Former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster said on Wednesday that she is partnering with a mainland law firm to represent over a dozen residents impacted by the Navy’s water contamination crisis and seeks to sue the military for poisoning them.

Attorneys Cory Weck and Margery Bronster, a former Hawaii attorney general, are gearing up to sue the Navy over its Red Hill water contamination crisis.
Cory Weck, a law partner at McCune Wright Arevalo in California, and Margery Bronster are gearing up to sue the Navy over its Red Hill water contamination crisis. Christina Jedra/Civil Beat2022

For now, Bronster’s 14 clients are filing claims with the Navy itself. Those claims are a necessary precursor to a class action lawsuit, Bronster said at a press conference at the downtown office of her firm, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins.

“The people who have suffered without water, it’s more than an inconvenience,” she said. “They’ve suffered financially. They’ve suffered for their health, and they’ve suffered a total upheaval in their lives and well-being.”

Military residents have described a litany of physical symptoms including skin lesions, headaches, nausea, dizziness and stomach aches.

Only military family members and civilians will be able to sue the Navy, Bronster said. Under the Feres Doctrine, active duty military members are legally barred from suing the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

While other lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks against the private companies that act as military housing landlords, Bronster said it’s the Navy itself that should be held accountable.

“We felt it was necessary to go after the Navy because they’re the ones responsible,” she said.

Another attorney, Kristina Baehr of the Texas-based Just Well Law firm, has 20 clients, according to a press release from her firm, including Jamie Simic, a woman who was hospitalized with symptoms she believes were caused by the water. Baehr is also preparing to file administrative actions and lawsuits, according to her public relations firm.

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