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Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Camp LeJeune Toxic Water Lawsuit Again

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A lawsuit that could impact the legal rights of people who lived and worked at the Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base between the 1950s and 1980s is being allowed to go forward. Last week, a federal judge for the second time rejected the US government’s request that a lawsuit filed by an Iowa woman that alleges she developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because of toxin-laced water at Camp LeJeune.

Laura Jones, who hails from Iowa, lived at Camp LeJeune in the 1980s when her husband was stationed there. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003. Jones attests in her suit that she only learned in 2005 about the toxic chemicals and organic solvents that were in the water she drank on base could have caused her cancer.

The government had sought to dismiss her lawsuit on the grounds that her 2009 complaint was outside North Carolina’s 10-year statute of repose for injury claims, but Eastern District Court Judge Terrence Boyle rejected that argument.

“The Court cannot fathom a law that would require hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs to bring their claims before they even had opportunity to know they were harmed,” Judge Boyle wrote.

In his first decision issued in February refusing the government’s request that Jones’ lawsuit be dismissed, the judge indicated the government had not followed its own rules regarding Camp LeJeune drinking water.

For years, Marines who served at Camp LeJeune have blamed their families’ cancers and other ailments on tap water tainted by dry cleaning solvents, and many accuse the military of covering it up. The contamination occurred from the 1950s through the 1980s, and health officials believe as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to the toxins before the wells that supplied the tainted water were closed two decades ago.

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