Native American Cases

Lieff Cabraser represents tribes and tribal governments as plaintiffs in many of the firm’s cases, including mass tort, environmental harm, and unfair business practices.

In 2018, we filed injury and malicious marketing cases against the country’s major opioid pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors on behalf of tribes and tribal health organizations located in Northern California and Northwestern Washington, as well as Alaskan native villages and tribal health organizations, seeking justice and restitution for deaths, extraordinary medical costs, and community depredations resulting from the negligent, indiscriminate, and profit-driven marketing of opioid drugs into native communities. Lieff Cabraser also serves on the Tribal Leadership Committee in the sprawling National Prescription Opiate Litigation, where we have obtained over $1.5 billion in negotiated settlements so far for federally-recognized Tribes and Tribal health organizations to address the opioids crisis.

We also serve as Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel in the McKinsey & Co. National Prescription Opiate MDL. The McKinsey cases were assigned to Judge Charles R. Breyer for coordinated discovery and pretrial matters. In September of 2023, McKinsey agreed to pay $269.5 million to resolve the litigation, including $39.5 million designated for participating federally-recognized Native American Tribes.

According to the settlement, the Tribal payment is open to all 574 federally recognized Tribes, whether or not a Tribe has filed litigation against McKinsey, just as is the case with earlier nationwide tribal opioid settlements. In order to participate, a Tribe must sign and submit a Tribal Participation Form through a secure portal that can be accessed through the website Tribes can also fax, email, or mail their Participation form; full instructions are available on the Tribal Participation website.

Lieff Cabraser also represents Tribal interests in the Juul Labs, Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices & Products Liability Litigation, seeking relief from Juul Labs, Altria, and others responsible for targeting Tribes and Tribal youth to utilize addictive vaping products and for violations of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and California negligence and nuisance laws. The lawsuit alleges JUUL and Altria relied on calculated youth targeting to maximize their e-cigarette sales and profits in total disregard of the health consequences. A major local consequence was an epidemic of teen addiction within native tribes, the enormous costs of which were borne by the tribes as the government entity responsible for the public health and safety of the local populations. In the Tribal Settlement in the Juul case, Lieff Cabraser’s clients will receive $10 million.

Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Cases. Any Marine veterans or their family members may be eligible to file claims. Native Americans have a long and proud history of serving in the US armed forces.

President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law on August 10, 2022. Under this new law, victims may now sue the federal government for injuries they suffered as a result of their exposure to the base’s contaminated water. Under the Act, if you were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987—whether you lived at Camp Lejeune, worked there, or otherwise spent time there—you have the right to sue the government for harm caused by the water.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act does not list specific diseases that are covered. Anybody can sue if they were exposed to toxic water for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, so long as they can show that they suffered harm as a result of their exposure to the water. However, certain diseases are more closely associated with exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Here is a list of some of the medical conditions and diseases that the government itself has linked to Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure. This is not an exhaustive list. If you were exposed and suffer from a different disease, you may still be entitled to compensation:

Aplastic anemia, Bladder cancer, Cardiac birth defects, Esophageal cancer, Female breast cancer, Female infertility, Hepatic steatosis/fatty liver disease, Kidney cancer, Kidney disease, Leukemias, Liver cancer, Lung Cancer, Male breast cancer, Miscarriages, Multiple myeloma, Myelodysplastic syndromes, Neurobehavioral effects, Non-cardiac birth defects, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease, Renal toxicity, Systemic sclerosis, or Scleroderma.

Even if a condition or disease is not listed above, it may still have been caused by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

Lieff Cabraser, with co-counsel, also filed lawsuits in September of 2022 on behalf of parents and their minor children who use social media accusing Facebook/Instagram (owned by Meta), TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube (owned by Google), of detrimental profiteering off teens’ deep vulnerabilities and causing life-threatening injuries from social media use. These lawsuits allege that the defendants’ platforms are designed to hook young users in a manner that endangers their health and welfare, leading them to suffer from severe eating disorders such as anorexia.

In November of 2022, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers appointed Lieff Cabraser partner Lexi J. Hazam as Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the nationwide multi-district litigation against these same major social media platforms alleging the platforms cause addiction and mental health problems in adolescents, including body image issues, anxiety, suicidality, depression, and eating disorders, due to the dangerous, defective, and profit-driven design of algorithmic recommendations, and inadequate parental controls and age verification.

Lieff Cabraser is also pursuing justice for a Tribal Clan that has been living on a federal Superfund site for decades, exposing its members to toxic chemicals that threaten the continued existence of the Clan.

Lieff Cabraser represents these tribes and other groups in lawsuits against manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, infrastructure vendors, and many others, seeking restitution for business fraud, monopolization and price-fixing, healthcare fraud, injuries, insurance fraud, and securities fraud. Our firm is unique in its ability to dynamically deploy lawyers from multiple practice areas to drive success in complex cases on behalf of tribes and other groups over wrongdoing that crosses traditional practice area boundaries. Talk to us today. Let us help you secure justice for your tribe.

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