The American Legion and Bergmann & Moore have entered into a memorandum of understanding which the legal firm that provides veterans benefits consultation for accredited Legion service officers can help potential plaintiffs understand the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA).
The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 – better known as the PACT Act, signed into law Aug. 10, 2022 – opens the door for certain individuals to file lawsuits and collect damages from the federal government due to their exposure to contaminated water on the Marine Corps base. Qualified claimants had to have served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune, N.C., between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.
“Our goal is to make sure veterans and their family members do not settle for less than they deserve and that they have accurate information about the effect a settlement under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act could have on their VA disability benefits (and any other federal benefits),” a dedicated website for American Legion members states.
Bergmann & Moore, founded in 2004 by former VA employees, has been providing American Legion service officer training and legal consultation since 2017.
The dedicated website – www.camplejeunelitigationteam.com/al/ – provides a secure online form for Legionnaires and their family members to explain their circumstances. The firm also has a 24-hour phone number – 800-898-9450 – for those who do not wish to use the web platform.
Bergmann & Moore, according to the MOU, “will work in concert with a mass tort law firm as co-counsel to advocate on the claimant’s behalf” once eligibility under the CLJA is determined.
The stated purpose of the MOU has four prongs:
- Create, implement and execute a service project for veterans interested in participating in the PACT Act/CLJA litigation
- Protect Legion members and their families through comprehensive education, advocacy and assistance in determining whether a claim under the CLJA would be beneficial to them when compared with filing for and receiving benefits from programs administered by VA
- Ensure Legion members receive the maximum benefits allowed under the law while protecting against predatory and/or unscrupulous actors
- Prevent Legion members from accepting/receiving a one-time benefit under the CLJA to the detriment of greater, future VA program eligibility and entitlement
Multiple forms of cancer are among no fewer than 15 health conditions or medical events that may have been caused by contamination. Claimants may be veterans, their families, civilian contractors or estates of those who were harmed.
Veterans, family members and others potentially affected by contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are encouraged to consult American Legion accredited service officers about the lawsuit and or any other matters related to the PACT Act, which extends historic VA disability benefits relief for millions of veterans exposed to toxic contamination, from atomic cleanup sites to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.