The Extraordinary Power of Numbers
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) uses its expertise in veterans law to change the lives of veterans and their families. Through class action lawsuits, NVLSP brings claims on behalf of a group of individuals who have been wrongfully denied the benefits they have earned through their service to our country.
Since its founding, NVLSP has represented thousands of veterans in class actions. Most recently, our class action litigation pertains to:
Bargsley v. United States
In their legal complaint, the plaintiffs assert that the Department of the Navy failed to promptly implement a Department of Defense (DoD) directive requiring it to determine if disabilities leading to the medical separation of sailors and Marines were “combat related.” This determination controls certain federal disability benefits to which medically separated veterans are entitled. As many as 1,000 injured U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy combat veterans may have been discharged from the military without millions of dollars in disability benefits to which they are entitled. Lawyers from NVLSP and co-counsel Crowell & Moring LLP filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to try to help these wounded warriors.
Sabo v. United States
This lawsuit alleged that between December 17, 2002 and October 14, 2008 the military illegally denied benefits to thousands of servicemembers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD and were discharged. These servicemembers were entitled to but denied a minimum 50% disability rating for PTSD. Working closely with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and lawyers from Hewlett-Packard Company, NVLSP reached a settlement agreement that will provide retroactive and future disability benefits to more than 2,200 class members. On July 29, 2011, a news conference was held to announce a proposed settlement highly favorable to members of the class. On December 22, 2011, Judge George Miller at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims gave final approval to the settlement for the Sabo v. United States lawsuit.
Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
This landmark case has already resulted in the delivery of over $3 billion in VA compensation benefits to veterans and their survivors. The case originated with VA regulations mandating denial of benefits claims by Vietnam veterans who had diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange. In 1989, a federal court found the regulation unlawful, and class members received retroactive and prospective benefits. NVLSP has continued to represent the class as the VA has recognized additional diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure, including three recognized in August 2010. In 2011, as class counsel, NVLSP began monitoring over 150,000 VA adjudications of claims related to those three new diseases to make sure Vietnam veterans and their survivors received the benefits they deserve. NVLSP has reviewed over 10,000 of those cases which resulted in approximately $16 million in additional retroactive and prospective benefits to these class members. NVLSP’s monitoring efforts are ongoing.