Motions To Expedite Select Camp Lejeune Cases

The Plaintiff’s Leadership Group (PLG) has filed Motions To Expedite Trials for select Camp Lejeune cases, as the timeline for these Marines is running out. The PLG identified three individuals whose health conditions may soon prevent them from sharing their experiences that resulted from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. These Marines proudly served their country and each wishes to be granted one final act of bravery—to speak up against those responsible for this tragedy.

The Plaintiffs Selected

It is often the bond of serving that brings veterans together, but those who served at Camp Lejeune are united by the devastating health consequences they endure and the decades-long fight for relief. Veterans and their families demand—and deserve—to be heard, beginning with these three Camp Lejeune Plaintiffs who may soon lose their ability to participate in their court cases:

Stephen rushed to finish high school early to enlist in the Marines. He served at Camp Lejeune for years and then left to start a family and live what he describes as a ‘content life.’ He was enjoying a successful career and dreaming of traveling when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer before age 60. All of Stephen’s hopes and dreams for the future were shattered, leaving him with just one goal: to fight for the rights of fellow Marines suffering similar fates. If the Motion is denied, Stephen’s 3- to 6-month prognosis may not allow him the time he needs to have his story heard.

Edgar, a JAG officer on the base, continued practicing law after he served until shortly after his Parkinson’s diagnosis. His booming voice which once commanded attention in courtrooms has since been replaced by an electronic text-to-speech device. The progression of his disease has now made typing responses laborious, and sadly, many of these are unintelligible despite Edgar’s tireless efforts. If this Motion is not granted, Edgar may be muted or incapacitated before his Camp Lejeune court case even begins.

As an excited 17-year-old, Gary enlisted in the Marines and spent decades serving his country, which brought him to Camp Lejeune frequently. He didn’t know that his time on the base would lead to a Parkinson’s diagnosis resulting from exposure to contaminated water. Gary’s lack of balance, diminished senses, and difficulty swallowing and speaking worsen as the disease progresses. He now fears he may lose his ability to share his story if his Camp Lejeune court case isn’t called soon. Expediting this trial would allow Gary to speak for himself and for those who have already lost the opportunity.

Grounds for Trial Preferences

The PLG is requesting trial dates be set for Edgar, Stephen, and Gary to occur within 120 days of each respective Motion to ensure these veterans can participate. The PLG cited Local Rule 40.1(d), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 1 and 16, and 28 U.S.C. § 1657(a), which allow judges to expedite trial for selected cases if there is good cause. The deteriorating health of each of these veterans is more than enough cause. These medical conditions will soon prevent any of them from exercising their rights under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a statute created to protect veterans like Edgar, Stephen, and Gary from being once again overlooked by the Government.

Discovery Considerations for Expediting Cases

The Courts have historically deemed cases premature for a motion like this if the discovery phase has not begun, but for these Camp Lejeune cases, discovery is well underway. Edgar, Gary, and Stephen are all Track 1 bellwether Plaintiffs, due to see trial in 2024. Each has provided the required documentation and participated in exhausting depositions.

As far as lead counsel, Ed Bell, and co-lead counsel are concerned, the selected cases are ready to be heard following Rule 16 pretrial conferences. The PLG and the three Plaintiffs eagerly await approval of these Motions.