Nadler and Takano Introduce the Protect Access to Justice for Veterans Act
Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Congressman Mark Takano, Ranking Member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, together introduced the Protect Access to Justice for Veterans Act (H.R. 1204). The bill would cap attorney fees for settlements and claims made by individuals who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Additionally, the bill would explicitly require an attorney to disburse the funds of any judgment or award to the victim before collecting any compensation for services rendered. This legislation builds on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which became law last Congress as part of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.
“Passing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was an important step towards providing long denied justice for veterans, their families, and civilian workers harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune,” said Congressman Nadler. “Unfortunately, there are bad actors who may seek to take advantage of the people harmed at Camp Lejeune for financial gain, many of whom may be elderly, who need help to present these claims. The Protect Access to Justice for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act would protect vulnerable veterans from financial exploitation by bad actors while ensuring veterans’ continued access to qualified legal services and representatives to aid them in their pursuit of justice.”
"Recent passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, resulted in the American public being inundated with ads about Camp Lejeune water contamination, and raised concern that veterans could be taken advantage of as a result," said Congressman Takano. "While there are some individuals targeting veterans and charging exorbitant fees looking to cash in on their suffering, many organizations and attorneys are working to help veterans obtain relief in a responsible and supportive manner. This legislation strikes a balance that allows veterans to utilize outside help to seek justice, while preventing nefarious actors from unjustly diverting resources away from our veterans."
The full text of the bill is available here.