After enduring a stillbirth, a Navy chaplain discovers she can’t sue a military hospital for medical malpractice.
Article: Washington Post, Ian Shapira, September 14, 2023
Service Members Facing Disability Discharge for 9/11 Related Duty May be Eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation
The Army Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Texas awarded Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) to a New York Army National Guard Soldier, Major William F. Morrissey, ANG, who was called to active duty to respond to the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center Towers. In 2017, Major Morrisey, while on active duty, was diagnosed with metastatic cancer caused by exposure to carcinogens during his service in September 2001.
CRSC allows a Solider his full retirement pay plus his Veteran’s Administration Disability Compensation for those conditions determined to be combat related. Without CRSC a retirement eligible Soldier would have to waive retirement pay up to the amount of disability pay he elects to receive. The more severe a Soldier’s injuries and the greater the Soldier’s disability rating, the bigger the difference CRSC can make in the Soldier’s total monthly pay after retirement. While a non-disabled Solider or very moderately disabled soldier can usually work after retirement and supplement retirement pay, a very severely disabled soldier may not have that option. For Soldiers injured in combat, Congress wanted to recognize their sacrifice by allowing concurrent receipt of retirement and disability pay for the combat related disability.
In the context of CRSC, “combat related” means resulting from (1) armed combat, (2) hazardous duty, (3) simulated war, or (4) an instrumentality of war. While the Army PEB agreed that the Soldier’s condition was service related, the board did not agree that the Soldier’s injuries warranted CRSC, because, according to the PEB’s original findings, the soldier’s injury was not combat related.
Our office filed a petition with the Army PEB to request reconsideration of their initial denial of CRSC, and to request a formal PEB if CRSC was not awarded, arguing that the Soldier’s injuries were the result of combat because terrorist attacks qualify as combat, the Soldier engaged in hazardous duty when he worked as a first responder at a demolition site, and that the planes flown by terrorist on September 11, 2001 were used as instrumentalities of war. The PEB affirmed its original findings that the Soldier’s injuries did not qualify as armed combat and that the injuries were not caused by an instrumentality of war. The board, however, granted Major Morrissey’s petition on the grounds that he was engaged in hazardous duty and therefore qualifies for CRSC. In instructions that set rules for CRSC, the Department of Defense says that hazardous duty “need not be limited to aerial flight, parachute duty, demolition duty, experimental stress duty, and diving duty.”
Sadly, Major Morrissey passed due to his disabilities. Now, the firm is engaged to represent Major Morrissey’s wife, Jennifer, to obtain benefits Jennifer and the Morrisey family may be entitled because they should be recognized as a Gold Star family. It is our privilege to have represented Major Morrisey and his family. We will not give up until justice is obtained.
For more information on military appeals related to hazardous duty and legal rights, please contact:
LAW OFFICES OF DAVID P. SHELDON, PLLC
100 M Street SE, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546 9575 (w)
(202) 546 0135 (f)
The Law Firm of David P. Sheldon PLLC is proud to announce the very successful completion and accomplishment of Melissa Diaz, passing the District of Columbia’s bar with flying colors! In 2022, Melissa joined the firm where she has been a valued law team member. With the completion of the bar, upon admission, she will officially become a District of Columbia licensed attorney. Melissa continues to serve our clients with her very high level of professionalism, integrity and outstanding enthusiasm.
Congratulations on your success, Melissa! BZ!
NBC Dateline Segment The Window aired February 26, 2023.
“The Window” Claude Cloosen, Arthur Scorry, attorney David Sheldon, and others are interviewed by a grieving father who wants answers concerning his daughter’s death following a fall from a Belgian penthouse.
The Window is available on NBC/Dateline at this link.
The sneak peek for Sunday, February 26th, 2023 is now available. The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon are filmed in the Dateline segment “The Window.”
NBC broadcasts an episode of the series “Dateline” titled “The Window“.
Military Defense will be available to meet with COA members at the upcoming 56th annual Scientific & Training Symposium. (phscof.org/symposium). The 56th annual meeting of the Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service (COA) will be meeting May 8th – 11th, 2023 at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa Oklahoma.
Military Defense provides USPHS members with with legal representation for concerns regarding promotions, readiness, special pay, involuntary retirement board, records corrections in addition to EEO and MEB concerns. We understand the unique needs of Commissioned Corps Officers and have a USPHS focused area of our practice dedicated to being there for you, when you have been there for us.
We look forward to seeing you in May!
Law Offices of David P. Sheldon and the Military Defense Team
The 2022 Symposium will be the 55th annual meeting of the nation’s top Federal, Tribal, State and Local public health providers, administrators and emergency responders/planners.
This event is the only annual meeting dedicated exclusively to the work of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers. Attendance strengthens the nation’s public health and emergency response capability, while building relationships that will further the mission and objectives of agencies and provides specific education and training based on specialty. The 2022 Symposium is the 55th annual meeting of the nation’s top Federal, Tribal, State and Local public health providers, administrators and emergency responders/planners.
Press Release: The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon File Suit Against the Department of the Navy for the Wrongful Death of a Marine Corps Poolee Ordered to Drive While Impaired by Illness.
Law Offices of David P. Sheldon PLLC
100 M St SE, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 546 9575
The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon File Suit Against the Department of the Navy for the Wrongful Death of a Marine Corps Poolee Ordered to Drive While Impaired by Illness.
For nearly a decade, Tyler Gergler dreamed of following his parents’ legacy of service in the Marine Corps. When he turned 18, he was finally able to realize that dream, by joining the Delayed Entry Program, in preparation for active-duty service in the Corps. Delayed Entry Program members, or “poolees” enlist in the Marine Corps, but, as the title states, have their entry delayed so that they may participate in a physical training program to prepare them for boot camp. They remain, until entry, with their families, though also under the orders of their recruiters.
A month and a half later, on July 26th, 2019, Tyler was very ill and had been throwing up for nearly 16 hours. Via text, his recruiters ordered him to make the drive from southern Maryland to Colt’s Neck New Jersey for a social event the next day. When he notified his recruiters of how sick he was, they ordered him to drive anyway, and stated that he could be discharged for failing to show. Under this overwhelming pressure, Tyler obeyed his noncommissioned officers’ orders. Less than an hour and a half later, on a beautiful summer afternoon, Tyler died when, for no reason, his car veered off the road and crashed into the highway guard rail. There were no drugs or alcohol in his system, nor were there any conditions on the road that could have caused the accident.
Tyler’s grieving parents, Jason Gergler and Raynu Clark, received not a single benefit from the Marine Corps. No life insurance, no funeral support, and, disgracefully, not even a flag or letter of appreciation for their son’s service. The Corps’ position was that Tyler had died while driving to stay with family that night, and thus had not died in the service of the United States. They were left with nothing but Tyler’s memory.
The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon, alongside local counsel, have filed suit in the District of New Jersey, to correct this. Clark and Gergler v. The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, 2:22-cv-2586, illustrates the egregious and negligent conduct of Tyler’s recruiters, and the way they knowingly ordered a severely ill young Marine to drive.
This suit is not only to help compensate Mr. Gergler and Ms. Clark for the death of their son, but also to effect real change within Marine Corps recruitment practices. Tyler’s parents want to ensure that the Marine Corps will put in place the policy changes needed to ensure that no other parents have to suffer the same tragedy.