CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Napoli Shkolnik, eLaw Firm PLLC, and Greg Jones Law, P.A. filed notices of claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 on behalf of Lori L. Freshwater, her late mother Mary W. Freshwater (Thorpe), and her late baby brother, Alexander Russell (“Rusty”) Thorpe, seeking compensation for injuries, damages, and losses they suffered as a result of exposure to toxic substances while living at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. On Tuesday, August 2, 2022, Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which President Biden signed into law today. The Act provides an avenue to obtain compensation from the federal government for the effects of the toxic chemicals that contaminated the water consumed by military families at Camp Lejeune for decades.
From the 1950’s until at least 1987, the groundwater at the Camp Lejeune military base was contaminated with toxic chemicals at levels that are 240 to 3400 times higher than permitted by the applicable safety standards. It is estimated that approximately 1 million U.S. Marines and civilians were exposed to these contaminants. Military personnel stationed there, their family members, and other civilians living and/or working on the base were - unbeknownst to them - drinking and bathing in contaminated water. As a result, these heroes and their families are at an increased risk of developing certain cancers (including breast cancer, renal cancer, kidney cancer, and leukemia), experiencing serious fertility issues and birth injuries, and suffering from other devastating health problems.
“The groundwater contamination at the Camp Lejeune military base has caused a lifetime of inescapable grief for Lori Freshwater and her family, and for so many others,” said Elisa D’Amico. “The U.S. Department of Defense must be held responsible for this ultimate betrayal.”
The Freshwater family alleges that the toxic contamination at Camp Lejeune caused two baby boys (Rusty and Charlie) to develop fatal neural tube defects, as well as two miscarriages borne by Mary Freshwater, who ultimately died from complications of two types of acute leukemia. Though she survived, Lori Freshwater was not unscathed as she battles chronic illnesses every day. An investigative journalist, Lori Freshwater has spent more than a decade researching the brutal losses experienced not only by her family, but by many others, both military and civilian. For her, the passing of this legislation is both a long-awaited and incredibly bittersweet moment:
Today I am finally able to fulfill my mother’s fervent desire to have her day in court – not only to seek justice – but to ensure her immense suffering is not forgotten. In the documentary, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, as my mother held a small cardboard box filled with all she had left of my baby brother’s short life she said: We are not numbers in a study. We are human beings that have had great tragedies. In 2013, my mother lost her own life from Leukemia, and I was left with two cardboard boxes, the baby’s box and one containing her ashes. I am filing today for my little brother Rusty, my mom, and to try and change the behavior of polluters to make the world a safer place for the grandchildren my mother loved so very deeply.
Hunter Shkolnik remarked “this law makes the federal government honor its obligations to those who have protected our way of life, it has been a long time coming and we will do our best to make sure that every military member and their families receive justice now.”
The litigation is being led by Napoli Shkolnik attorneys Hunter Shkolnik, Paul J. Napoli, Patrick Lanciotti, and by Elisa D’Amico of eLaw Firm PLLC, along with Greg Jones of local law firm Greg Jones Law. The lawsuit will seek compensation on behalf of the Freshwater family for the wrongful deaths of Mary Freshwater and Rusty Thorpe, and for the pain and suffering of Lori Freshwater.
ABOUT NAPOLI SHKOLNIK:
Napoli Shkolnik is a national litigation firm providing representation to persons in class action lawsuits and complex commercial cases, as well as victims of environmental contamination disasters, aviation accidents, defective prescriptions drugs and medical devices, asbestos-related illnesses, and other serious personal injury matters.
ABOUT ELAW FIRM PLLC:
eLaw Firm PLLC is a boutique law firm focusing on victims’ rights litigation, including mass torts, social media harms, and internet-based harassment. Its founder, Elisa D’Amico, is well known for her cutting-edge work co-founding the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project, a global pro bono project aimed at empowering and helping survivors of online sexual abuse.
ABOUT GREG JONES LAW, P.A.:
Greg Jones Law is a North Carolina based law firm with offices in Wilmington and Jacksonville. For over 35 years, Greg Jones has handled a vast assortment of injury related matters from environmental contamination, commercial sexual assaults, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, defective medications, and medical devices as well as general personal injury matters.