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Justice for Warriors Newsletter
September 2019 
CAVC Historic Double Header: 
NVLSP Wins Class Action Certification For 
Two Landmark Cases

NVLSP and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) have made history. In two landmark cases, the CAVC certified two of NVLSP's class actions.

On September 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) ruled in a case styled Wolfe v. Wilkie, that VA's 2018 reimbursement regulation violates the Emergency Care Fairness Act of 2010 (ECFA) that requires VA to reimburse veterans for the emergency medical expenses they incur at non-VA facilities that are not covered by the veteran's private insurance. The CAVC certified the case as a class action and ordered the VA to remedy its unlawful regulation by reimbursing veterans for all of their past and future out-of-pocket emergency medical expenses not covered by the veteran's private insurance other than copayments. The class action petition was filed on behalf of veterans Amanda Wolfe and Peter Boerschinger by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) and Sidley Austin LLP on a pro bono basis.Hundreds of thousands of reimbursement claims are affected. VA previously estimated that compliance will require them to pay between $1.8 and $6.5 billion to hundreds of thousands of veterans over a 10-year period. Read More

On June 13, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) certified its first class action in the Court's 30-year history. The case, styled Godsey v. Wilkie, was a petition for extraordinary relief brought by Covington & Burling LLP and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). The petition was filed on behalf of veterans James A. Godsey, Jr., Jeffery S. Henke, Thomas J. Marshall, Pamela Whitfield. It sought relief for all similarly situated VA benefits claimants who have filed an appeal to VA's highest tribunal, the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board), and since have suffered extended delays waiting for VA to begin moving their appeals forward in a process called "certification." Read More
NVLSP in the News

NBC News Pentagon and Military Reporter Courtney Kube's interviewed  Amanda Wolfe, petitioner in Wolfe v. Wilkie lawsuit and NVLSP's Executive Director Bart Stichman regarding the VA's handling of claims for emergency treatment at non-VA facilities as well as the VA OIG's most recent report, Non-VA Emergency Care Claims Inappropriately Denied and Rejected. You can catch both the video and article here.
When the watershed decision was issued by the CAVC certifying the class in Wolfe v. Wilkie, NBC NEWS broke the news nationwide and many other news outlets soon followed including Miltary.com, Stars & Stripes, MilitaryTimes and Associated Press, whose syndicated article was picked up in The New York Times, The Washington Post  and many others nationwide.
NVLSP at the Federal Bar Association's  Annual Meeting

On  Sept. 6, 2019  NVLSP Executive Director Bart Stichman shared his legal insights as part of Federal Bar Association's Annual Meeting & Convention's distinguished panel on class actions in an appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
The panel discussed the opportunities as well as the obstacles related to the use of aggregate litigation procedures designed for trial courts in an appellate setting. The FBA welcomed approximately 300 attendees from 40 states at the program. 
Upcoming NVLSP Webinar Trainings

NVLSP continues its dedication to veteran law education by growing its webinar schedule in an effort to educate more attorneys and veterans advocates on strategies for securing disability benefits for their clients. Over the course of the 2019 fall season, experienced NVLSP attorneys will lead  discussions on the following topic:
Lawyers Serving Warriors® (LSW) Clinics

NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program will be holding its first Know Your Rights sessions and Discharge Upgrade and Medical Retirement Clinics in San Diego. 
NVLSP's Eleventh Annual Benefit Reception

Improving the Lives of Veterans and Their Families

Congratulations to our 2019 Honorees

Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award: 

Paul Hastings LLP

Lawyers Serving Warriors® Excellence Award: 

Kevin E. Gaunt, Associate, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Corporate Leadership Award: 

Comcast NBCUniversal

November 21, 2019
7:00 - 9:00 PM

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Jenna Goldberg

Jenna Goldberg is an Equal Justice Works Fellow at NVLSP. Her fellowship is sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation and Hogan Lovells US LLP. Her fellowship project is focused on developing a nationwide Medical-Legal Partnership to obtain medical/psychological expert opinions to support veterans' applications for benefits and records corrections before military correction boards and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Through this fellowship, Jenna has the ability to impact the lives of many veterans and address a real need in this community. Veterans' applications for disability benefits and records correction frequently hinge on a corroborating psychiatric or medical opinion. Unfortunately, many veterans do not have access to high quality, low-cost medical care to obtain an expert opinion in support of their application for benefits or records correction. A nationwide Medical-Legal Partnership enables practitioners and advocates to identify professionals willing to work with these veterans and provide these necessary opinions for a reasonable, reduced price fee.

Jenna came to NVLSP for the opportunity to work with veterans. She started at NVLSP as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps fellow; she screened and mentored cases involving wrongful discharges based on a personality disorder or adjustment disorder as well as cases seeking discharge upgrades for veterans with less than fully honorable discharges.

The most rewarding aspect of Jenna's work is knowing that she is assisting veterans to obtain benefits that are potentially life-changing. Working with the veterans means Jenna can have a direct and tangible positive impact on their lives.

Jenna is also an avid traveler and a certified scuba diver!  

Ways You Can Help

We hope this newsletter inspires you to become more active with NVLSP.  If you want to help NVLSP do more for our veterans, here are a few suggestions.
  1. You can follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.
  2. Help us promote our free App for veterans.
  3. Tell a friend about NVLSP.
We look forward to connecting with you again soon!