A federal court in Connecticut has certified a nationwide class-action lawsuit seeking relief for more than 50,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Army veterans who were labeled with less-than-honorable discharges after developing post-traumatic stress disorders, mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries as a result of their service.
Those “bad paper” discharges deny veterans the ability to get military service benefits including education funding, disability benefits and mental health treatment, and can negatively impact their ability to secure work once in the private sector.
The Army lawsuit follows a similar case brought by Navy and Marine Corps veterans to the Naval Discharge Review Board that was approved by the same court last month. Both cases are being represented by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic and the law firm Jenner & Block.
“This decision means that thousands of service members who have been denied the support of VA resources because of an unfair discharge status may have another chance at relief,” said Steve Kennedy, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs. Kennedy served in Iraq and is a founder of the Connecticut chapter of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.