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Class Action Vets Lawsuit



Courtesy of Charles Kelley:


Part 4 of the VA memo is good-

the General Counsel is making sure nothing gets lost or destroyed-

but how come we -as claimants -can't get that assurance but the VA is preparing for this litigation and must retain all pertinent records for this lawsuit.

The VA apparnently is taking all this very seriously.

Edited by Berta
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Thanks for posting this, Berta.

Here's an update on the plaintiffs' side.

August 09, 2007 10:23 AM

Subject: Case update

Case update:

The lawyers and support staffs at both Morrison Foerster and DRA are finally beginning to get our heads above water after the several-month frenzy leading up to the filing of the Complaint. Thanks to your efforts and your organization’s efforts, the news conference was an unqualified success and, as you know, received huge media attention. I am writing now to update you on what has happened since.

1. The Complaint has been served on all the various defendants.

2. A lawyer with the Department of Justice in DC (Stephen Y. Bressler) has filed his appearance as the lawyer for the defendants. As the case goes on, it would not surprise us if additional lawyers appeared for the defendants.

3. The day after the filing of the Complaint, we filed a motion to have the case transferred to a different judge who has heard a veteran’s case previously and who we think would be more familiar with the underlying facts. The defendants have opposed our motion and we should hear from the court with a decision within the next several weeks.

4. Between our two law offices, we have received over 300 emails from veterans, veterans’ organizations and others, many offering to share their stories with us. We have set up a database of these and are trying to respond to and, to some extent, investigate each one of them.

5. We are also in the process of establishing a public website on the case that will list developments and all of the pleadings and relevant material.

6. In addition to daily emails and telephone calls between our two law offices, we held one long teleconference today to plan our future litigation strategy and to explore the possibility of adding additional plaintiffs or plaintiff organizations. In addition to another such session next week, on August 20th, we plan to have a longer session of all the lawyers to discuss a possible preliminary injunction. We will certainly keep you fully apprised before we make any such motion.

As you know, in a case of this magnitude, relatively long periods of time may elapse during which there is no apparent court activity. For example, we may not get an actual response from the defendants (probably a motion to dismiss) until at least late September (because the court rules allow them that much time). However, we never stop working on the case for periods between actual court events. We will try to keep you posted periodically of significant developments, both in and out of court. In the meantime, however, if you have any questions or concerns, you should never hesitate to call me, Gordy or Melissa directly and we will be happy to respond promptly.

Again, thank you for joining us in this important opportunity to help improve the lives of our veterans.

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Thanks Berta for the update. From looking at their web site it looks like they are targeting PTSD and OIF/AF guys and gals. Sure wish they had expanded it by making it a bit more general. If so I could send then three pages from my current appeal which shows without fail - VA failure to apply regs by SC'ing my stroke but they still, three years later have not paid my 100 percent for six months as required by 38 CFR; Although the residuals of the stroke have left me with a strange residual on the left side, Dejerine-Roussy Syndrome, which affects my leg/foot, arm/hand and face they have still got me rated at 10 percent with no mention of a rating for each of the above (left upper and lower meet the criteria for loss of use per my medical documentation and statements from my neurologist. None of the medical documentation has been discussed in ANY VA documents - no mention as to wheter the VA thinks my doc is a looney or why his medical docs or statements are not probative - no mention ever.) No explanation as to why they issued an SOC without allowing me a DRO hearing. No explanation why it took me a year after the issue of the SOC to get my DRO hearing. No ideal or answer from the VA as to why a decision has not been made or a SSOC issued since it has been 9 months since the hearing. No answer as to why the RO still has my perfected appeal at the RO without an Docket number - been there since Jan 06.

So if they wanted examples of plain stupidity by the VA, violation of laws and a around the bushes with claim processing I could give it to them.

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It is interesting that PTSD vets from former wars never attempted this type of litigation.

Now they have a case to use and these lawyers might even consider an additional complaint on their behalf.

I found the 73 page complaint lacks something-

it mentions the many denials of Iraq vet claims and the fact that many did not know how to appeal the denial-but the complaint never mentions the VCAA letter-telling vets exactly what evidence they need- or- if they didnt get an election letter-

the VA would simply deny the claim without returned signed election choice letter.

I have emailed these lawyers about this because it is the most fundamental DTA right any vet can have.

You all know I mentioned Congressman Filner said he would consider proposing the amendment to the VCAA that I wrote-

to get these ROs to do them right from the beginning--PRIOR to any denial as the reg states-

and to extend this full DTA benefit to the veteran.

But if these lawyers would be willing to start suit over the VCAA -that would be great too--that too would help not only men and women disabled from Iraq and Afganistan-but ALL of us- thousands whose claims were adversely affected due to the ROs lack of sending a proper and legal VCAA letter and election form.

The first BVA decision for an Iraq vet I read for 2007 was a remand due to VCAA violation.

The vets in this complaint are Class Action yet their individual stories shaped the complaint.

Violations of the VCAA are rampant and well documented by BVA ,and the IG.

The complaint states that almost '10,000' vets have died during the claims process.

I dont know where they got that figure but this is a disgrace-veterans dying without a resolve of claims handled by GS level federal emploees who should be able to read.

Since many of the vets mentioned in the complaint did not appeal-not knowing how to- and then got denied-

if their VCAA rights were violated-this is not a CUE as CUES do not involve DTA regs-but a lawsuit over the VCAA and enough publicity to reach those vets could help them establish a new claim but possibly recoup the EED they lost.

I am shocked that this facet of the claims process -the VCAA- seems to have been overlooked in the lawsuit- maybe I missed it and will read it all again-

these suits rest on disparate treatment-

VA claims treatment that is below the legal norm.

Funny thing- many here including me- fall into the conditions of this lawsuit-like Ricky-

but ALL claimants dont have a voice and we should.

I will post any response I get from the lawyers who are handling this.

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As pointed out the claim does provide statements such as "did not know how to do this and that". Seems to me that could be dangerous waters since this group of vets have been hand walked into and through the system. The politics of this war have demanded this type of assistance for these guys and gals so if I were the government I would use the fact that an outreach program to beat all outreach program has been established and implemented for them yada yada. If you just used the numbers from VN Viets who filed while the war was going on and then after the war within a specific time period vs those from this war who have filed claims etc...... based upon this data alone you can tell the outreach program since VN has been upgraded 500 percent which may lead the judge to determine that it looks like the gov has above and above its duty - using the ole saying you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make him drink theory.

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Hey Berta,

DO a simple search on the BVA site for "died" and all years, you get 46,476 returns for years 1992 thru 2007. Not all mean that the veteran died waiting for a decision but that's what most of them are for. I can't read more than a couple before I start getting angry.

IN some cases, not only the veteran has died but the widow has died also waiting for a decision. The BVA says "Unfortunately the claimant has died and it is no longer in our jurisdiction". You can almost see the joy in thier words. It's sickening.


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"Unfortunately the claimant has died and it is no longer in our jurisdiction"

This actually a good statement as it indicates they know they are going to hell for their mis-deeds hahahahahaha.

You know I agree about the angry part. I have read many decision. You will see many that you have to just shake your head and say "what the heck was the vet and the SO thinking" for they are way out there. But the majority will make you angry and sometimes cry for the way a veteran or his spouse has been treated.

I think this legal action is great and I hope they succeed, but I wish they had not used the suffering and mistreatment of veterans for the past 40 years to attempt to justify their movement for such a small group. A group that in my opinion has the VA treating them like special children with the out reach program that has been developed for them, the set up of a special section to work their claims and the placing their claims in front of all other pending claims. Like I said this is just my opinion. Maybe the law firm is really working for the government and attempting to simply further the distance between this group and previous veteran hahahahhahahahahaa Just kidding.

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What I am afraid of is that the OIF vets will get the attention and the Congress and the People will think "OK, problem solved". The system as a whole stinks and the VA is not living up to its charter to care for those who have borne the battle and their survivors. No group in our society has a more valid claim on government resources than disabled vets. No one has sacrificed more in the service of the People of our nation. It is shameful and a disgrace that this crap has been going on for 40+ years and now we get some scraps thrown our way. Vets have been catching hell for decades. One question is why the VFW and AL and DAV have not done more to bring this to the attention of the public. It was not them who brought us the Walter Reed expose. It was a newspaper journalist sniffing around. The SO's are too busy getting their picture taken with the president to worry about those they are supposed to be looking out for. I always feel angry when I see the VFW's caps surrounding "you know who" at these fireside chats. We have to have a VA style "Katrina" to get attention like Walter Reed.

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