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Cherry Point Water Contamination Lawsuit

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Jonathan Rosenfeld

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The Cherry Point water contamination lawsuits seek to ensure that anyone exposed to harmful chemicals through the Cherry Point Marine Corp water supply gets justice and compensation. 

These lawsuits focus on the financial strain and emotional suffering that service members, their families, and civilian employees have gone through due to contaminated water.

It’s important to work with an experienced legal team to successfully navigate the complexities of these cases. Read on to find out how Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you.

Cherry Point Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates

The Cherry Point water contamination lawsuits against federal agencies represent an ongoing legal effort to address and solve the exposure to dangerous substances by veterans, service members, and their families at Cherry Point. The following outlines some noteworthy points throughout this process:

  • March 2024: Veterans and other people stationed at Cherry Point who have developed adverse health conditions after contact with the water may have a legal opportunity to file a claim. It is essential for anyone who falls under this category to consult a knowledgeable water contamination attorney as soon as possible.
  • August 2021: North Carolina began legal action against Cherry Point over metallic hazardous air pollution and other environmental impacts. [1] This case drew attention to the underlying environmental issues surrounding the base that affect the lives of local residents.
  • October 2020: The Department of the Navy finished testing that showed significant levels of PFAS in the groundwater at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. [2] This growing concern has led to new investigations and suits.
  • May 2016: The Environmental Protection Agency issued new policies on the levels of PFAS in public drinking water. They recommended that the combined concentration of identified PFAS compounds, PFOS and PFOA, should not surpass 70 parts per trillion, influencing future regulations and lawsuits. [3]
  • 2005: The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Navy, and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources signed a Federal Facilities Agreement in 2005 for the site because of groundwater contaminated by chemicals. 

The Federal Facilities Agreement works to ensure that the parties will conduct full investigations of the environmental impacts resulting from installation operations, past and present. It will also see to it that the involved parties will perform the appropriate clean-up, which often includes a ground treatment system and groundwater monitoring. [4] 

Who Can File a Cherry Point Lawsuit?

If you’re facing health issues as a result of contaminated water at Cherry Point, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. Here’s an overview of eligibility: 

  • Former and current Cherry Point residents: Those who have lived on base during periods when water toxicity levels were heightened could qualify for compensation.
  • Civilian employees: Nonmilitary workers employed at the installation might also have been exposed and could be able to file a lawsuit.
  • Service members and their families: Active military personnel stationed at Cherry Point, and their family members who lived there with them, can explore legal action if they have demonstrable adverse health impacts related to groundwater contaminated by chemicals. 

The best way to understand whether you have a lawsuit based on your time at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point is to contact an experienced attorney.

Toxic Chemicals in Cherry Point Drinking Water

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, better known as Cherry Point, is a US Marine Corps installation that was officially established in 1942. Situated close to the Neuse River in Havelock, North Carolina, this expansive air station encompasses nearly 29,000 acres and is home to several military units.

Construction of Cherry Point began after America entered World War II, right before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The base was then quickly finished after the attack, as the need for it became urgent at that time. 

Water contamination at Cherry Point is extensive, with the base suffering from pollution due to petroleum, PFAS, and VOCs, in the groundwater, particularly at Site 90. Additionally, a tar-like substance beneath Burn Pit E and widespread soil contamination across various sites further underscore the environmental issues resulting from the installation.

In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency added Cherry Point to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List, which identified the base as an area essential for cleanup because of the substantial groundwater, surface water, and soil contamination caused by its activities.

In recent years, several significant contaminants have been identified in drinking water sources at more locations in Cherry Point. Understanding these contaminants and their health impacts is critical for anyone who may have been affected. 

Cherry Point has seen significant levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are famously difficult to break down—hence their nickname, ‘forever chemicals.’ Even in low concentrations, these have been linked with numerous health issues, such as various types of cancer. If you’ve been affected, you may be eligible to file a PFAS exposure lawsuit.

Past disposal site practices at Cherry Point’s Site 16 led to the discovery of petroleum contamination in the groundwater there. [5] Toxic exposure from the disposal site can lead to serious impacts on human health, ranging from minor symptoms like throat irritation to severe breathing difficulties that compromise the quality of life for affected residents or workers. 

Groundwater contamination with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been identified at Site 90 of Cherry Point, featuring prevalent compounds such as trichloroethene (TCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and dichloroethane variants. [5] 

Exposure to these chemicals can lead to an array of adverse health effects, ranging from dizziness and headaches in mild cases to liver damage or an increased risk for certain forms of cancer if exposure persists over time.

Other dangerous chemicals that can have detrimental health effects have been located at this base as well, including pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and inorganic constituents. [5]  At some point, the Navy installed an air sparging system intended to help treat the soil, but many people suffered long before that. 

If you’ve been based at Cherry Point or worked there for some time and now face health problems, help is available. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers—just as many others have done in lawsuits related to similar issues like those filed over contamination incidents at Camp Lejeune

If you’ve been based at Cherry Point or worked there for some time and now face health problems, help is available. Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers—just as many others have done in lawsuits related to similar issues like those filed over contamination incidents at Camp Lejeune

Adverse Health Effects of Contaminated Drinking Water

Drinking water contamination, as seen at Cherry Point, can lead to a host of health problems. Short-term symptoms attributable to exposure may include headaches, stomach pain or discomfort, and dizziness.

Long-term health issues could include thyroid disorders that disrupt hormones and metabolism and weaken the immune system. Low birth weight and potential developmental issues in infants or young children, along with general liver disease, are further areas of concern when it comes to polluted water sources.

One of the most troubling concerns is the increased risk of various types of cancers, including:

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Male Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Liver Cancer

How to File a Cherry Point Water Contamination Lawsuit

If you’ve been impacted by water contamination at Cherry Point, there are certain important steps to follow to file your claim. Here’s what you should do:

  • Determine your eligibility: Establish a direct link and clarify how time spent on base led directly to exposure and subsequent health problems.
  • Medical documentation: Compile your full medical history, including your diagnoses related to drinking water contamination at Cherry Point. You can cite health issues such as kidney cancer or bladder cancer.
  • Legal representation: Hire a reputable personal injury law firm specializing in claims related to military installations and environmental pollutants.

Evidence Needed to Support Your Claim

To file a Cherry Point water contamination lawsuit against those responsible for the issues at Cherry Point, you need to gather a lot of evidence to prove that you were exposed to the contaminated water and it resulted in specific problems. Examples of what you need include:

  • Medical records: Medical records are needed to demonstrate the diagnosis, any medication and treatment administered, and hospital visits, for example. This will show that your condition is linked to toxic exposure to contaminated groundwater. 
  • Proof of residence or service at Cherry Point: You’ll need documents or records proving that you lived or served at Cherry Point during that period. They may include housing records, military orders, or any other relevant forms or documents.
  • Water quality reports: Water quality reports show the specific contaminants found in Cherry Point’s water during your time of exposure. Your lawyer can help you obtain these documents. 
  • Expert testimonies: Statements from medical professionals or environmental experts noting that your health conditions have resulted from exposure can help your case. They can explain your medical records in a way that a layperson will understand.
  • Historical water contamination records: Reports, press releases, studies, or any other articles regarding Cherry Point’s water contamination should be gathered.
  • Personal documentation: Journals, emails, or any personal records that note health changes during or after your time at Cherry Point, as well as any complaints or reports you may have made about the water quality, can be helpful.
  • Witness Statements: Testimony from fellow service members, residents, or workers at Cherry Point who can corroborate your claims of exposure and its impact on health could be useful. These personal accounts can support the widespread nature of the issue.

Collecting this comprehensive evidence is a significant first step in building a strong legal case for compensation due to health issues stemming from toxic exposure at Cherry Point. 

You Have Limited Time to File a Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station Lawsuit

When contemplating filing a Cherry Point water contamination lawsuit, it’s important to remember that timing is vital. Every state has its own statutes of limitations, or legal deadlines, within which you must take action. The deadline is usually within two or three years, depending on the specifics of your case and where you are filing your lawsuit.

Military base water contamination lawsuits, like Cherry Point’s, may allow for some exceptions due to ongoing developments, but these will typically still require prompt attention once affected parties become aware they are eligible to file a claim.  

Cherry Point Lawsuit Settlement Evaluation

The specifics of settlements in lawsuits, including those related to water contamination cases at military bases like Cherry Point, depend on multiple factors. 

Publicly reported settlements can help give us an idea of what a case could be worth, but often, this information remains confidential. All cases are unique, so there’s not really an average amount for settlements. However, depending on the damage, the number can vary from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.

In evaluating a Cherry Point water contamination lawsuit settlement, the compensation should cover various types of damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: Compensation for past, current, and future medical treatment necessitated by the health consequences of water pollution.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity: Payment for lost earnings and reduced future earning potential due to illness.
  • Pain and suffering: You can be compensated for bodily pain, mental suffering, and decreased quality of life.
  • Punitive damages: If the responsible party’s negligence was especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish them and discourage them and others from engaging in such acts in the future.

 Other factors that could affect your settlement include:

  • Extent of exposure: Depending on how long and how heavily you were exposed to affected water, the value of your case will vary. 
  • Severity of illness: The type and seriousness of any illness or injuries that resulted from using contaminated water will play a significant role in determining your compensation.
  • Evidence: The credibility of the evidence showing that the contaminants in the water caused health problems is essential. The stronger the evidence of exposure, diagnosis, and expert testimony, the more likely you are to get what you’re owed.
  • Legal representation: Your legal team’s expertise and experience can greatly affect your ability to secure a favorable settlement.
  • Statute of limitations: Not submitting your claim within the required legal time frame could prevent you from recovering any compensation at all.

Contact a Cherry Point Water Contamination Lawyer Today!

If you need help with filing a military base water contamination lawsuit, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is here for you. We understand how challenging this situation is for you and your loved ones, and hiring us is about more than just hiring a legal team—you’ll also get a supportive ally who will be with you every step of the way.

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay us unless we obtain compensation on your behalf. This is just another small way we show our dedication to you. 

Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation. Reach out online or call us at (888) 424-5757.

Resources: [1] Sun Journal, [2] Department of Defense, [3] EPA, [4] EPA, [5] EPA

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