer at age 80.
That’s not to say that diagnoses at an older age don’t hold substantial value, but this is one other aspect to be considered when analyzing an intake form.
Damages related to an in-utero diagnosis that reduces a person’s chance at happiness or income can be calculated to be much higher than someone that was only diagnosed on their deathbed.
This all relates to the ‘sum certain’ requirement in the claim filing process, and again, making a larger claim will always be better than a smaller one because the amount claimed will be the maximum award in subsequent litigation.
There are other factors to consider, but because this case is still in its infancy, I think these three metrics should be seriously and collectively considered.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President