Released 4/22/22 | Tags:
Federal Court Issues Initial Ruling in Favor of Veterans Seeking
Back Awards of Combat-Related Special Compensation over $10,000
-Court Denies U.S. Motion to Dismiss Class Action Lawsuit -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 25, 2022
WASHINGTON – On April 14, 2022, the United States Court of Federal Claims denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit in the case styled Paige v. United States seeking back awards of Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) for amounts over $10,000. The lawsuit applies to veterans who had not received the full amount of CRSC they were owed because the military illegally imposed a 6-year ceiling on the amount it would pay in retroactive compensation. The class is represented by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) with the pro bono assistance of Sidley Austin LLP. Veterans who are owed amounts under $10,000 are covered by a separate NVLSP and Sidley case, Soto v. United States, which had a ruling from the District Court for the Southern District of Texas in December 2021 ordering retroactive payments.
“We are gratified to see this initial ruling which applies to veterans with larger amounts owed to them,” said NVLSP Senior Staff Attorney David Sonenshine. “We look forward to continuing the case to hopefully get a final ruling that the government must pay the full amounts owed to veterans with combat-related injuries and illnesses.”
Combat-Related Special Compensation provides tax-free payments to retired veterans with combat-related disabilities. However, the military limited CRSC payments to no more than six years before the veterans applied for CRSC. The military based its denial of benefits on the Barring Act, a federal law that directs how the government can settle or pay claims when no other settlement authority exists.
In the Paige lawsuit, the Court found the Soto decision persuasive and similarly rejected the military’s rationale. The Court ruled that the CRSC Statute provides its own settlement mechanism, and therefore “the Barring Act does not apply.” The Court ordered the government to move forward with answering the complaint and plaintiff’s motion for class certification for veterans owed more than $10,000.
Sidley Pro Bono Counsel Emily Wexler added, "It is our firm's honor to represent a distinguished veteran such as Mr. Paige, who has given so selflessly to our country, and to help him and others like him obtain the benefits that Congress has provided. We are very pleased with this ruling."
The case is Paige v. United States, No. 21-1268C.
Veterans interested in information about Paige or Soto lawsuits may reach out to NVLSP at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, veterans may contact NVLSP for information at email@example.com. NVLSP also assists veterans with filing initial applications for CRSC and appeals of denials of CRSC. Veterans may apply for assistance with CRSC claims online at NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program.
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active duty military personnel and veterans since 1981. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active duty personnel by ensuring they have the benefits they have earned through their service to our country. NVLSP has represented veterans in lawsuits that compelled enforcement of the law where the VA or other military services denied benefits to veterans in violation of the law. NVLSP’s success in these lawsuits has resulted in more than $5.2 billion dollars being awarded in disability, death and medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors. NVLSP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation's definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information go to www.nvlsp.org.
For NVLSP: Patty Briotta, office 202-621-5698, firstname.lastname@example.org.