Camp Lejeune: Supreme Court won’t hear case of military widow who claims her husband died of toxins


The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a lawsuit filed by a military widow who wants to sue the government, alleging her husband’s death was the result of exposure to toxic and contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base.

Carol Clendening says her husband, Gary, who served as a Naval Officer in the Judge Advocate Division, died when the government failed to protect him from exposure and failed to warn him of the exposure after he was discharged.

An attorney for Clendening told jurors that when Gary Clendening lived at Camp Lejeune, he had no idea that “the water he was given to drink, cook and bathe was contaminated with toxic chemicals, he didn’t know he was constantly exposed to radioactive substances. trash”. He was diagnosed with adult-onset leukemia in 2007 and died in November 2016.

“The government has since admitted through the Department of Veterans Affairs that Clendening’s exposure caused him cancer and other illnesses,” Clendening’s attorney argued.

But lower courts said it was blocked by a doctrine called Feres, which says members of the military can’t sue the U.S. negligently for injuries sustained while on active duty.

Attorney General Elizabeth Prelogar said in court filings that since Clendening’s petition was filed, President Joe Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which allows some veterans and their legal representatives to bring the case in federal court in North Carolina. Specifically targeted at damage caused by water exposure at Camp Lejeune.

“No further review is required,” he said.

Judge Clarence Thomas agreed with the decision to take the case. In past cases he has made strong reservations about the Feres doctrine.