Action Alert for Veterans, families, and supporters near San Francisco, CA – have your day in court!

5
629

va_lawsuit This is a follow-up and concern about our article regarding Veterans groups who have sued the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) on behalf of America’s Veterans.

Lawsuits against the VA achieved more by being thrown out of Court.

The aftermath of Lawsuits Against the VA

Sandy Cook with Veterans United for Truth (VUFT) out in California brought it to our attention that "when the lawsuits finally get their hearing, almost no veterans show up" for our day in court."

Simply put GOOD LAWSUIT BUT NO VETERANS = NO MEDIA INTEREST, THUS NO PUBLIC COVERAGE OR SUPPORT!     

If you are a Veteran, family member, or supporter who agrees with this lawsuit, and especially if you reside in the vicinity of the San Francisco METRO area, WE need you to show up to give Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), and Veterans United for Truth (VUFT) our moral support. The class-action lawsuit Veterans For Common Sense et al. v. Peake is going for oral arguments before the 9th Circuit in San Francisco on 12 August. We need to rally Veterans and families in the Golden Gate region to get veterans out en masse to attend that hearing. There are thousands of Veterans in the SFO area. If we could only get 40 or so to show up it would be better than an empty courtroom. Empty court rooms on Veterans issues will not draw the press; it is Veterans and supporters rallying in protest outside the courtroom that draws media attention. Having even more behave with dignity inside the courtroom would have send an even stronger message that the Veterans of California feel passionate about fixing systemic problems at the VA, and are outraged by how the nation and our government is treating us.

On a brighter note, the judge in the Federal District Court that heard the original case agreed with almost every contention that the VA was not performing as the law requires, but he rejected the case on the technical point that he did not have the legal nor political jurisdiction to force the VA to do anything. He knew and stated in the courtroom, and both the plaintiffs and the defense (VA) made it clear, that this one would go all the way to the Supremes if necessary.

Despite the outcomes of these lawsuits against the VA thus far, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) takes them so serious that they have put their chief counsel on it from the start and he has been supported by assistance from the Department of Justice in the government’s defense. WE at VT ask that if you’ve really had it with the VA, please show up in San Francisco.

Veterans For Common Sense et al. v. Peake

WHERE: The James R. Browning Courthouse
95 7th street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN: 0930 – WHENEVER on 12 August, 2009

HOW: Get Directions

Points of Contact in California if you plan to attend:

Bob Handy at [email protected]
or
Sandy Cook at [email protected]

Paul Sullivan at [email protected]

FULL DISCLOSURE: We at VETERANS UNITED FOR TRUTH are the "et al" in the case as we are the co-plaintiffs with VETERANS FOR COMMON SENSE (VCS). Get the details of the case so far at: http://www.veteransptsdclassaction.org/index.html

Posted by: Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
Veterans Advocacy Editor
VT News Network
Our Troops News Ladder 
 

BACKGROUND: What This Case Is About

Myth: these lawsuits against the VA cover only young Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans.
vcs_lawsuit_400FALSE! Many veterans who have fought in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, as well as those who served in earlier conflicts, are not being given the disability compensation, medical services and care they need. A much higher percentage of these Veterans suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") than Veterans of any previous war, due to the multiple tours many are serving, the unrelenting vigilance required by the circumstances, the greater prevalence of brain injuries caused by the types of weaponry in use, among other reasons.

Despite this, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs ("DVA") is failing to provide adequate and timely benefits and medical care. This federal lawsuit, on behalf of Veterans with pending claims based upon PTSD, regardless of the conflict in which they served, is for declaratory and injunctive relief, based primarily on the due process clause of the Constitution. We focus on the following issues:

  • The widespread breakdown of the DVA’s adjudication and health care systems for veterans experiencing PTSD. For example, the application process is too complicated; even Veterans with "successful" claims are given ratings that are too low; Veterans who are rated as disabled continue to be denied appropriate medical care and ongoing support;
  • The prolonged administrative delays in processing PTSD claims, at both the regional office and appellate levels. Applications are often bounced up and down through a complicated appeals process. We estimate that the average time for a claim to go through the entire appeals process, from the Regional Office to a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, is between twelve and fifteen years;
  • A variety of statutory and regulatory impediments to a Veteran’s ability to collect PTSD compensation. These include the inability to obtain discovery, the absence of subpoena power for documents and witnesses, and the inability to hire a lawyer to help out at the regional office level, among other impediments; and
  • A pattern and practice of internal DVA abuses and improper rules. These are difficult to detect or prove without discovery.

Please familiarize yourselves with these issues by visiting our Resources, reading the pivotal Court-filed Documents in the case and reading relevant News Articles. We appreciate your interest.

History

image3089319gOn July 25, 2008 Plaintiffs Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth, Inc. filed a Notice of Appeal of the decision issued by Senior Federal District Court Judge Samuel Conti. In his decision, Judge Conti held that although it is clear to the Court that the VA may need "a complete overhaul" the power to remedy this crisis lies with the other branches of government.

The importance of this appeal is underscored by the fact that a serious suicide epidemic among Veterans continues to exist. The VA has most recently been embroiled in a series of scandals that have forced both the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees to call VA upper and middle managers onto the carpet to explain just why our VA is so broken.Lucas Senescall and Richard Kinsey-Young in a sharp increase in suicides among patients receiving care at the Spokane Washington VA Medical.

One thing everyone better relate to is that the flood of Veterans with mental health problems will continue to increase as the wars go on. Thus far, despite baby step achievements it does not appear that the war(s) are anywhere near conclusion. This is because, as a recent Army study found, repeat deployments increase the risk of PTSD by 50 percent, above and beyond what we are already seeing from veterans discharged from the first few years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

When we as a nation, people, or government depend so much on so few to carry the burdens of war all others issues being equal something has got to break, and it usually will be the few fighting and dying in the war(s).

In his decision, Judge Conti found that many Veterans are suffering, and that the VA is the cause of much of that suffering. For these reasons, Plaintiffs believe they should continue to fight, that their cause is valid, and that Judge Conti was incorrect in holding that the courts are without power to grant veterans a remedy.

Notice: Oral arguments will be heard on the appeal of this case on August 12, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Courtroom 1, 3rd floor, 95 Seventh Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Meanwhile, the VA continues to turn away suicidal veterans, as shown by the cases of Press Coverage »

Veterans sue U.S. over "shameful failures" in care Reuters

Lawsuit says VA mishandled claims; Veterans allege illegal denials and delays for care, disability pay USA Today

Veterans sue federal gov’t UPI

Injured Iraq War Veterans Sue VA Head AP

Veterans Sue for Stress Disorder Benefits ABA Journal

2009 Current related issues:

VA Surgeon defends himself before Senate panel (30 Jun 2009)
Philadelphia Inquirer

A new charge of malpractice against VA hospital (30 Jun 2009)
Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia VA Hospital Malpractice Claim Filed Over Cancer Clinic Problems
AboutLawsuits.com

3 HIV Cases Tied To VA Clinic Mistakes
Department of Veterans Affairs Says Patients Exposed To Contaminated Medical Equipment (17 April 2009)
CBS News

ATTENTION READERS

We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.
Previous articleHome School Mom Running for House of Delegates in Virginia Calls for Bullets Against Obama's Agenda – Washington Post
Next articleCHENEY ASSASSINATION SQUADS: WERE THEY DOMESTIC?
Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.