Our attorneys represent individuals who wish to bring a Camp Lejeune lawsuit for soft tissue sarcoma caused by exposure to the marine base’s contaminated water supply. Those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune have an increased risk of developing many types of cancer, including soft tissue sarcoma.
The newly enacted Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) offers restitution to veterans, their families, and civilian workers injured by highly toxic drinking water at the facility. The Act overrides previous North Carolina law that barred lawsuits for Camp Lejeune water contamination. As a result, a long-overdue path to justice previously denied to these victims is now available.
If you are considering filing a CLJA claim or have questions about eligibility for claims based on soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis, we can help. Contact Marc Whitehead & Associates for a free consultation without delay. We’ll help you determine if you have a case for a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit and answer any questions you have about the legal process.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma at Camp Lejeune Caused by Contaminated Water
Soft tissue sarcomas, also known as soft tissue cancer, comprise a rare and complex group of cancers that begin in the soft tissues connecting and surrounding the body’s bones and organs. The cancerous tumors develop in:
- muscle tissue
- peripheral nerve tissue
- joint tissue
- blood and lymph vessels
- fibrous connective tissue
There are over 50 types of sarcomas that can be difficult to diagnose. Diagnostic testing is done primarily by biopsy and supported by imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET, X-ray, or ultrasound. Accurate diagnosis and staging are vital for all soft tissue cancers to promote proper treatment plans and the best prognosis.
Not all soft tissue tumors are cancerous. Sarcomas may begin as a mass or lump in most parts of the body, but usually appear in the arms, legs, chest, and space behind the abdomen. Without treatment, malignant soft tissue sarcomas may spread (metastasize) and affect other areas of your body.
Some cases of soft tissue sarcoma are genetically transferred from generation to generation. Other risk factors include radiation from prior treatment, and exposure to chemicals, including vinyl chloride, a carcinogen known to be present at Camp Lejeune’s water supply at dangerously high levels.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma and Toxic Exposure
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a group of chemicals found in many products like pesticides, herbicides, paints, paint thinners, and degreasers. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered highly elevated levels of the following VOCs in Camp Lejeune’s water supply:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) – a solvent used as a degreaser for metal parts
- Tetrachloroethylene, a.k.a. perchloroethylene (PCE or PERC) – used for dry cleaning and metal degreasing
- Benzene – a solvent used to make industrial chemicals and is a component in fuel
- Vinyl chloride – an industrial chemical used to produce polyvinyl (PVC) plastic
Notably, data has shown vinyl chloride exposure may lead to certain cancers, including soft tissue cancer.
- The EPA determined that
- Vinyl chloride is carcinogenic to humans by the inhalation and oral routes of exposure and highly likely to be carcinogenic by the dermal route of exposure;
- Inhaled vinyl chloride has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer (angiosarcoma of the liver) in humans. Angiosarcoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the lining of the blood vessels and lymph vessels.
- ATSDR’s public health statement for vinyl chloride states,
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen;
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that vinyl chloride is carcinogenic to people, and EPA has determined that vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen.
Can I File a Soft Tissue Sarcoma Lawsuit Against Camp Lejeune?
Yes. Eligible plaintiffs must comply with the U.S. Navy’s administrative claim process to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Thousands of CLJA lawsuits will be filed. Representation by skilled litigation attorneys is vital to a timely, successful claim and getting the best result possible.
Certain cancers and diseases are considered to be “presumptively service connected” to toxic exposure at the base. Therefore, Camp Lejeune lawsuits for presumptive conditions go forward without requiring the plaintiff to provide documentation or proof of a causal link between the toxic water exposure and the disease.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma Is Not Presumptively Service Connected
Soft tissue sarcoma is not designated as presumptively service connected under the CLJA. Soft tissue cancers are currently categorized as one of many “other adverse health effects” linked to the volatile organic compounds listed above (TCE, PCE, benzene, and vinyl chloride.)
Studies to date have not produced strong enough evidence to determine a presumptive condition for soft tissue cancers. However, at least one study from the ATSDR confirmed positive findings linking exposure to vinyl chloride to soft tissue cancer.
That does not mean you cannot recover; it only means you don’t get presumptive causation.
You may still file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit based on a diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma under the Act with a real prospect of obtaining compensation. You will need to prove to the court you have adequate causation evidence.
In theory, getting a swift and fair settlement should be straightforward if you were exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; proper legal guidance can be a tremendous advantage in your claim.
There Are Several Criteria You Must Meet to File a Lawsuit at Camp Lejeune
- You were present on the Camp Lejeune base between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. This includes in utero exposure.
- You had a minimum of 30 days of exposure at the base.
- You developed a disease or medical condition that is linked to exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.
Important: Filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit involves initiating your claim before the deadline. There is a window of time in which to file: All claims must be filed before August 10th, 2024.
How an Attorney Can Help
You may still qualify for a Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuit if you or a loved one are diagnosed with non-presumptive cancer, such as soft tissue sarcoma. We urge you to call us to learn how we can assist. The lawyer you hire to handle a Camp Lejeune lawsuit should have experience in toxic exposure tort claims and preferably be well-versed in the fight for restitution surrounding Camp Lejeune’s polluted water catastrophe.
Meeting the Burden of Proof
To recover compensation under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, you must present evidence that is either:
- Sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists; or
- Sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.
A causal relationship is established if the evidence is 50/50 on whether the toxins caused the injury.
Soft tissue sarcoma falls into a third category of conditions that are neither presumptively connected nor deemed by ATSDR to be at least as likely as not to have a causal relationship. These conditions may be connected to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune but (as yet) haven’t been designated as being presumed to be linked or as likely as not to be linked to the water supply.
Further medical evidence and records will need to support these claims. Our legal team has an in-depth understanding of the Camp Lejeune toxic water tragedy and the multiple cancers and illnesses associated with these cases. We can develop your case and accurately assess damages.
Fatalities have been tragic for families exposed to Camp Lejeune’s toxic water. If an eligible family member diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma or other cancer has passed away, you may qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. We can help you take appropriate legal action to obtain compensation for all damages and expenses related to your loved one’s wrongful death claim.
Request a Free Legal Consultation
Unraveling the puzzle of what health conditions are linked to Camp Lejeune water is confusing. We know you have questions, and we are ready to answer each one and help you fight for what you deserve.
If you are uncertain if you qualify, we invite you to contact us today. If you have suffered or lost a loved one to soft tissue sarcoma as result of toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune, it matters now more than ever that your case is filed in the most effective manner for the highest possible settlement outcome.