Court Certifies Class Action in NVLSP Lawsuit on Behalf of 3,600 Veterans Illegally Denied the Full Amount of Combat Related Special Compensation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -February 25, 2019
WASHINGTON – On February 11, 2019, the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas granted class certification in a lawsuit filed by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) on behalf of Mr. Simon Soto and approximately 3,600 Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force vets who were granted Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) but denied the full amount of retroactive CRSC because the military illegally imposed a 6-year ceiling on the amount it would pay in retroactive CRSC.
NVLSP, with pro bono assistance of Sidley Austin LLP, initially filed the lawsuit on behalf of class representative Simon Soto in 2017. Mr. Soto served in the United States Marine Corps from August 2000 to April 2006. As a result of his service in Mortuary Affairs, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ultimately, Mr. Soto was medically retired from active duty in April 2006, was placed on Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) and thereafter was awarded permanent medical disability retirement. In June 2016, Mr. Soto applied for CRSC, which he was awarded in October 2016. However, the Navy limited its payment to Mr. Soto to six years of retroactive CRSC due to the military’s interpretation of the Barring Act.
NVLSP argued in its lawsuit that the six-year limitations period in the Barring Act did not apply at all to CRSC. In its decision, the Court agreed with NVLSP that the limitations in the Barring Act do not apply to CRSC.
“We are pleased that the Court’s decision clearly affirms the rightful claims of Mr. Soto and the thousands of other combat veterans who have been illegally shortchanged by the military departments on the disability compensation they nobly earned through their military service,” said NVLSP Executive Director Bart Stichman. “The Court’s decision rights a cruel injustice to those who risked their lives in time of war.”
Interested veterans may reach out to NVLSP if they would like more information, including regarding their inclusion in the Soto class. They may contact us ator 202-265-8305, ext. 152. 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 program.
he 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.