Attorneys Charles Ellis and Hugh Overholt Appointed to Leadership Positions for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cases
Ward and Smith is pleased to announce attorneys Charles Ellis and Ret. Major General Hugh Overholt have been appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to serve on the plaintiffs’ leadership team for claims brought under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Both Overholt and Ellis have been named as liaisons between the court and the other plaintiffs’ attorneys.
As one of, if not the largest, litigation matters in United States history, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act seeks compensation for Marines, their families, civilian contractors, and other on-base personnel impacted by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. For over 30 years, between 1953 and 1987, drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with dangerous chemicals linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, and more.
The court-appointed leadership group includes eight additional attorneys who will work to “fairly, effectively, and efficiently represent the interests of all plaintiffs,” according to the court order issued July 19.
“As a native of Onslow County, I personally have dozens of classmates and friends who have been directly impacted by this contamination,” said Ellis, a 40-year litigation attorney. “I am honored to play a key role in helping to bring about a swift and equitable solution for these individuals, and all the others seeking justice.”
A retired U.S. Major General of the U.S. Army, Overholt’s decades-long awareness of the base’s water contamination stems not only from his military background but from the role he played in helping to write the Camp Lejeune Justice Act bill.
“Having been in the military and seeing these cases emerge, I feel very responsible that we have a Department of Defense that would let this happen,” Overholt said. “I want justice for the Marines. Money doesn’t cure it, but the government has to pay for what happened at Camp Lejeune. It’s the right thing to do.”
In addition to serving as liaisons between the court and the plaintiffs’ leadership, Overholt and Ellis will be tasked with a variety of other responsibilities, including attending case management conferences, providing reports to the plaintiffs’ counsel, and ensuring all Orders issued by the court are distributed to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
About Ward and Smith, P.A.
Ward and Smith is a 100-attorney North Carolina law firm with offices in Asheville, Beaufort, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington.
The firm represents corporate, municipal, non-profit, and individual clients in a wide range of legal practice areas.
Regarding the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit, several Ward and Smith attorneys and staff members have personal ties with the military base and intimate knowledge of the tragic situation unfolding over the past 50+ years. The firm currently represents hundreds of plaintiffs in the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination lawsuits and is accepting new cases.