Benzene, Murray, Pride and Department of Navy

Benzene, Murray, Pride and Department of Navy is about a negligence claim against the Navy at Camp Lejeune that alleges the stillborn birth of a child was related to her exposure to toxic substances and carcinogens – benzene, and other volatile compounds. 

A brief summary of the Benzene, Murray, Pride and Department of Navy case follows:

Pro se Plaintiff Audrey Williams Pride (“Plaintiff” or “Pride”) filed a Third Amended Complaint against Defendants on June 30, 2020, in which the Plaintiff alleges two claims which appear to arise under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§1346(b), 2671-2680: (1) a personal injury claim and (2) a wrongful death claim on behalf of Plaintiff’s stillborn son. The alleged cause of both claims is the United States’ failure to provide clean drinking water at Camp Lejeune and failure to warn after learning of the contaminated water. Plaintiff alleges that due to the negligence of the Navy at Camp Lejeune:

  • that she sustained personal injuries (endometriosis, female infertility, aplastic anemia, and neurobehavioral issues) and her unborn child died on account of exposure to contaminated water that was supplied to families living around Hadnot Point. Plaintiff was the spouse of Navy corpsmen Willie Morris, Jr. and was living at Midway Park near Hadnot Point when her son died during a still birth on April 27, 1986.
  • that in Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint are pages that Defendants contend are directly from the complaint of another Camp Lejeune case in Clendening v. United States, No. 7:19-CV-137-BR, 2020 WL 3404733 (E.D.N.C. Jun. 19, 2020). These pages provide additional factual details on the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune’s water was allegedly served by the Navy’s own water supply facilities, which used wells “that tapped into the underground aquifer that had been contaminated by the leaking of toxic and hazardous materials from various sources,” including the Hadnot Point Fuel Farm. (Id. at 10-11).
  • that the contamination was first discovered around 1980, however military personnel and their families were not warned and continued to consume the contaminated water. (Id. at 11). Tests of the Hadnot Point drinking wells in 1984-88 found elevated levels of benzene and volatile organic compounds. (Id. at 21). In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency placed Camp Lejeune on the National Priorities List. (Id.). In approximately 2012, Defendants first publicly revealed the severity of the water contamination in and around the Hadnot Point area. (Id. at 22, 24). Defendants failed to warn military personnel and their families living in and around Hadnot Point of the water contamination prior to 2012. (Id. at 24).

The Court ordered as follows:

  • The Magistrate Judge’s M&R, (DE 38), is ADOPTED in part; and2. Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction the Third Amended Complaint, (DE 33), is GRANTED in part as to any personal injury causes of action relating to the United States’ failure to warn and DENIED in part as to any personal injury causes of action relating to the United States’ failure to provide clean water.
  • The STAY ordered by this Court on September 20, 2021 is LIFTED
  • As the Fourth Circuit has ruled on this case, the matter is now ripe.

For more on the Benzene, Murray, Pride and Department of Navy case in the United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division, please follow this link: Benzene, BNSF Railway, Sherman and Colon Cancer

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