Fighting for our Veterans

Securing Tens to Hundreds of Millions in Disability Compensation for Vietnam Navy Veterans Affected by Agent Orange

Since 2008, we have represented veterans in over 100 cases with the National Veterans Legal Service Program (NVLSP) ranging from systemic reform to individual cases before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Combat-Related Special Compensation and military correction boards. Just last week, the Firm secured a major pro bono victory representing a class of Vietnam navy veterans who had contracted diseases linked to the herbicide Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. The navy veterans had been improperly denied veterans benefits for years by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Judge Alsup of the Northern District of California granted our motion to enforce the consent decree. The DVA will now have to readjudicate the class claims dating back to 1985. We estimate that anywhere from 2,000 to 15,000 veterans will receive an average of $28,000 each in benefits potentially resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in relief for disabled veterans or their survivors. The team includes Stephen Kinnaird, Sean Unger, Sarah Besnoff, Alex Schulman, Ingrid Holthuis, and Marielena Macias-Gutierrez.

Challenging the VA Caregiver Program Appeals Process

Together with our co-counsel Public Counsel, we filed a class action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on behalf of all veterans and caregivers who were denied benefits under the Caregiver Program. The VA’s position is that there is no right to appeal Caregiver Program benefit decisions to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals or to any court. Our class action is designed to secure the right to appeal to the Board and to obtain judicial review thereafter so that this critical benefits program is administered properly across the country. Last year we were awarded Public Counsel’s Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award for our work on this case. The team includes Joshua Bennett, Scott Carlton, Marty Edelman, Brian Gzowski, Kurt Hansson, Randall Johnston, Andy LeGolvan, Brian Moran, Barry Sher, and Igor Timofeyev. You can read more about the case here.

“Judicial review is the only meaningful remedy to fix these injustices. This is what the law requires and what our country’s heroes deserve,” Andy LeGolvan, Associate and Navy Veteran

Establishing the USO International Visitor Center at LAX

The Los Angeles International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports, and the Bob Hope USO greets and serves over 100,000 service members and their families per year. In 2018, we assisted with their acquisition and relocation to the historic Theme Building. This new 7,000 square foot, state-of-the-art airport center will provide a safe haven and a touch of home to an estimated 2.7 million troops and military families in the next 20 years. In 2019, a team led by Meagan Olsen and Irina Dykhne also assisted the Bob Hope USO in connection with its merger with the national USO organization. In addition, Leslie Abbott provides on-going counseling and support to the Bob Hope USO in its employment matters.