Law Offices of David P. Sheldon Wins ABCMR Case to Correct Records

On Monday, January 9, 2023, the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon won an Army Board for Correction of Military Records (“ABCMR”) case to have our client’s records corrected by the Department of the Army and his promotion awarded. The firm was able to obtain the relief less than six months from being retained.

This case involved adverse findings of an Army Regulation 15-6 investigation that were later unfounded by “clear and convincing evidence” and thus did not meet the definition of “reportable information.” Even after this finding and an ABCMR order to correct the records, the Department of the Army failed to correct and grant the requested relief.

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon worked tirelessly to correct this injustice by requiring the Department of the Army to give our client the remedy he deserved and prevent any further undue hardship. After years of being stonewalled by the Department of the Army, our client finally received his order to correct his records and promotion from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel.

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon again thanks our client and the Department of Justice for helping to right this injustice. Specifically, we wish to express appreciation to our client for allowing the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon to advocate on your behalf and help reconcile significant relief in the correction of records, affirmation of promotion and related benefits.

Case Results: USPHS Commander Wins Restoration of Retirement Credits

Another success story for the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon at the Public Health Service Board for Corrections (PHS BFC). The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon represented a Commissioned Corps Commander who was promised retirement credit-in writing-for prior federal civilian service, only to be informed just before retirement that the Commissioned Corps was denying the credit.

As a result of our firm’s efforts, the PHS BFC “concluded that Corps actions constituted an egregious error and an injustice.” Our client will now receive the retirement credit so richly deserved and is now eligible to retire immediately since receiving years of constructive service credit.


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Case Results: Complete Relief Army Reserve Captain Wrongfully Denied Retirement

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon obtains complete relief before the Army Board for Correction of Military Records for Reserve Captain wrongfully denied retirement.

Read the Complaint Here

In 2001 Army Reserve Captain Roland Casillas (ret.) was transferred by the Army to the Retired Reserve based on official orders which declared that he had completed 20 years of service. Though he was uncertain as to whether he met this required, the Army Reserve Personnel Center informed him that he indeed met it, and he was issued an ID card identifying him as a member of the Retired Reserve. Though he was seeking reentry into the ranks at the time, he relied on these orders and instead accepted the promised retirement. This meant that he was due an official Army retirement upon reaching the age of 60, including retired pay and medical care. Yet, when he actually reached the age of 60 in 2018, the Army denied his request, this time claiming that Capt. Casillas had insufficient time in the ranks to qualify for retirement. The Army would even issue orders rescinding their orders from 2001 transferring Capt. Casillas to the Retired Reserve. This was in direct violation of long-established case law which holds that the Army cannot deny a retirement to an individual who it had told was qualified for retirement.

In January of 2020 the Law Offices of David P. Sheldon appealed this denial on behalf of Capt. Casillas in the Court of Federal Claims. This resulted in a voluntary remand to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records on May 14, 2020. This voluntary remand has now successfully concluded for Capt. Casillas, with him receiving back pay, medical benefits, compensation for the denied medical benefits, and his full retirement for life. Capt. Casillas now joins the ranks of the many service members who have had their rights successfully upheld by the firm.

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Successful Defense for PHS Officer at Board of Corrections

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon successfully represented an officer at the PHS Board for Corrections. The firm argued that the officer should receive years of constructive service credit for education, which is now being retroactively applied to the officer’s retirement pay multiplier.  The officer stands to make hundreds of thousands in additional retirement pay in the circumstance.

Litigation Case Results

Firm Files Suit in Federal Court on Behalf of Retiree
The firm filed a lawsuit in the United States Court of Federal Claims, requesting the Court order the Army to grant the client a reserve retirement. Many years ago, the Army sent the client orders transferring him to the Retired Reserve based on attaining 20 years of service.

When the client attained the age of 60 and applied for his retirement, the Army told him the orders were in error and he didn’t have enough service time to qualify for a retirement. The Army then sent out orders discharging him in 2018, effective in 2001. They then rescinded the orders transferring him to the retired reserve for 20 years of service and instead cut new orders transferring him to the retired reserve based on receipt of a separation allowance.

In doing so, the Army clearly violated federal law. In fact, the Army must retire the client immediately. We will stay in the fight to ensure that our client’s rights are upheld in federal court. The Court has already ordered the United States to answer the complaint. The name of the case is Casillas v. United States.

In the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Division, before a trial judge, Mr. Sheldon obtained a complete award of damages with attorney fees and costs awarded for his client in a contested breach of contract claim.

In proceedings before the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Health of Human Services settled with a client of Mr. Sheldon’s, a pediatrician who had been assigned to Kayenta Health Center in Kayenta, AZ. The six-figure settlement included $45,000.00 in legal fees for the client.

The firm represented a former Air Force cadet in an action by the United States to collect monies owed for his Air Force Academy debt. The client was disenrolled in 1998. The United States obtained a judgment for about $125,000. The client discharged this debt in bankruptcy in 2008, but the United States continued collection attempts. Over time, the debt grew to $183,000. After the United States renewed its efforts to garnish the client’s wages, the firm advocated for the client that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy. The United States agreed, moved to dismiss the garnishment, discharged the judgment, and will refund all money erroneously collected. We are happy this matter is finally settled, and the client can move on with his life free from a $183,000 debt.

Mr. Sheldon represented an Air Force General in a federal district court action that alleged negligence on behalf of health care providers at then Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After successfully defeating two motions filed by the Army seeking dismissal of the case, Mr. Sheldon negotiated a six-figure settlement. In addition, the Army apologized to the General.

Mr. Sheldon obtained a landmark decision in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of a Vermont National Guard soldier who can now sue for damages because his Privacy Act rights were violated.

Mr. Sheldon settled a Privacy Act case on behalf of an Army National Guard soldier. The soldier received ninety thousand dollars as an award for the violation.

Mr. Sheldon and his team obtained a judgment of $241,801 against the Army for the wrongful discharge of an Army officer, as well as a ruling by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the officer was entitled to receive retirement pay and allowances for the remainder of his life.

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon obtained a $163,500 settlement for a retired enlisted service member after the Air Force had released his records in violation of the Privacy Act.

The team obtained one of the highest-ever settlement awards for damages for a retired Air Force military member, resulting from the wrongful disclosure of medical records in violation of the Privacy Act.

Mr. Sheldon was lead counsel in landmark Privacy Act case, Cummings v. Dep’t of the Navy , 279 F. 3d 1051 (D.C. Cir. 2002), holding that service members can sue for damages under the Privacy Act; suit later was settled favorably for a substantial monetary award.

PHS Case Results

A Commander in the Commissioned Corps, facing elimination from the PHS for misconduct and substandard performance, hired Mr. Sheldon to save his retirement, having served over 17 years. Through Mr. Sheldon’s efforts, the officer was permanently retired from the PHS with a medical retirement and the elimination proceedings were terminated. The officer will go on terminal leave shortly.

Mr. Sheldon successfully represented a Public Health Service (PHS) officer in a formal hearing before the Medical Appeals Board (MAB). Mr. Sheldon appealed the initial decision of the Medical Review Board. Following the formal hearing, the MAB increased the officer’s rating to 70%, which was a significant victory given the facts of the case.

A Captain (0-6) in the Public Health Service received a 60-day sentence to confinement for possession and use of cocaine and for driving a vehicle while drunk/impaired. The officer faced 12 years in jail, a dismissal and loss of all pay and allowances. Most importantly, the officer will retire from the Public Health Service thereby securing him pay and benefits for the remainder of his life.

Mr. Sheldon represented a PHS officer who had been discriminated against. After filing an EEO complaint and proceeding through both the informal and formal process, settlement was reached. The officer was reassigned to a better job, her FLAG on promotion was lifted, a Letter of Reproval was removed from her record, and she received high rankings on her COER for her previous assignment.

As lead counsel for a Public Health Service officer in the matter of Castaneda v. Hui, Mr. Sheldon won a 9-0 decision before the United States Supreme Court. The decision upheld that Public Health service officers are immune from liability under federal law.

Before the Physical Evaluation Board, Mr. Sheldon represented a Public Health Service Officer. After a contested hearing, the officer was retired permanently-the officer was to be separated with severance and now because of Mr. Sheldon’s efforts the officer will receive retired pay and benefits for the remainder of her life.

MEB/PEB Case Results

A National Guard Infantryman was facing involuntary separation without compensation after an informal physical evaluation board found the soldier’s injury was not incurred in the line of duty. At a formal PEB held at JBSA-Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX., the panel found sufficient evidence for the soldier to receive a line of duty determination. The firm was committed to helping this soldier receive a second opportunity.

Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC

Mr. Sheldon represented a Marine Sergeant facing removal from the Temporary Disability Retired List, facing the potential of losing all benefits for him and his family. At the Formal Physical Evaluation Board, Mr. Sheldon presented the report of a forensic expert in mental health, amongst other compelling evidence. During the hearing, the Board offered to stipulate to retire the Sergeant on the Permanent Disability Retired List without deliberation. After serving a tour in Afghanistan where he was injured twice, this Marine can now rest easy knowing his service will be honored for the remainder of his life.

Air Force Sergeant Facing Separation for Physical Disability – An Air Force Sergeant facing separation from the service for three separate unfitting conditions was to receive separation pay after serving honorably for almost 19 years of service. After a contested hearing at Randolph Air Force Base, Formal Physical Evaluation Board deemed the Airman fit for duty notwithstanding his disabilities and ordered that he be retained in the service.

At a contested hearing in Washington, DC, Mr. Sheldon’s represented a soldier who had previously only been rated for asthma by the Physical Evaluation Board. After evidence was presented and the Board deliberated, the soldier was rated at 70% with a combat designation for mental health conditions (PTSD) and placed on the Permanent Disability Retired List.

Mr. Sheldon successfully represented a Naval officer before the Navy Physical Evaluation Board. The officer initially was found “fit for duty.” The formal board found the officer disabled and placed him on the Temporary Disability Retired List at 40 percent. The officer will receive 50 percent of his base pay and allowances tax free.

Disenrollment Case Results

Potential Disenrollment from Military Academy – Mr. Sheldon took on the representation of an Air Force Academy Cadet who was facing disenrollment for violating the Academy’s Honor Code. Both the Honor Board and Academy administrators had recommended that the Cadet be permanently disenrolled from the Academy, but Mr. Sheldon vigorously advocated for the Cadet. As a result of Mr. Sheldon’s labor, the Cadet was placed on temporary probation and has been afforded the opportunity to complete the Cadet’s final year at the Academy.

Mr. Sheldon’s client, a Naval officer facing disenrollment from the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences was, after a contested rehearing, authorized to remain in the program.

Mr. Sheldon represented a First Lieutenant in the Army who was facing disenrollment from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (“USUHS”) for misconduct and substandard performance during his medical school training. After appearing before a hearing of the Student Promotions Committee (“SPC”), the SPC voted to retain the Lieutenant in medical school where he has thrived.

Mr. Sheldon successfully defended student facing disenrollment from an Army ROTC program at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. The student was not disenrolled from the program and was allowed to obtain his commission even though he had admitted to purchasing and using marijuana on Spring Break.

Again because of Mr. Sheldon’s efforts, a First Lieutenant, who faced expulsion from medical school, was allowed to graduate. The First Lieutenant will now begin his internship in surgery.

Court Martial Case Results

In a rare decision to reverse sexual assault convictions for being factually insufficient, on September 5, 2019, the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals did just that in its opinion in United States v. Dawkins. With respect to one alleged victim, the court was not personally convinced that sexual activity occurred after she told the client “don’t do it.” The evidence showed that the client and this alleged victim made out only about 5 minutes prior to the alleged “sexual assault,” during which the alleged victim admitted to letting the client kiss her. the Court believed the client had an honest and reasonable mistaken belief the alleged victim consented to the sexual activity up until she voiced her non-consent, at which time, the client ceased the sexual activity.

Regarding the other alleged victim, the NMCCA wasn’t convinced the sexual contact occurred. In light of the testimony that no one who could have witnessed the alleged sexual assault actually witnessed one, a majority of the court was not convinced the alleged sexual assault occurred. One witness’s testimony, in which she claimed to have witnessed the client “smack a female service member’s behind,” was deemed utterly “incredible.”

The court also set aside the sentence, which was a mandatory dismissal from the service. Our client is an officer with more than 28 years of service and a retirement pension worth an estimated $2.8 million. As the firm’s attorney stated, “this decision gives our client a chance to honorably retire and preserve his benefits. It is a tremendous win for our client and I could not be happier for him.”

Air Force Grants Sentencing Relief to Airman for Unlawfully Introduced Victim Impact Statements. In a win for a young airman who pled guilty to possession of child pornography, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with our firm, that the military judge who sentenced him should not have accepted the victim impact statements introduced at trial, and heavily relied upon by the trial counsel during sentencing argument. All the victim impact statements contained high prejudicial information that was irrelevant to the client’s case, and inflammatory language recommending inhumane and unlawful punishments. One letter in particular asked the judge to sentence our client “to be humped to death by a horse and made to get AIDS and die.” The Air Force Court issued a strong opinion condemning the Government’s overreaching by insisting the client stipulate to the admission of these victim impact statements, which were also inconsistent with the decorum and respect due in an Air Force courtroom. The Air Force Court struck the victim impact statements and reassessed the client’s sentence, reducing confinement by six months.

Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
Representing a young Air Force NCO on his court-martial appeal for a poorly done sting operation to lure him in to have sex with an underage girl. Client became eligible for parole and thanks to the support of the NCO’s family and the work of our firm, our client was granted parole on his first look! We will continue to fight for him on appeal.

Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC. Represented a young Coast Guard enlisted man at his parole hearing, he had pled guilty to having sex with a 15-year old girl. The firm secured a letter of support from the victim’s mother and Attorney David Sheldon appeared with the service member’s mother and father at the hearing at the Washington Navy Yard, and our client was granted parole! He will be released in less than a month.

Washington, Navy Yard, Washington, DC. In a general court-martial at the Washington Navy Yard, a sailor is accused of multiple counts of domestic violence against his estranged partner who has suffered from psychotic episodes. After the government denied the Defense requests for two very well qualified forensic mental health experts, a military judge granted the Defense Motion to Compel Mental Health Experts.

The defense trial team now includes an expert in SANE examinations, Dr. Susan Rotolo, a board certified forensic psychologist, Anita L. Boss, PSY.D., ABPP, and Michael B. Knable, MD, a board certified forensic psychiatrist. This sailor is getting the best- qualified defense team available to service members in the United States.

The military judge also ordered the government to produce mental health records of the prosecutrix as well as documents related to other instances where the prosecutrix had made allegations against others, her criminal history, and e mails between NCIS and the SJA’s office.

Mr. Sheldon represented an Air Force doctor in two court-martials, an appeal, and a hearing regarding the revocation of his hospital privileges. In every instance, through Mr. Sheldon’s counsel, the officer was exonerated. The most recent decision of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is Here.

A physician who serves on active duty in the Air Force was acquitted of a charge of wrongful use of marijuana in a contested court-martial at Travis Air Force base, California. Mr. Sheldon continues to fight for the complete exoneration of the doctor now challenging his promotion removal.

A soldier Mr. Sheldon represents was facing a gang rape allegation at a general court-martial. Through Mr. Sheldon’s efforts the charges were dropped in their entirety, the soldier is not required to testify against any of his co-accused, but will face nonjudicial punishment for two minor offenses.

Mr. Sheldon won a complete victory for Hospitalman Dustin Clark, USN. The service member had been convicted of rape and aggravated sexual assault and was serving a seven-year sentence. Mr. Sheldon appealed his case, and the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his conviction on all counts and ordered the charges dismissed with prejudice. Mr. Sheldon remains committed to ensuring that Hospitalman Clark’s rights are protected as he resumes his honorable service to the United States Navy. See the report here.

At an Article 32 hearing at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, Mr. Sheldon vigorously defended a Staff Sergeant accused of sexually assaulting/raping a subordinate. The Commanding General dismissed all of the charges and specifications against the Airman.

An Air Force Captain facing multiple charges at an Article 32 hearing, including assault with a deadly weapon upon a superior commissioned officer. Mr. Sheldon successfully advocated for the Air Force to dismiss the charges and the officer is being medically retired from the service.

Mr. Sheldon litigated a contested sexual assault case at the Washington Navy Yard. After a week long trial before officer members, the accused, a Lieutenant Commander with 17 years of service, was found Not Guilty of all charges and specifications.

Mr. Sheldon represented a Marine Lieutenant Colonel facing an Article 32 hearing for False Official Statements, Conduct Unbecoming and dereliction of duty. Through Mr. Sheldon’s efforts the case was resolved at nonjudicial punishment and the officer was retired honorably.

Mr. Sheldon represented a midshipman accused of 10 counts of arson at the United States Naval Academy. Because of zealous representation by Mr. Sheldon and the midshipman’s military attorneys, the Navy dropped all charges against the midshipman and he received a General (under honorable conditions) discharge characterization

Mr. Sheldon negotiated a plea of guilty for a Coast Guard member who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice. After extended negotiations, the member received only a sentence of 15 days confinement after and was discharged with a General under Honorable Conditions as a result of the pretrial agreement Mr. Sheldon secured.

Mr. Sheldon was able to get the Army officer placed on the Permanent Disability Retired List at 30%, thereby guaranteeing him health care and benefits for the rest of his life. The officer had been previously convicted of involuntary manslaughter due to the officer’s intoxication. Nonetheless, because of Mr. Sheldon’s efforts the officer will receive an Honorable discharge and will permanently receive all benefits.

Mr. Sheldon represented a Marine at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia who was accused of an extensive history of domestic violence and with driving under the influence of alcohol. Through Mr. Sheldon’s efforts, the Marine was separated with a General Under Honorable discharge, thereby guaranteeing the Marine would receive his VA benefits.

Mr. Sheldon obtained an acquittal for a Marine accused of indecent acts and assault at Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Mr. Sheldon obtained a complete acquittal of a Marine at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The Marine had been charged with assault and fraternization.

Mr. Sheldon represented a staff sergeant (select) who was accused of fraternization and indecent assault. After a contested trial before officer and enlisted members the Marine was acquitted of all charges and promoted to staff sergeant.

The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, set aside the findings and sentence of a Marine Sergeant wrongfully accused of rape. The Marine is scheduled to be promoted to Gunnery Sergeant.
Through Mr. Sheldon’s efforts, an Army Specialist at Fort Dix, New Jersey received non judicial punishment for possessing child pornography after charges were dismissed prior to the Article 32 hearing.

Through Mr. Sheldon’s advocacy, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Texas Death penalty case in a strong rebuke, finding that the death row inmate’s constitutional rights had been violated. Hall v. Quarterman, link to decision, which is attached. This is Mr. Sheldon’s second consecutive win for Texas death row inmates.

At Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, Mr. Sheldon obtained an acquittal for a Marine facing two charges, aggravated assault on a NCOIC and disrespect of the same.

Mr. Sheldon successfully defended a Navy Chaplain convicted of forcible sodomy and aggravated assault (having unprotected sex with another male without disclosing his HIV status). The Navy Chaplain was sentenced to 12 years in the brig, but Mr. Sheldon had negotiated a plea agreement that capped confinement at 24 months.

At a general court-martial before officer and enlisted members at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Mr. Sheldon obtained the acquittal of a soldier who was charged with attempted rape and assault with intent to commit rape.

After two Article 32 hearings at Camp Pendleton, California, charges against a Marine Corps 1LT were withdrawn and the matter referred to NJP based upon Mr. Sheldon’s defense. The allegations centered on events of Marines accused of misconduct which allegedly occurred at Hamdaniya, Iraq.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reversed a murder conviction for a soldier who Mr. Sheldon represented on appeal. The Court set aside the findings and sentence and ordered a rehearing.

The Air Force dismissed a rape charge against an Air Force Captain who Mr. Sheldon represented. The allegations stemmed from the Air Force Academy Rape Scandal. The landmark case was first abated by the trial judge because the therapist of the alleged victim refused to release counseling records. The Air Force action terminated all proceedings against the officer. (News Article: Military Drops Charge vs. Air Force Grad).

The Army Court of Criminal Appeals set aside the finding and sentence of PFC Rios who Mr. Sheldon represented on appeal. PFC Rios had been convicted of unpremeditated murder. The Court found that the military judge had improperly instructed the members of the court-martial panel, and so overturned the conviction and sentence.

After a rehearing at the trial level, Mr. Rios was released from confinement to join his family.

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reversed a murder conviction for a sailor Mr. Sheldon had represented on appeal. The Court set aside the findings and sentence and ordered a rehearing.

Mr. Sheldon won a verdict of not guilty at a general court-martial before a panel of offices and enlisted members for a Navy Chief Petty Officer in Naples, Italy, charged with having indecent acts with a 12-year-old girl.

Mr. Sheldon a verdict of not guilty at a general court martial for a Staff Sergeant at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, on two contested charges of attempted rape and indecent assault.

The firm negotiated a reduced jail sentence down from 22 years to 6 years, with only 5 years actually served for a soldier at Fort Benning, Georgia, who was convicted of having unprotected sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was HIV positive.

The firm successfully represented an Air Force officer who was alleged to have committed a rape at the Academy. Charges were abated because the alleged victim’s therapist refused to turn over counseling records.

The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon represented an Army Sergeant in Korea accused of participating in a gang rape; charges were dismissed against our client while the co-accused received a 30-year sentence to confinement.

The firm successfully represented a Navy commander allowing him to retire from the Navy after pleading guilty to a Mann Act charge (crossing state lines to have sex with a minor) in federal court.