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H.R. 6482: Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022


The text of the bill below is as of Jan 25, 2022 (Introduced).


I

117th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6482

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 25, 2022

(for himself, Mr. Price of North Carolina, and Mr. Murphy of North Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To establish a cause of action for those harmed by exposure to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

2.

Federal cause of action relating to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

(a)

In general

An individual, including a veteran (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code), or the legal representative of such an individual, who resided, worked, or was otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) for not less than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, to water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, that was supplied by, or on behalf of, the United States may bring an action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to obtain appropriate relief for harm that was caused by exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.

(b)

Burdens and standard of proof

(1)

In general

The burden of proof shall be on the party filing the action to show one or more relationships between the water at Camp Lejeune and the harm.

(2)

Standards

To meet the burden of proof described in paragraph (1), a party shall produce evidence showing that the relationship between exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune and the harm is—

(A)

sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship exists; or

(B)

sufficient to conclude that a causal relationship is at least as likely as not.

(c)

Exclusive jurisdiction and venue

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any action filed under subsection (a), and shall be the exclusive venue for such an action. Nothing in this subsection shall impair the right of any party to a trial by jury.

(d)

Exclusive remedy

(1)

In general

An individual, or legal representative of an individual, who brings an action under this section for a harm described in subsection (a), including a latent disease, may not thereafter bring a tort action against the United States for such harm pursuant to any other law.

(2)

Health and disability benefits relating to water exposure

Any award made to an individual, or legal representative of an individual, under this section shall be offset by the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit provided to the individual, or legal representative—

(A)

under—

(i)

any program under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;

(ii)

the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.); or

(iii)

the Medicaid program under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); and

(B)

in connection with health care or a disability relating to exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune.

(e)

Immunity limitation

The United States may not assert any claim to immunity in an action under this section that would otherwise be available under section 2680(a) of title 28, United States Code.

(f)

No punitive damages

Punitive damages may not be awarded in any action under this section.

(g)

Disposition by Federal agency required

An individual may not bring an action under this section before complying with section 2675 of title 28, United States Code.

(h)

Exception for combatant activities

This section does not apply to any claim or action arising out of the combatant activities of the Armed Forces.

(i)

Applicability; period for filing

(1)

Applicability

This section shall apply only to a claim arising before the date of enactment of this Act.

(2)

Statute of limitations

A claim in an action under this section may not be commenced after the later of—

(A)

the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act; or

(B)

the date that is 180 days after the date on which the claim is denied under section 2675 of title 28, United States Code.

(3)

Inapplicability of other limitations

Any applicable statute of repose or statute of limitations, other than under paragraph (2), shall not apply to a claim under this section.