Critical Deposition Allowed by Camp Lejeune Judge

The Court denied Defendant’s motion to prevent the deposition of Dr. Christopher Portier and will allow the former director of the Agency for Toxic Disease and Registry (ATSDR) to testify on Camp Lejeune. Generally, the Government claimed the burden of taking Dr. Portier’s deposition was greater than the impact of his testimony. The Government’s Motion included many arguments attempting to diminish the importance of the directors’ statements, but these arguments were objectionable at best. Thankfully, United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. denied the Defendant’s motion and issued this Order.

In the 2000s, ATSDR began publishing historical reconstruction results for contaminants delivered in water on base (“ATSDR Model”). The ATSDR Model is cited multiple times in Plaintiffs’ Master Complaint. In 2009, the National Academy of Science’s National Research Council released its own report on Camp Lejeune water contamination in response to a request from the U.S. Navy. The NRC Report directly questioned the ATSDR Model.

In support of his Order, Judge Jones referenced a letter the Director wrote in 2010. The Order states, this letter outlined the ATSDR’s criticisms of the NRC Report. One quote attributed the Director with stating, “let me be perfectly clear; there was undoubtedly a hazard associated with drinking the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.”

Though the Defendant cited many reasons for blocking Dr. Portier from testifying, Judge Jones determined Dr. Portier’s testimony is relevant.

This win for the Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs removes yet another roadblock to the lawsuit.