A new national survey released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform shows that 75 percent of voters, including strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, support limits on what plaintiffs’ attorneys can make from lawsuits over Camp Lejeune health-related lawsuits.
The Honoring Our PACT Act granted servicemembers, their family members, and others stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 the ability to sue the federal government over health issues caused by contaminated water. While the PACT Act provides the opportunity for much-deserved compensation, Congress didn’t include any caps on attorneys’ fees, even though it is common in federal law to include them so injured parties get most of any compensation and taxpayer money is used wisely.
The Protect Camp Lejeune Victims Ensnared by Trial Lawyers’ Scams (VETS) Act was introduced to limit how much attorneys can charge veterans and families who file a Camp Lejeune-related lawsuit. The legislation, introduced by Reps. Darrell Issa and Mike Bost, and Sens. Dan Sullivan, Chuck Grassley, and Mitch McConnell, would cap attorneys’ fees at 12 percent of a settlement or 17 percent of an award won at trial.
Without caps on attorneys’ fees, plaintiffs’ lawyers have a huge financial incentive to file as many claims as possible. According to recent reports, more than 900 lawsuits have already been filed in one federal district court in North Carolina, and more than 45,000 administrative claims have been filed in the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit in Norfolk, Virginia.
ILR’s survey shows that American voters across the political spectrum agree that there should be limits on how much money lawyers can make from any settlement or award given to the veterans they represent in these lawsuits.
Our veterans deserve better than to be taken advantage of by their lawyers. The VETS Act should be enacted to ensure the victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination get the compensation they deserve.View PDF