The following is a draft for 'Children of Camp LeJeune Act of 2015'
114th CONGRESS 2nd Session H. R. ___________
To amend the Federal Tort Claims Act by adding four sections to address federal torts against U.S. citizens born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital from the years 1957 to 1987, when the hospital was contaminated. It shall also address all children exposed to the poisons on the base, whether born there or not. Further, to provide compensation and other remedies to those born at Camp LeJeune from 1957 to 1987. Finally, to provide for full medical coverage under the Veterans Administration for all U.S. citizens born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital from 1957 to 1987.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Children of Camp LeJeune Act of 2015''.
SEC. 2. CHILDREN OF CAMP LEJEUNE TO BE COMPENSATED FOR EXPOSURE TO CONTAMINATED TOXINS
(a) Compensation.—Title 28 of the U.S. Code is amended by adding new Sections 2700, 2701, 2702, and 2703: ``2700. Presumptions. Camp LeJeune is hereby considered a source of toxic water and ground contamination, and presumed extremely harmful to humans, for all people who entered that base from January 1, 1957 to December 31, 1987. For purposes of all federal tort claims, the causation between the contamination and any illness shall be presumed. It is not possible to know with absolute certainty in individual cases what illnesses were caused by the contamination. As a matter of law, therefore, Congress wishes to settle this matter and ensure that no person contaminated by the base is rejected when they seek the benefits that rightly belong to them. The statute of limitations for seeking relief because of Camp LeJeune contamination under the Federal Tort Claims Act shall be 65 years from the latest date a person was born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital. This date shall be December 31, 2052. ``2701. Contaminated Children of Camp LeJeune (a) Child of Camp LeJeune Defined. A “Child of Camp LeJeune” is hereby defined as any person who was born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987. Any child, whether born at the base hospital or elsewhere, who lived aboard Camp LeJeune base or visited it for any length of time between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987 shall be considered a “Child of Camp LeJeune.” Any child who was in utero while the mother either worked or lived at Camp LeJeune January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987 shall be considered a “Child of Camp LeJeune.” (b) Disability Status Presumption. For all purposes under law, either state or federal or international in nature, a Child of Camp LeJeune shall be considered to have a permanent and severe physical
disability and a permanent and severe mental disability and shall be entitled to any benefits pertaining to such status. This status shall not be questioned in any other place once the person provides the Certificate of Status. (c) Certificate of Status: Child of Camp LeJeune. Upon presentation with a birth certificate from the U.S. Navy or the State of North Carolina showing that the person was born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital, the Department of the Navy’s Office of the Judge Advocate General shall provide an official certificate as a “Certificate of Status: Child of Camp LeJeune” with the name and date of birth of the person and the official seal of the U.S. Navy. Any other “Child of Camp LeJeune” whose veteran parent makes an affidavit that the child was aboard Camp LeJeune for even one day between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987 shall be issued a Certificate of Status. This Certificate of Status shall be processed and provided to the Child of Camp LeJeune within 30 days of receiving the birth certificate, or other proof if not born at the hospital. There shall be no required form to apply, only presentation of the birth certificate or other proof and the request for a Certificate of Status: Child of Camp LeJeune. The Certificate may be delivered in electronic format (PDF) via email at the request of the Child of Camp LeJeune requesting it, and the veteran parent shall have the right to a copy of this Certificate of Status once issued to the Child of Camp LeJeune. (d) Registry. Upon request, the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy shall confirm to any person the number of such certificates that have been issued. Any person who owns such a certificate may request a complete list of the certificate holders in electronic format with their addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. (e) Federal Employment. A “Child of Camp LeJeune” shall have a veteran’s preference when applying for federal or state public employment at the maximum level allowed a disabled veteran. Office of Personnel Management shall, within 30 days of passage of this Act, provide an option for the Child of Camp LeJeune preference in its USAJobs.gov website. (f) Discrimination on the Basis of Child of Camp LeJeune Status. It shall be a crime subject to a fine of from $1,000 to $100,000 to discriminate against a Child of Camp LeJeune either because of this status or any of the disabilities that such person may have. Federal district courts shall have jurisdiction over such criminal actions. (g) Civil Action Available. A Child of Camp LeJeune shall have a civil action available in federal district court for a minimum of $5,000 up to a maximum of $500,000 for discrimination on the basis of this status or any of the disabilities that such person may have. Discrimination is prohibited in employment, public or private. Discrimination is prohibited in laws, policies, practices, procedures, rules, or any other services and functions of any branch of a state government, including executive, legislative, and judicial, as well as all administrative agencies and local governments of any kind. Discrimination or retaliation by any private entity, including corporations, partnerships, non-profits of any kind, or any person or foreign entity is prohibited. Any violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Act protecting disability rights shall also provide jurisdiction under this Section. The amount of damages is a matter of law, but the amount claimed by the Child of Camp LeJeune shall be considered conclusively correct unless the defendant proves that it is manifestly unreasonable at a level of proof “clearly erroneous.” Similarly, when a Child of Camp
LeJeune makes a claim, it shall be considered a strict liability matter, again, unless the defendant can demonstrate the lack of relationship to the Child of Camp LeJeune or that the claim is “clearly erroneous” as a matter of law. (h) Injunctive Relief. A Child of Camp LeJeune may also request injunctive relief in addition to the Civil damages in (g) in federal district court. (i) Attorney Fees. A Child of Camp LeJeune may make a motion for attorney fees from a defendant under (g) and (h) for any violation. Attorney fees shall be granted if a violation is shown, whether or not it was remediated at any point. A showing of violation with evidence in support in a hearing on attorney fees shall be sufficient for the court to make this grant. Attorney fees shall be in the amount of the number of hours of work times a reasonable amount per hour. The minimum attorney fee per hour shall be $200 per hour, but more may be requested if reasonable. (j) Costs. A Child of Camp LeJeune shall never be required to pay fees in order to file a federal suit to enforce any of these rights. No fees shall be taxed for any appeal to a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court. No fees shall be charged to a Child of Camp LeJeune for online court databases such as Pacer.gov. (k) Immunity from Frivolous Accusations and Sanctions. No Court, state or federal, may consider an action by such Child of Camp LeJeune to be frivolous in nature or punish such person with any sanction. This immunity to claims of frivolous or any Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11 sanctions claim shall extend to all civil actions taken by Children of Camp LeJeune, in law or in equity, whether pro se or as an attorney representing another person. (l) Limitation of Immunity. The immunity to claims of frivolous and sanctions shall only apply to disability-related claims, such as any claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, or any other claim, state or federal in nature, where disability is a topic invoked in any manner in the claim. ``2702. Medical Care. (a) VA Full Medical. Any Child of Camp LeJeune may present the Certificate of Status to the Veterans Administration and immediately receive full medical benefits for her or himself, her or his legal spouse, and dependent children and parents. (b) No Cost. A Child of Camp LeJeune shall never be charged for any medical care whatsoever, including hospital, medicines (including over the counter), or any other medical or disability-related care, including nursing home care. The same level of care with no charge shall also apply to the legal spouse and dependent children and parents of a Child of Camp LeJeune. ``2703. Compensation. (a) Acceptance of Responsibility. The United States fully admits that injury was done to every person who resided at, worked at, or visited Camp LeJeune for any length of time due to negligent exposure of many toxic substances into the environment at Base Camp LeJeune. Of special importance, however, is the contamination at the Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital. It is not excusable that the children of U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy personnel and others were exposed to toxins on the very first days of their lives. The United States of America recognizes the injury and hereby provides compensation. Further, any child who at any time in their life was aboard Camp LeJeune, in utero or otherwise, was injured by the toxins in the environment. So finds the Congress and this finding shall not be questioned in any other place. Congress
apologizes for the injury to all Children of Camp LeJeune, for the delay in taking responsibility, and hereby provides compensation for it. This took place under seven Commanders in Chief. Neither presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, nor Reagan addressed environmental issues on the base. President Nixon had special responsibility, because his support for creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 showed his understanding of these issues. The contamination continued for 17 years after this. (b) Amount of Immediate Compensation. The United States will pay $150,000 when a Child of Camp LeJeune obtains the Certificate of Status. A check in this amount drawn on the U.S. Treasury shall accompany the Certificate or will be direct-deposited when the Certificate is mailed, at the option of the Child of Camp LeJeune. (c) Pension. The United States Treasury shall provide a pension in the amount of $48,000 per year for the life of the Child of Camp LeJeune, and this amount shall not be taxed at either the federal or state level. This pension shall be divided into 12 monthly instalments and must be direct-deposited. The Pension shall increase by 5% per year as an inflation adjustment. (d) Home Loan. The U.S. Treasury shall provide direct loans to Children of Camp LeJeune at a fixed interest rate of 2% per year for 30 years for the purpose of purchasing a home. A maximum of $300,000 shall be available for this purpose, and may be used in conjunction with other loans. Repayment shall be deducted monthly from the Pension up to a maximum of $1,500 per month. (e) Business Loan. The U.S. Treasury shall provide direct loans to Children of Camp LeJeune at a fixed interest rate of 2% per year for 30 years for the purpose of starting or expanding a business. A maximum of $100,000 may be borrowed per year, with a cap of $500,000. Repayment shall be deducted monthly from the Pension up to a maximum repayment of $2,000 per month. (f) Exclusivity of Remedy. 28 U.S.C. §§ 2700-2703 shall provide the exclusive remedies for a living Child of Camp LeJeune for the injuries done from negligent exposure to toxins for children born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital. No other Federal Tort Claims Act claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2671ff. shall be allowed for these injuries for Children of Camp LeJeune still living. (g) Wrongful Death. The estate of any Child of Camp LeJeune who lived at least 32 calendar days who has died prior to this Act taking effect shall receive a lump sum payment of $150,000 upon presentation of the birth certificate or other proof of residence or presence at the base. This shall be the sole remedy. The estate shall be entitled to a Certificate of Status just as if the Child of Camp LeJeune had requested it at any point. (h) Miscarriage. Any child who was in utero and whose mother was at the base in any capacity for at least one day between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987, and who died prior to reaching the age of one (1) month (to be computed as 31 calendar days) shall be presumed to have died as a result of the poisoning and toxic exposures at the base. Congress recognizes the sorrow and injury of such losses, and hereby offers $25,000 to the parents of such Child of Camp LeJeune lost due to miscarriage or death shortly after birth.
(b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to months beginning after July 1, 2015.
Passed the House of Representatives ____________, 2015.
H. R. ________
To amend the Federal Tort Claims Act by adding four sections to address federal torts against U.S. citizens born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital from the years 1957 to 1987, when the hospital was contaminated. Further, to provide compensation and other remedies to those born at Camp LeJeune from 1957 to 1987. Finally, to provide for full medical coverage under the Veterans Administration for all U.S. citizens born at Camp LeJeune Naval Hospital from 1957 to 1987.
to download this draft, please see: Children of Camp Lejeune Act 2015 pdf