What is this Lawsuit about?
A lawsuit was filed alleging that since the start of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force discharged thousands of service members with Other Than Honorable ("OTH") or General (Under Honorable Conditions) ("GEN") service characterizations due to misconduct attributable to post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), traumatic brain injury ("TBI"), military sexual trauma ("MST"), and other behavioral health conditions ("OBH"). Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that veterans who experienced PTSD, TBI, MST, or OBH in service and received OTH and GEN discharges were systematically denied status upgrades by the Air Force Discharge Review Board ("AFDRB"). The Air Force has agreed to settle the lawsuit while denying these allegations.
Who is included in the Class?
The Court has preliminarily approved a class in this civil action (the “Settlement Class”) defined as follows:
“Members and former members of the Air Force, Space Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard who served in the military during the Iraq and Afghanistan eras, defined as those with discharge dates from October 7, 2001 through the Effective Date of Settlement, and who:
- were discharged from the Air Force, Space Force, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard with the following service characterizations: Under Honorable Conditions (General), or Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC); but not the following service characterizations: Bad Conduct Discharges (BCDs), Dishonorable discharges, Uncharacterized discharges, or Dismissals;
- who, if they submitted a previous discharge upgrade application or application for reconsideration, submitted at least one such application on or after September 13, 2006;
- have not received upgrades of their service characterizations to Honorable; and
- have diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”), or other mental health conditions, or have experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment, or records documenting that one or more symptoms of PTSD, TBI, other mental health conditions, or experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment existed/occurred during military service, under the Kurta Memo standard of liberal consideration.”