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In re Camp Lejeune North Carolina Water Contamination Litigation

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20189
Nos. 1:11-MD-2218, (N.D. Ga., 12/05/2016) (Thrash, J.)

A district court dismissed a multidistrict Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by service members and their families. The plaintiffs alleged that the government failed to monitor and warn them about the presence of toxic substances in the water supply while they were stationed at a military base in North Carolina. But their claims based on North Carolina law are barred by the 10-year statute of repose. The earliest claim was made in 1999, after the 10-year period of repose had expired. And any failure-to-warn claims—including those that were allegedly "renewed" following the release of an Agency of Toxic Substances Disease Registry report—do not toll or restart the statute of repose. In addition, plaintiffs' negligence and failure-to-warn claims are also barred by the FTCA's discretionary function exception. There were a myriad of discretionary decisions that had to be made about how to provide clean water at the base, and the decisions involved are the type the discretionary function doctrine was designed to protect.