Melissa Diaz Successfully Passes the District of Columbia Bar

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!

Military Defense Supports USPHS Members at the 56th Annual Scientific & Training Symposium

Military Defense will be available to meet with COA members at the upcoming 56th annual Scientific & Training 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.

Captain Karen Munoz’s Performance “We fight too/!”

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


Military Defense is a Sponsor at the PHS Symposium May 24-26, 2022

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.

Event details are located at:
Military Defense is a Sponsor at the PHS Symposium in Phoenix May 24-26, 2022.
Please stop by the Military Defense booth and pick up some medical kits, stress balls and luggage wraps.
Congratulations to COA PHS for a successful 2022 conference.

Filing against Navy for Wrongful Death of a Marine Corps Poolee Ordered to Drive While Impaired by Illness

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

Read the Complaint Here

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.



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Opinion: What is the U.N. doing to stop the war and hold Russia responsible?

The Washington Post
Letters to the Editor
Opinion: What is the U.N. doing to stop the war and hold Russia responsible? by David P. Sheldon.

Russia must now be held accountable. It will undoubtedly take time, but so did Nuremberg.

David P. Sheldon, Washington

Article: IRR National Guard Know Your Rights: Delay and Exemption Boards

In the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or National Guard marking your time? Activation and deployment orders — know your rights or go at your own peril

 By David P. Sheldon and Shannon James

January 28, 2022

With the potential call up of tens of thousands of those of you who have been marking time in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), the National Guard or the Army Reserves for almost a decade now, one needs to act carefully to ensure that you consider your options. You may have established a career, a family, and the responsibilities that come with those things when suddenly you are faced with activation and deployment orders. Your world just blew up. Now what?

Recent events in Eastern Europe and Russia’s stated aggressive stance towards Ukraine portend activation and deployment orders for thousands, if not a 100,000 service members by the end game. Individuals who have served in the National Guard or Reserves may do so believing their commitment will likely remain restricted to weekends or a few weeks a year. While activation and deployment orders are always possible, these soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen may not be prepared, especially those who serve in the IRR, to activate and deploy.

Reservists and members of the National Guard should certainly take note and, of course, have a plan in place, especially if they are not in a position to deploy because of work and/or family obligations. But Congress has also allowed for service members to request delay and exemption from orders, through the delay and exemption board. But you must meet the statutory and regulatory bases. And, like everything, timing is critical.

It is important for Reserve and Guard members to understand the time frames in which they may request a delay or deferment in reporting, or an exemption from active duty, since untimely requests may not be processed, and even timely requests can be severely truncated by not understanding the rules and regulations that govern delay and exemption boards. It is also important to have an understanding of the differences between the types of requests and how they may affect a Reserve or Guard member.

The process varies depending on the military department involved, although if denied, generally appeals are available. Having an experienced attorney from the get-go can be critical since members may not be aware of exactly what information they need to provide before a request is considered. Although the process begins with a phone call or a form which may seem simple enough to complete, it is important to know what information a board is looking for in order to provide the strongest application possible. If past conflicts have taught us anything, it is that National Guard members and reservists need to be prepared. Timing is critical. The bottom line is that before you call the number on your orders to the delay and exemption board, let alone submit the form that governs, consult the rules and regulations that apply — or, better yet — call a qualified legal counsel that can assist you in making the very best case for a delay and exemption of your activation and deployment.

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Motion Filed to Rightfully Include USPHS and NOAA at Smithsonian Memorial

Press Release: The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon Files Opposition to the Smithsonian’s Motion to Dismiss in USPHS COA v Bunch et al.

Law Offices of David P. Sheldon PLLC

100 M St SE, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20003

(202) 546 9575

Read the Complaint Here

Congress created the National Native American Veterans Memorial to be a memorial for all Native veterans. Yet, when it came time to build the memorial, the Smithsonian wrongfully excluded Native veterans of the United States Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In May, The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon, representing the Commissioned Officers’ Association of the United States Public Health Service, filed suit to ensure that those two branches were properly included. The continued denigration of the service of USPHS and NOAA veterans has a pervasive impact on their status before private and public institutions. They are frequently denied benefits both due under statute, and granted by private society, due to ignorance as to their status as veterans. The most egregious example of this is the way in which USPHS commissioned officers, deployed by their country to the hottest spots of the COVID pandemic, were frequently denied early vaccination status by military healthcare facilities ignorant of their status as fellow service members.

Yet, it was on those very grounds that the Smithsonian based their motion to dismiss. They argued that Native veterans of the USPHS and NOAA had no entitlement to inclusion on the monument, and that there was no evidence that the denigration of their service and reputation as “real” veterans had any impact on their societal standing. In addition, they also argued that a question of constitutional interpretation was in fact a political question, not fit for the courts to resolve.

Now, The Law Offices of David P. Sheldon have filed their motion to oppose this attempt to dismiss a rightful claim. In their motion, they demonstrate to the Court the massive impact on societal status of the wrongful denigration and spreading of ignorance as to the veteran status of USPHS and NOAA officers. They also remind the Smithsonian, and the Court, of the clear precedence in the D.C. Circuit that constitutional claims are not, contrary to what was alleged by the Smithsonian, political questions barred from consideration. The Law Offices look forward to the successful resolution of this current round of litigation, to the future success of their case, and to the ensuring that Native USPHS and NOAA officers are given the public commemoration they rightfully deserve.

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