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Camp Lejeune attorney fees capped at 25%, US Justice Dept says

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy say lawyers representing those injured by the contaminated water that flows from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune are not allowed to be paid greater than 25 percent of a client's recovery as fees.


Sept 25 (The Justice Now) — The DOJ and the Navy included the fee caps on Friday to a document for people who want to take advantage of the government’s new option to settle Camp Lejeune claims without going to court. It provides a predetermined amount of cash as compensation for a group of ailments. Attorney fees for clients who opt to elect the option to decide to settle claims with the federal government will be set at 20%, whereas those who represent clients in litigation will be able to collect 25 percent.

The government, when it included the cap in its guideline included in the guidance, in introducing the cap, citing the guidance of the Federal Tort Claims Act, which sets the limit on the fees that are incurred in lawsuits against the federal government for negligent or unlawful acts committed by federal employees. Legislation to set a limit on Camp Lejeune attorney’s fees was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the U.S. Senate, but the legislation has not been adopted.

Lawyers representing plaintiffs usually are paid a contingency fee, which means they get paid from a settlement or judgement upon the close of the trial. The fees typically range from between one-third and 40%, in accordance with the American Bar Association.

Edward Bell III of Bell Legal Group, who is lead counsel for plaintiffs in the lawsuit concerning the water issue that is pending in the Eastern District of North Carolina Bell, said that the caps could affect veterans’ ability to obtain solid representation in court.

“I believe that the federal government shouldn’t intervene unnecessarily in private industry, whether that’s doctors, lawyers or in between,” Bell said in an official statement.

A DOJ spokesperson would not provide a specific answer to the manner in which the department would implement its policies.

More than 1100 federal lawsuits and over a thousand administrative lawsuits have been filed relating to the contamination of the water at the Jacksonville, North Carolina base, which was infected with dangerous chemicals that resulted in causing cancer and other health issues, according to court records. The lawsuit or claim has not yet been resolved regarding the water, according to Navy as well as Department of Justice spokespeople.

The President, Joe Biden, signed the Honouring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act in August 2022. It was the first time that there was a process to address Camp Lejeune’s claims. In the meantime, the Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that the chemicals found in the waters that were polluted from 1953 to 1987 could have impacted up to one million people.

If you or a loved one served at Camp Lejeune and have been diagnosed with a serious illness, you may be entitled to compensation from the government. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and options.

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