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Bryant v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

October 14, 2014

ERICA Y. BRYANT, LEANDRO PEREZ, INGRID PEREZ JACIR, JOHN EDWARDS, as Father and next friend of his daughter, decedent Jennifer Edwards, CONNIE EDWARDS, as Mother and next friend of her daughter, decedent Jennifer Edwards, et al., Plaintiffs - Appellees, Cross Appellants,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant - Appellant, Cross Appellee JAMES NATHANIEL DOUSE, Plaintiff - Appellee,

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:11-md-02218-JOF.

For Erica Y. Bryant, Plaintiff - Appellee-Cross Appellant: John J. Korzen, Wake Forest Law School, Winston-Salem, NC; Jennifer Rives Culler, Stack & Associates P.C., Atlanta, GA; Robert B. Jackson IV, Law Office of Robert B. Jackson, IV, LLC, Atlanta, GA; Donald DJ Stack, Stack & Associates P.C., Atlanta, GA.

For CONNIE EDWARDS, as Mother and next friend of her daughter, decedent Jennifer Edwards, JOHN EDWARDS, as Father and next friend of his daughter, decedent, Jennifer Edwards, Plaintiffs - Appellees-Cross Appellants: John J. Korzen, Wake Forest Law School, Winston-Salem, NC; Walker Percy Badham III, Brannon J. Buck, Brett Andrew Ialacci, Badham & Buck, LLC, Birmingham, AL. E. Allen Dodd Jr., Scruggs Dodd & Dodd, Attorneys, PA, Fort Payne, AL.

For Leandro Perez, Plaintiff - Appellee-Cross Appellant: John J. Korzen, Wake Forest Law School, Winston-Salem, NC; Blake H. Fiery, Joel R. Wolpe, Miami, FL.

For Ingrid Perez Jacir, Plaintiff - Appellee-Cross Appellant: John J. Korzen, Wake Forest Law School, Winston-Salem, NC; Alexander Stephen Orlofsky, Joel R. Wolpe, Miami, FL.

James Nathaniel Douse, Plaintiff - Appellee, Pro se, Atlanta, GA.

For United States of America, Defendant - Appellant-Cross Appellee: Daniel Tenny, Stuart F. Delery, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff, Washington, DC; John Adam Bain, Kathryn N. Boling, Geoffrey C. Cook, Adam Michael Dinnell, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch, Washington, DC; Thomas Mark Bondy, Mark B. Stern, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC; John J. Bowers, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC; Darcy F. Coty, Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney's Office, Atlanta, GA.

For Erwin Chemerinsky, Stephen A. Saltzburg, Robert F. Williams, Amici Curiae: Charles Madden Cork III, Law Office of Charles M. Cork, III, Macon, GA; Ned Miltenberg, National Legal Scholars Law Firm, PC, Washington, DC.

For Thomas A. Eaton, Amicus Curiae: Ned Miltenberg, National Legal Scholars Law Firm, PC, Washington, DC.

Before TJOFLAT and WILSON, Circuit Judges, and BUCKLEW,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 1379

TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge:

This appeal arises out of a multi-district litigation, in which multiple plaintiffs and their family members allege that they experienced various health problems after being exposed to toxic substances in the drinking water while living at Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina. The plaintiffs brought this action against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § § 2671-2680. The United States moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the North Carolina statute of repose, which provided that " no cause of action shall accrue more than 10 years from the last act or omission of the defendant giving rise to the cause of action," N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-52(16) (2010), precluded the plaintiffs from bringing this case.[1]

The District Court disagreed, concluding that a provision of the Comprehensive Environmental ...


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