Sidley obtained a significant pro bono victory on behalf of a client who was sexually assaulted while serving in the U.S. Air Force. As a result of the assault, the client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) initially assigned the veteran a 50% disability rating, which includes an award of only US$905/month. The Sidley team appealed the decision, arguing that the veteran had more severe symptoms than a 50% rating reflected (including symptoms that made it difficult to work) and was eligible for a higher rating and Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability. Just two weeks after the filing, the VA granted the veteran’s appeal, which resulted in a payment increase to US$3,146/month going forward and over US$200,000 in back pay.
The Sidley team consisted of associates Adriane Peralta and Chris Juarez (both in Los Angeles), supervised by partner Jack Yeh (Century City). Pro bono counsel Emily Wexler (Chicago) and National Veterans Legal Services provided support.