New Legislation Opens Door for Camp Lejeune Victims
Lawmakers move quickly to protect victims of toxic drinking water
In a welcome show of bipartisanship, the State House has worked to correct a state law that could have killed a lawsuit by former Marines and family members sickened by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Credit state Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, for initiating the action to protect those Marine families.
The court ruled last week that corporations and other entities in North Carolina responsible for pollution that sickens or kills people can’t be sued after 10 years has passed – even if the affected individuals only recently learned of the contamination. The justices cited a North Carolina law that entities are liable for harmful consequences for only 10 years after the “last culpable act of the defendant,” as a McClatchy news story phrased it. The federal statute starts a two-year clock only after the plaintiff first discovers that he or she has been harmed.