Veterans Organization Urges Limits on Attorney Fees for Camp Lejeune Water Cases Amid Political Dispute with a top veterans group has called on lawmakers to impose limits on attorney fees that veterans can pay when suing the government over water contamination at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The American Legion made this request during a hearing before the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees, and also identified it as one of their primary objectives.
Vincent Troiola, national commander of the American Legion, testified that veterans should not be taken advantage of by law firms that charge high fees for claims that the Legion and other organizations provide for free or those that fleece veterans out of Camp Lejeune Justice Act settlement damages through uncapped legal fees.
The law, which was passed last year as part of the PACT Act, permits former Marines, sailors, and families poisoned by contaminated drinking water at the military base to file administrative claims with the Navy. If the Navy denies the claim or does not respond within six months, the veterans and families can sue in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
More than 100 lawsuits have been filed in the past six months since the first wave of claims was filed. Republicans have introduced a bill that would limit attorney fees to 2% for filing a claim and 10% for contingency fees.
However, Democrats argue that these caps are too low and could leave only unscrupulous or unqualified lawyers willing to represent the veterans. On Tuesday, two Democratic Representatives introduced their version of a Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune attorney fees bill that would set a 20% cap on fees for awards received through administrative claims and a 33.3% cap on fees for winning lawsuits.
The American Legion officials stated that they are open to discussing the caps’ exact number and want to make sure veterans are not being taken advantage of.
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