The U.S. Supreme Court did not have good news in its Monday decision for victims of toxic water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
The justices ruled 7-2 against homeowners in North Carolina, saying they cannot sue a company for contaminating their drinking water because the state’s deadline for bringing the suit had passed. That means those homeowners cannot recover damages for being exposed to toxic waste, according to The Associated Press.
The law at issue it North Carolina’s “statute of repose,” which will not allow a plaintiff to seek damages more than 10 years after the last act of contamination occurred. Justices ruled that state law bars any lawsuit — even if those affected by the toxic water were unaware of their condition or situation until many years later.
What does this mean for Marines and their families who lived at Camp Lejeune during the 30-year period their drinking and bathing water was contaminated?
It means the more than 1 million affected at Camp Lejeune will be unlikely able to recover damages against the company or the government for the hundreds of toxic wells and seepage on the base that the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes as responsible for these diseases and conditions:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
Congress passed a law in 2012 providing for health care benefits for Marines and their families, but no provision was made for compensation or disability benefits.
Camp Lejeune victims have a case pending before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.