Sidley is delighted to report a significant pro bono win in the veterans’ benefits case of Soto v. United States. The Soto matter began in 2014 as a research memo in Chicago. It was later filed in federal district court in 2017 on behalf of approximately 9,000 Armed Forces veterans denied full Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) because the military illegally imposed a six-year ceiling on the amount it would pay in retroactive compensation. On the strength of a briefing from the Sidley team, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered summary judgment on behalf of the class, ordering the military to make full payment to all veterans whose CRSC payment amounts were limited by improper application of the Barring Act and were owed less than $10,000. Sidley and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) are continuing the battle by filing a similar class action lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of veterans owed higher claims than can be given by the district court’s jurisdiction.
Sidley partners Gerard Kelly, Simone Jones, and Emily Wexler handled the case in federal court, with help on the summary judgment briefing from associates Samuel Dillon, Katherine Olson, and Riana Freedman, support from project assistant Kelsey Handschuh, and the contributions of many Sidley alumni. Simone Jones was the day-to-day lead on the case and was quoted in the press about the win: “This win is particularly gratifying. My dad served in Vietnam and was known in our hometown as being a strong supporter of his fellow United States military veterans, assisting them with filing for and securing the benefits to which they were entitled. He passed away a few years ago, but this victory for thousands of deserving veterans — women and men injured while defending their country — is my way of continuing the important work that was near and dear to his heart.”
We are elated for Simone and the Sidley team, the NVLSP, and the thousands of deserving veterans who will benefit from this victory.